The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Stockdale, during an 11:00 a.m. PST ceremony on Saturday, April 18, 2009, in Port Hueneme, Calif.
Designated DDG 106, the new destroyer honors Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005), the legendary leader of American prisoners of war (POWs) during the Vietnam War.
Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer ever held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. His plane was shot down Sept. 9, 1965, while flying combat missions over North Vietnam. Stockdale spent more than seven years in captivity at prisons in North Vietnam, including time at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Four of those years were spent in solitary confinement. While imprisoned, Stockdale is credited with organizing a set of rules to govern the behavior of fellow prisoners of war and for helping to develop a code for prisoners to communicate with each other that included tapping on cell walls. In recognition of his leadership and sacrifice he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976.
I never had the privilege of meeting the man in person, but his leadership model is all I retain from four years of leadersleep classes in college.
The other point of connection was voting for him and Perot in '92, for which I was rewarded with eight years of Clinton.
In supporting the Tea Party protests, and struggling to restore the Constitution to relevance in Washington, DC, we can honor these men who've made what freedom we retain possible.