Hundreds Of Abandoned US Prisoners Of War Freed Thanks To The League Of Wives

 January 1, 2022

When Prisoners of War are left behind in enemy territory, it affects their families deeply. When the U.S. government didn't step up to bring the POWs home from North Vietnamese Territory, their wives banded together to make it happen.

"League of Wives"

Historian Heath Hardage Lee wrote the book "The League of Wives" detailing how military wives fought to bring their husbands home. It all began when she caught a glimpse of a family friend Phyllis Galanti's diary.

Sybil Stockdale was the leader of the group of women. They pressured the U.S. government to get their husbands out of Vietnam and back home to America.

“They have to fight not only the North Vietnamese Communists who are torturing their husbands but their own government, their own military institutions to get justice."

Heath Hardage Lee

North Vietnam

Many well-known American figures like former presidential candidate John McCain and Adm. James Stockdale have talked in-depth about their experiences at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Conversations like these have brought like to what happened at the Hanoi Hilton and other places like it.

However, many people have not heard the stories of what happened in the background in the U.S. Lee's book is a first-person account of the military wives. The stories cover everything from saying goodbye to their husbands to when they first heard that their husbands were stuck overseas.

Many of the women followed the advice of leaders in the Department of Defense, but soon that was not enough. Lee says many of the women stood up to the DOD when the Johnson administration would not admit that the Northern Vietnamese were torturing the men.

“By 1966, they [government] fully knew what was happening. And by 1967, Sybil [Stockdale] was sending coded letters to her husband, working with the Navy, and discovered they were all being tortured.” 


Policy Focused Politicians

Politicians were not focusing on what actually mattered, frustrating the military POW wives. In the end, they found an avenue that would listen to them, the media. Lee said that the women made an impact rallying public support.

One of the wives, Louise Mulligan said, "When you are fighting for something that is so precious, you're willing to do almost anything."

According to retired war correspondent Brad Willis, "The League's efforts ultimately helped facilitate the release of 591 prisoners of war."

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51 comments on “Hundreds Of Abandoned US Prisoners Of War Freed Thanks To The League Of Wives”

  1. Thats about right! they send you to war to fight for them, then discard you like a holy pair of socks, thats the democratic way, leave them so we wont have to bother with them!

    1. Sure appears your "Right On George" with your comment! Hate it when incompetent people are in charge of running our country, seems like one party in particular behave this way when in power!

  2. My wife and I were two of the 8 people who started the POW-MIA bracelet movement. We were POW-MIA family members. Thanks to the public outcry over the POW-MIA issue 591 Americans returned home in 1973.

    There is much more to this story than what the article covers. Thank you.

    Gary Carlson

    1. Left behind alive approximately 2, 500 POWs who have never been accounted for. The remains of about 800 have been identified.
      Rod Colvin's book FIRST HEROES names them and when they went missing.
      McCain has refused to allow any information from multiple sources to confirm the missing prisoners. Stamping everything TOP SECRET he has block all access to data.

  3. Thank you very much for your concern for troops. I was a US Navy corpsman and I appreciate your effort.

  4. In the year 1990 there were still many POWs left in Vietnam. Sack of leftist lying crap John McCain lied the DoD lied. John McCain was no war hero he was a traitor. My opinion an that of many others an we stand by our belief an opinions

  5. People like President Biden who got 5 deferments while being a sports jock in school are the first to forget about those who fought for their freedom.

  6. If send our men and women to war, win the dam war and bring them home when everyone finished with the job.

    Stop getting our warriors involved in useless wars/engagements. I am shocked at some in our government who have little knowledge of what our military personnel go through, to include their families.

    I admire former military men/women in our congress. Most know the horrors of war and so do their families.

    Time for Term Limits. Too many in Congress for the wrong reasons. They do nothing except get rich at the expense of our nation.
    Look at our government today. People lying through there teeth, by non actions support lawlessness for political reasons. When Putin tells the world how about the disrespectful And lawlessness - time for the American people to vote out those who forget that they represent all Americans

  7. I hated what Hanoi Jane Fonda did to our soldiers. can’t stand her won’t watch her movies. people forget so easily.

  8. Can’t stand Hanoi Jane Fonda. Never watched her movies. People forget so easily. Our troops are the greatest.

  9. The condition our Vietnam veterans went through was horrific. Our government would do nothing. Wives of the Prisoners of War was sooo emotional for the troops and their wives. The article left out one major part. The troops and family members were also having to deal with Hanoi Jane. An American who was an extreme traitor and treasonous to our troops, their families and other Americans. For those who aren't familiar with Hanoi Jane and sometimes called Saigon Jane, she was an American actress who did not support the soldiers in anyway. Her speech and rallies in both Vietnam and the US were condemning, all disgusting demoralizing of the troops. She was a USA traitor and treasonous. Her name is Jane Fonda, daughter of Henry Fonda. To this day , I have never, ever watched a Jane Fonda movie. She was never questioned or investigated for traitor and treason.

    1. If I'm not mistaken the notes that were handed to her were given to the VC captors and resulted in additional punishment for the troops.

      1. yes I remember they said they had worked their rear end off writing the names and numbers of everyone there, who was alive, who wasn’t. A Pow handed them to her in a hand shake while she turned around and handed them to the N. Vietnam officer. After that, she was on a talk show with ex pows on it. She refused to admit that they were being tortured. They came out and took off their shirts and showed their scars.

  10. there is no money in winning a war and they don't give a Damn about American lives, there is no money in taking action got get POW's out and bringing them home. Most all wars are money makers for those that want to go to war. thank the DemonRats for getting us involved in the Vietnam Fiasco that we should have NEVER been in. but Johnson knew he and his friends could make a Fortune off of the lives of people that they never cared about.

  11. My brother was POW more than 7 yrs. I led a Contra Costa Cares, Calif. drive in 1970. Met many of the wives.
    I have been blocked on FB for calling Fonda a traitor. (She said she was sorry...) Am blocked now for relying to a dirty word comment that his language was ugly! This time for "Bullying!
    Good luck with evetything..Linda Gaither Fager

  12. My brother was POW more than 7 yrs. I led a Contra Costa Cares, Calif. drive in 1970. Met many of the wives.
    I have been blocked on FB for calling Fonda a traitor. (She said she was sorry...) Am blocked now for relying to a dirty word comment that his language was ugly! This time for "Bullying"
    My brother's book was "With God in a POW Camp"
    Good luck with evetything..Linda Gaither Fager

  13. My family were personnal friends with Col. Art Bruer and the family. Nancy fought like a caged animal to facilate the release of Art and the other men. I was in awe of them and joined the Corps because of their impact on my life. True American Heros.

  14. Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the
    challenges. It was really informative. Your website is
    very useful. Thank you for sharing!

  15. I'm very happy to discover this page. I need to to thank you for ones timne just for this fantastic read!
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  17. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the website is also really good.

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  19. Maybe it is time for The League of Wives to appear again. All those wives whose husbands have been literally fired from the military for not taking the jab!,
    Fight back for your men!

  20. This story doesn't surprise me much. Our government will get away with anything that the public doesn't know about. There is more corruption in our government than the average citizen doesn't have a clue about. If the truth was known there is a lot of dishonor falling on the heads of our leaders than anyone could or would imagine. Is this a great country ,yes, but it's slowing falling into the hands of corrupt politicians who couldn't care less about it's citizens.

  21. Yea look what they did in Afghanistan leaving the Americans there and took the Afghanistan people first . So much for America first now it’s America last !

  22. Though I don't know what it's like now, but it used to be - and we all knew it, We were all expendable. That doesn't make it right, but that's the way it was and probably still is.

  23. Ho Chi Minh had been a student in NY and Boston, when he returned to Vietnam he later asked Truman to help him get rid of the French. the world body at the time allowed 300 advisors. they were pushed out in 1953 but we stayed until 1975. LBJ bombed the north over 4 cables that informed the pentagon that the north were shooting at our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. the last cable said oops no torpedoes lobbed at our ships but we do have a faulty sonar giving off false information. In 1975 biden was one senator who refused to provide the Vietnamese army with more ammo or fuel. Why any of our young men should join the military after the fiasco in Afghanistan is beyond me. We have stupid people in office and I wouldn't waste a child on the buffoons now in high office or at the pentagon.

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