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The man who wouldn’t give up

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Eric "Herbie" Watson, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    As a prisoner of war in the steamy jungles of Vietnam, he held out for months, repeatedly refusing to sign documents decrying American aggression in Southeast Asia presented to him by the North Vietnamese after his crash and imprisonment.
    During these times, he drew inspiration from the memory of how his grandfather had been the only person in their village strong enough not to vote for Hitler during elections, despite threats of execution.
    As a child in Germany, he had looked up and marvelled at the US enemy planes, and resolved to one day fly for the United States of America.
    His father had been killed in the war and his mother was desperately poor. People were starving to death in Germany after WW2.
    He got used to feeding off garbage.
    He was a survivor.
    In these conditions, he sold scrap metal to raise money and hitch-hiked to Hamburg to get passage to America. Once in the US, he lived on the streets in Manhattan.
    He studied for years (sometimes living in an upturned boat), eventually achieved his dream, and became a US Navy pilot, but...
    He was shot down on his first mission over Vietnam.
    Eventually, he was captured by enemy troops; he managed to escape, but was recaptured. He joined other captives and instigated an escape plan. The prisoners heard their captors planning to kill them; there was no time to lose.
    They managed to escape and overpower their guards. Leeches, starvation, danger, and misery followed. He never gave up hope.
    At one point, he and another man thought they'd been spotted by US planes and rescue was imminent - it wasn't. They kept going, trying to make it to Thailand. His friend was killed by villagers.
    He kept on alone, eating snakes but always on the edge of starvation. After 23 days surviving in the jungle, sick, injured, but managing to evade capture, he was rescued by a US helicopter.
    He had been behind enemy lines for over six months.
    I suggest you print this out, or put it on your phone, where you can read it whenever you feel like giving up.
    Dieter Dengler didn't let himself give up, and neither will you.
    jazzhands and Lily Rose like this.

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