POWs From WWII Through Vietnam Speak to USS Midway Visitors

The event was organized by the San Diego chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War

Eight prisoners of war from World War II through Vietnam visited with museum guests aboard the USS Midway Museum about their experiences Thursday.

"Today we have several prisoners of war from World War II, one fella that was on the Pueblo and was a prisoner in North Korea for a year, one fella from Vietnam, one fella from the...police action in Korea and then there's one fella that was captured as a child in Manila with in family in World War II and basically was a child prisoner for almost four years," retired Navy Captain Jim Reily told NBC 7.

Reily's father was a bombardier during WWII who was shot down during a raid in Austria and captured by the Germans. 

He was held at the same camp where "The Great Escape" happened for nearly a year, and after he was released he went to flight school and became a fighter pilot in the Pacific. 

"It's a frightening kind of a thing because your liberty's taken away. You're not really sure whether you're going to make it out of there or not," Reily explained. "Food was really bad, sanitary conditions were terrible." 

Reily said his father got very sick with dysentery during his imprisonment and was down to 90 pounds at one point. 

Veteran Larry Strickland was captured in North Korea while on the USS Pueblo, an unarmed spy ship, in 1968. 

"We weren't really built for fighting...We were supposed to have help within 15 minutes that didn't' show up," Strickland said. 

He spent 335 days in a prison camp before the U.S. government negotiated their release. 

The event was organized by the San Diego chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, a group that gets together regularly for social events and to mutually support each other. 

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