ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Retired Navy Vice Adm. James Stockdale, one of the country’s most decorated Vietnam War veterans and a one-time vice presidential candidate, was buried yesterday at the Naval Academy.
About 500 people, including several Medal of Honor recipients and fellow former prisoners of war, attended the funeral for Adm. Stockdale, who died on July 5 at his home in Coronado, Calif. Adm. Stockdale, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was 81.
The 12 honorary pallbearers included Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, also a Naval Academy graduate and POW during the Vietnam War, and Texas billionaire Ross Perot, the third-party presidential candidate who chose Adm. Stockdale as his running mate during his run for the White House in 1992.
Adm. Stockdale endured 7 1/2 years as a POW at North Vietnam’s infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison and spent four of those years in solitary confinement.
He received the Medal of Honor in 1976 for his resistance, which included beating himself in the face with a wooden stool so he would be too disfigured for the North Vietnamese to display on television.
“His resistance has become an example, a legend and a model” for young officers, said retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a friend of Adm. Stockdale’s. “His captors soon learned they were dealing with a rather unusual man.”
Adm. Stockdale retired from the military in 1979, one of the most highly decorated officers in U.S. Navy history, and became president of The Citadel, the military college in South Carolina. He left in 1981 to become a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Adm. Stockdale is survived by his wife, four sons and eight grandchildren.