STORZ, RONALD EDWARD
Name: Ronald Edwrad Storz Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O3 Unit: Date of Birth: 21 October 1933 Home City of Record: SOUTH OZONE PARK NY Date of Loss: 28 April 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 164500 North 1070600 East Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War/Died in Captivity Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1A Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Refno:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews, The Passing of The Night by BGen Robinson Risner, and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File.
from a CMH - Died at Alcatraz 04/70 "Hero We Left Behind"
03/06/74 REMAINS RETURNED
EGRESS LAST SN ALCATRAZ BROKEN RIBS/MUCH PUNISHMENT/MENTALLY-PHYSICALLY ILL/DIED
-------------------------------- [0004-71.cm 02/25/96]
[NETWORK NOTE: This document was scanned and retyped to make it an ASCII file. The Block format of a USG document was altered to just "text")
REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
DECLASSIFIED PER EXECUTIVE ORDER 12356, SECTION 3.3, NND PROJECT NUMBER NN8937 597, BY RB1VSW, DATE 1/23/96
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE REPORT Note: This Document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States within the meaning of the espionage laws. Title 18, U.S.C., Sec 793 and 794. The transmission or revelation of its contents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by law.
This report contains unprocessed information. Plans and/or policies should not be evolved or modified solely on the basis of this report.
1. COUNTRY: VN 8. REPORT NUMBER: 6 029 0004 71
2. SUBJECT: (U) PW Sighting in NVN 9. DATE OF REPORT: 6 Jan 71 (handwritten-W27959)
10.NO. OF PAGES: 3
3. ISC NUMBER: 723.610 11.REFERENCES: DIRM: 1Q16, 6G1, 6G3 723.600 SICR: D-7CX-49018 BRIGHT LIGHT
4. DATE OF INFORMATION: Late 1968 12. ORIGINATOR: US Element, CMIC, USMACV
5. PLACE AND DATE OF ACQ: CMIC, SAIGON, VS 2 Jan 71 13. PREPARED BY: NORBERT A. PACHECO SP5, USA 6. EVALUATION: SOURCE F INFORMATION 6
7. SOURCE: PW Interrogation 14. APPROVING AUTHORITY: (SIGNED) W. H. BEARDSLEY LTC, USA Dir, US Elm, CMIC
This report contains limited information concerning sighting of PWs in NVN, to include circumstances of sighting, disposition of PWs, and photo identification of a PW. At the time of sighting. the PWs were repairing the LONG BIEN Bridge in HANOI. THIS IS A BRIGHT LIGHT REPORT. MACV FOR JPRC.
1. Background Information:
a. Name: NGUYEN DUC THANH (NGUYEENX, DUWCS THANHL), CMIC 3276-70
b. Rank: CPL
c. Unit of Assignment: 3d Sqd, 3d Plat, 2d Sapper Co, Z-28 Sapper Bn, Worksite 5
d. DPOB: 5 Sep 50; VINH QUANG Village, TAN YEN District, HA BAC Province, NVN
16. DISTRIBUTION BY ORIGINATOR: DIA 1 cy DIRNSA 1 cy SAC 1 cy CINPAC 1 cy CINPAC AF 2 cys CINCUSARPAC 2 cys COMUSMACTHAI 1 cy MACJ212-2 2 cys MACJ213-1 1 cy MACJ23 1 cy MACJ231 1 cy
17. DOWNGRADING DATA: GROUP 3 DOWNGRADED AT 12 YEAR INTERVALS NOT AUTOMATICALLY DECLASSIFIED THIS DOCUMENT IS RELEASEABLE TO REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AND FREE WORLD MILITARY ASSISTANCE FORCES
18: ATTACHMENT DATA: None
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e. Parents' Names: Father, NGUYEN DUC SUU (NGUYEENX, DUWCS SUWUR), living; Mother, TRAN THI NGUYET (TRAANL, THIV GUYEET), deceased
f. Circumstances of Capture. On 26 Oct 70, Source's unit, the 2d Co, Z-28 Sapper Bn, was ordered to attack ARVN troops located in an unknown hamlet of the SA LUA area, CAMBODIA. After one-day's march, Source and nine other troops who all suffered from malaria fell behind the rest of the company. On 28 Oct 70, this group of stragglers was ambushed by ARVN forces. Source escaped and attempted to return to the 3d Company base camp. On 30 Oct 70, he was captured by an armor element of the 5th ARVN Division near Highway 7 in CAMBODIA At the time of capture, Source had in his possession one AK-47 and 120 rounds of ammunition; he had no documents and no others were captured with him.
g. Significant Activities. From 1960 to 1964, Source attended school at VINH QUANG Village, TAN YIN District, HA BAC Province, NVN. From 1965 to 1968, he worked as a farmer in the same village. On 30 Jul 68, he was drafted into the NVN and assigned to the 11th Sqd, 4th Plat, 2d Co 449th Bn, 560th Regt, 330th Tng Div, for basic training. While with this regiment he also helped build a base camp. In Jan 69, Source was reassigned to the 2d Sqd, 1st Plat, 3d Co, 11th Sapper Bn, 305th Sapper Hq, where he received sapper training for three and a half months. On 5 May 69, he was reassigned to the 3d Sqd, 2d Plat, 2d Co, 18th Sapper Bn, 305th Sapper Hq, for eight more months of Sapper training. On 21 Jan 70, the 18th En was redesignated as an infiltration group (designation unknown) and began to infiltrate to the RVN. While en route in Mar 70, Source contracted malaria and was sent to the 211th Hospital near the Laotian/RVN border. On 15 Apr 70, Source left the hospital and Joined a new infiltration group made up of 40 troops who had just recovered from malaria Arriving in mid-Jul 70, F-5 stayed at a convalescent station near H-5 Commo-liaison Station in CAMBODIA. On 15 Aug 70, he rejoined the Z-28 Bn (previously designated the 18th Bn) but he was assigned to the 3d Sqd, 3d Plat, 2d Co. The Z-28 was made subordinate to Worksite 5 in the NON DO CA area (vic CONG TON Junction), CAMBODIA In Sep 70, the Z-28 Bn moved to the SA LUA area, CAMBODIA.
h. Additional references: CMIC PW/Rallier Exploitation Guide; US PW Photo Album, Hq, 525th MI Gp, dtd 10 Nov 68; Map: AP-2380-121-64-INT, Tac CTA, HANOI URBAN AREA Map, Sheet 1 of 2, dtd 1964, Scale 1:25,500 (Approx)
2. (C) PW Sighting in NVN:
a. Circumstances of Sighting. In late 1968, Source saw approximately 100 PWs at the LONG BIEN Bridge in Hanoi (WJ892267) to (WJ903271). The bridge crossed the HONG River. At the time of sighting, Source was on leave from his military unit, and was sightseeing in HANOI with his uncle. It was 0800 hours and he viewed the PWs for approximately 10 minutes. Source learned from a guard (name unk) that the PWs had volunteered to repair the bridge which had been damaged at both ends and on the superstructure by American air attacks. The PWs were
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working in two groups of 50 each: the two groups were at opposite ends of the bridge, and Source approached to within five meters of the group working on the HANOI side of the HONG River. There were approximately 30 NVA guards - total, 15 on each side of the bridge. They were armed with AK-47s, and dressed in dark green fatigues. They also wore dark green pith helmets. At the time of sighting, the PWs were repairing the metal work on the bridge. The guards did not appear to be abusing the PWs in any way.
b. Disposition of the PWs. Source did not discuss with the guard where the PWs were being quartered. However, later in the day, his uncle pointed out a site where PWs were kept. Source had no definite idea where this prison was located, except that it was in a HANOI suburb. He believed it was one hour's walking distance from the LONG BIEN Bridge. Since he was riding a bicycle when he saw the prison, he was able to give only a sketchy description of it. The prison consisted of two long and narrow, one-story buildings parallel and adjacent to each other. Each building contained many doors and windows arranged in alternate fashion. The buildings were constructed of cement painted light green, and the roofs were made of red tile. One-story family dwellings and shops paralleled the prison compound on two sides these structures were separated from the prison by stone walls. The two other sides of the prison were flanked by roads, barbed wire barriers enclosed these portions of the prison. Source saw only two NVA guards at a gate.
c. Description of the PW. Source was unable to give a description of any individual PW. They all appeared to be healthy and without wounds. A guard told Source that all the prisoners were American flyers shot down over NVN. He did not notice any Negroes or females.) Most were wearing fatigues (Source said they were American fatigues.) Some were wearing pajama type clothing, these garments were white with blue vertical stripes.
d. Photo Identification. Source was shown the PW Photo Album. He said that one of the PWs at the bridge looked like the person pictured in Photo No. 2. This photo is a picture of RONALD E STORZ, USAF.
(C) COMMENTS: Source was administered the Cross Cultural IQ Test and scored Low (10). He was cooperative during the interrogation. His manner indicated displeasure with questions asked regarding the PW sighting, apparently because he felt his recollection to be too sketchy to warrant such questions. This report partially satisfies the requirements of SICR D-7CX-49018. Collection action continues.
--------------------------- Quoted from returnee's bio: STOCKDALE, JAMES BOND
Little did I know within a few years I would find myself in an old French-built isolated cell block in Hanoi. This jail we called Alcatraz. I was one of eleven Americans living in tiny windowless boxes (complete with leg irons) finding out first hand the capabilities of the human spirit in such a situation. Pedantic arguments of international politics were wasted on us. We had a war to fight and were committed to fighting it from lonely concrete boxes. Our very fiber and sinew were the only weapons at our disposal. Each man's values from his own private sources, provided the strength enabling him to maintain his sense of purpose and dedication. They placed unity above self. Self indulgence was a luxury that could not be afforded.
Each member of our "Alcatraz gang" fought his war well from a filthy cell. All but one of us, Ron Storz, came home alive. Ron was a tiger to the end. For us he will always remain a symbol of courage, fidelity, and dedication.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- [debrief.txt 10/15/92]
Dept. of JOINT TASK FORCE - FULL ACCOUNTING Defense CAMP H.M. SMITH, HAWAII 96861-5025 Seal J2 1771 Ser: 185 13 May 1992
.... F. In JULY(66) The NVN started working on extracting "confessions" and "statements against the war policy of the U.S." from the pWs. The torture got worse for this progra. Foxholes were dug in the camp. PWs who were being "worked on" for confession and "bad policy statements" lived in the foxholes with their hands tightly cuffed behind their backs. Beatings during quizes increased and ropes and twisted handcuffs held the PWs arms tightly behind his back at an awkward angle. At night CDR Bell could hear PWs being beaten sone one hundred twenty yards away. (Ed Davis was apparently "beaten into unconciousness"). Via the tap code CDR Bell learned of a xxxxxxxxxxx seen in camp. It was later determined that it was xxxxxxxxxxxx was beaten so badly that his face was swellen to the point that it was not recognizable. Another method used by the NVN was xxxxxxxxxxxxxx PW on a stool and making him sit there for days. If he would start to doze the guard would wake him up, thus not allowing him sleep for the duration of the sitting (Davis and Storz were kept this way for seven to nine days). "Mot everyone" at Briarpatch was forced to write a "confession" and "bad policy statement" except, possibly Warrant Officer Frederick. As CDR Bell was sick with dysentary and losing a lot of weight at the time that CDR Bell's turn came, he responded he would '5 24853 [sic -- ('t write)]. The NVN said "OK" and took him back to his hut (appently due to his poor health) CDR Bell had the impression that the "confessions and statements" were in preparation for the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal which was scheduled for NOV 66. There was considerable publicity over the NVN radio and propaganda concerning the tribunal through 66.....
------------------------------------ The following is QUOTED directly from THE PASSING OF THE NIGHT, by BGen Robinson Risner, Copyright 1973, Ballantine Books. Pages 63 - 71.
A Hero Left Behind
If I had not been moved from my flat cellblock at the Zoo, I would never have met Ron Stortz. I had a pretty good communications system going in my building - the Barn. Then I was moved to the Garage. On one side of me was Lieutenant Commander Bob Schumaker. On the other was Lieutenant (j.g.) Ed Davis, and beyond him Wes Schierman, in the end cell. Ed had been kind of hard-nosed with the guards, and so had Wes. They were starting to lean on us, and for punishment had put us in "incorrigible row." It was nothing to be awakened at midnight or one o'clock and taken to interrogation and be kept there all night and into the morning. They would get angry, stomp around and threaten awhile, and then give us a bunch of political stuff. They would show us magazines from the United States filled with stories like the Watts riot. They encouraged us to talk about anything. I always tried to be very careful.
The camp commander did most of the interrogation. He spoke English as well as anybody that I met all the time I was over there, with the exception of one or two. His wife was a physician at Vinh. He was a real handsome guy, taller than usual, with a straight, finely shaped nose and wavy hair. He was always well groomed in his fresh khaki pants and shirt, and was above average in every way. We called him the Dog. He would have me over at various times of the day and night, but he was not getting anything out of me.
When asked, "What do you like about the United States?" I would go on and on for hours, giving him the red, white and blue version of what I liked about America. Then he'd say, "Okay, now I've listened to you tell what you like about the United States. What do you not like?"
"I can't think of anything I don't like about the United States."
One day he pulled out a copy of the Time Magazine with my picture on the cover. I was aware that they knew about it, but this was the first time they had shown it to me. When I saw it, I had a sick feeling. I wished I had not had any ID when I was captured and had come in as Major John Doe; life would have been so much easier. I have no doubt that they leaned on me heavily because they thought my name meant something. For instance, when Colonel Bud Day was captured, the interrogator asked, "You know Riner Robinson?"
"Riner Robinson! "
"No, I don't know any Riner Robinson."
He said, "Everybody knows Riner Robinson. I caught him and I interrogated him." Bud's interrogator had not been the one who caught me, but he thought that would impress Bud. The fact that I had received some publicity certainly didn't do me any good.
In addition to Time, the Vietnamese were regular subscribers to Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, plus many others. They also received the Air Force Times and the Stars and Stripes. Their favorite seemed to be The Christian Science Monitor. The Dog would use the latest issues to support his charges. He would tell me I was a hero in America for murdering the Vietnamese people and for blowing up their houses and factories. A standard threat was to turn me over to the people or to take me back to Thanh Hoa and give me to them. He did not really frighten any of us. We gave them nothing.
One time he said, "So you are an Indian."
"A little bit."
"I have heard how they have treated you. The Indians still live in the forest and hunt animals for food."
I almost fell off the stool, but I just let him think it. That really brightened my day.
He would get angry and say, "You have killed our women and children. Are you sorry?" I would not comment. "You will not return with honor or reputation. When you return, all your family will be living in the mountains. "
What do you mean by that?"
He said, "You will find out."
Later I learned that in North Vietnam when a family displeases the political commissar of a particular area or does not go along with the current doctrine, they move them to the mountains. It is so tough there that they can hardly survive. Not only will the soil not grow anything, but the family is in disgrace. In other words, the Dog was implying that he intended to disgrace my family and ruin them financially so they would have to live in exile.
When I found out what he meant, I did worry some about my family's welfare. The Vietnamese had also become quite interested in our financial situation. This worried us, too. We feared there was going to be extortion.
Between interrogations we would try to cheer up one another. My next-door neighbor, Bob Schumaker, and I could not get a hole through our wall, and to tap messages was slow. Finally we learned to talk to each other by putting our heads in the vents and throwing our voices. We carried on long conversations that way.
One day they replaced Schumaker with Air Force Captain Ron Stortz. I tapped on the wall to him, got his name, and so forth. He said that up until this move, he had been living with Captain Scotty Morgan. "I leaned on the door and broke the lock. Now I am over here alone being punished." Ron told me he had been shot down in an L 1 9, one of those little planes called grasshoppers. Since he, as a forward air controller, normally worked with Vietnamese ground forces, he would carry a Vietnamese officer in the back seat. His mission was to circle and spot enemy positions or help the artillery batteries adjust for accuracy.
"One afternoon I decided to go up and buzz around by myself. I was just looking the area over, and I circled real close to the Ben Hi River. I knew that was the seventeenth parallel, but I didn't mean to get over the river. When I did a Vietnamese gun got me, and try as I might, I could not keep from crashing on the north side. I thought they were going to kill me when I got out of the airplane. They made me get down on my knees. One of the officers took my gun, cocked it and put it against my head. I figured I was a goner."
He had been in prison for some time and really wanted to talk. I could hear him moving around in the other cell. He hollered out the back vent as Bob before him had done, but I could never understand him. We tapped on the wall, but it was too slow and unsatisfactory. There were a lot of things we wanted to tell each other. Finally he asked, by tapping, "Have you tried boring a hole through the wall yet?"
I told him I had tried several places but could not get through. "Each time I try, I hit a brick after I've gone in maybe eight to twelve inches." I had several partial holes; in fact, the wall looked like a piece of Swiss cheese.
"Well, I'll try, too."
Pretty soon I heard some scraping and grinding. By that afternoon he was through. His hands were blistered, but he had made it. That gave me some incentive to try to go through the other wall. I really went to work, and I punched through there, too. We passed our tools through and let them work in the next room. In a few days, every room was connected up and down the hall.
Once we got the holes bored through, Ron said, "I'm really down in the mouth." I asked what the matter was. "Well, just the fact that I have nothing. They have taken everything away from me. They took my shoes, my flying suit, and everything I possessed. They even took my glasses. I don't have a single thing. They took everything."
Ron had indicated to me that he planned to become a minister when he got back to America. Consequently we talked about religion quite a bit, as all of us did. When he said he was depressed because they had taken everything, I told him, "Ron, I don't think we really have lost everything."
"What do you mean?"
"According to the Bible, we are sons of God. Everything out there in the courtyard, all the buildings and the whole shooting match belong to God. Since we are children of God, you might say that all belongs to us, too."
There was a long pause. "Let me think about it, and I'll call you back." After a while he called back, "I really feel a lot better. In fact, every time I get to thinking about it, I have to laugh."
"What do you mean?" "I am just loaning it to them."
I will never forget the day he called me and told me, "They're trying to make me come to attention for the guards and I will not do it. What do you think I ought to do?"
"What do they do?"
"They cut my legs with a bayonet, trying to make me put my feet together. I am just not going to do it."
I knew he meant it. He was an extremely strong man. I thought about it for a while, then I called back, "Ron, I'm afraid we don't have the power to combat them by physical force. I believe I would reconsider. Then, if we decide differently, we all should resist simultaneously. With only you resisting while everybody else is doing it means you are bound to lose."
He said, "Okay." I knew, though, that if I had said, "Ron, hang tough! Refuse to snap to," he would have done it without batting an eye. He was just that kind of man and he proved it a short time later.
It happened after we had begun to set up a covert communications system throughout the Zoo. By means of the holes in the walls, special hiding places in the latrine and other ways, we could pass a message through the entire camp within two days. I had put out directives establishing committees and worked out a staff. Certain people had been assigned specific jobs. One man was heading up our communications section. We had a committee working on escape. And we kept a current list of all the POWs and their shoot-down date.
I then decided to put out a bulletin. It was not too large, but it contained directives, policies and suggestions. Since Ron was next door to me, I dictated it to him, and he wrote it down. Despite the Vietnamese's denying us our dues as POWs, I still felt that we could outsmart them by using tactics such as these. We had only been at the Zoo around four weeks; given time, I reasoned, we could begin to effect some changes. I could not have been more wrong.
One day during this period, a guard came in and made me stand at attention with my back to the wall.
In a few minutes the Dog came in with another Vietnamese in a white shirt. The Dog did not say who the civilian was, but he paid him a lot of deference. Using the Dog as an interpreter, the civilian made a statement: "I understand you are also a Korean hero."
I was still standing braced against the Wall. "That is military information and I cannot answer. I can give you only my name, rank, serial number and date of birth."
When he heard the translation, the cords in his neck swelled up and he tamed red in the face. "We know how to handle your kind. We are preparing for you now." He turned and stomped out.
The Dog came back in a little while. He was either so scared or mad that he was still trembling "You have made the gravest mistake in your life. You will really suffer for this." With that threat he left.
A few days later a guard caught the men two cells above me talking through the hole in the wall to Ron. He also found some written material. Then he went into Ron's room and caught him by surprise. He took two pieces of written work Ron had prepared; one was a list of all the POW names, the other was one of the bulletins I had put out. To make matters worse, Ron had put my real name on the newssheet instead of my code name, "Cochise." While still in the cell, one of the guards began reading the two sheets. Ron reached over, snatched one and ate it while holding them off with one hand. Unfortunately he had grabbed the wrong one. He ate the list of names which was not too important, but they kept the list of directives. They also found the hole in the wall. This so excited them that they stepped out in the hall yelling for reinforcements.
While they were out, Ron ran over to my wall and beat out an emergency signal to come to our hole in the wall. They searched and found everything. I ate the list of names, but they got the policies. Get rid of anything you don't want them to find." I told him to deny everything, and I would do the same. He just had time enough to stuff the plug back in the hole when they came and took him away.
I passed the warning down to the other two rooms and they began to clean house. As fast as possible I began to try and dispose of anything incriminating. The steel rods that we had been using to bore the holes in the walls I put under the floor through the grate. I destroyed lots of paperwork, but the fat was in the fire. A big shakedown was on. One thing I had not destroyed was a sheet of toilet paper that had the Morse code on it. I didn't think it was any big deal or I would have gotten rid of it. This was one of the pieces of evidence they would use to accuse me of running a communications system. The irony of it was that I actually was relearning the Morse code with the knowledge of my turnkey. He had even written his name on it for me.
They put Ron in another room for three days and nights without anything at all - no food, water, bedding, blankets or mosquito net. They just shoved him in and left him there. He not only got cold, but the mosquitoes chewed on him all night.
They took me before the camp commander for interrogation. He had the piece of paper Ron had not been able to destroy and started reading the fourteen items it listed, such as: gather all string, nails and wire; save whatever soap or medicine you get; familiarize yourself with any possible escape routes; become acquainted with the guards, and in general follow the policy that "you can catch more flies with sugar than, with vinegar." I denied the paper was mine. "Stortz has already admitted everything and said you were responsible." I knew that was a lie. They would have had to kill Ron before he did that. He might admit to his having done it, but he would never say that somebody else had. They, of course, told him the same thing and said that I had admitted everything, and all he had to do was confirm it.
After making the usual number of threats, they took me back to a different room at the end of the building. They left me a pencil and paper and told me to write out a confession that I had violated prison rules. "If you do not, you will be severely punished." The first thing I knew, I heard a tap. It was Ron Stortz in the next room. We exchanged what had happened in interrogation. I said, "Remember, I'll never confess to anything."
"Roger, I won't either." He then tapped, "God bless you." I sent back a GBU.
I later heard that Ron was put in Alcatraz, a harsh punishment camp. Though he was an extremely strong man, the torture began to get through to him. The North Vietnamese hated him so that even when they moved out all the other POWs, they left Ron there alone.
I later saw one of the postage stamps put out by the North Vietnamese. It was typical North Vietnamese propaganda. On it is a picture of an American POW. He is big and tall. Behind him is a teen-age girl, very small, holding a rifle on him. The American was Ron Stortz.
When making their report on the POWs in 1973, the North Vietnamese said that Ron Stortz "died in captivity." Ron Stortz died as he lived - a brave American fighting man who considered his principles more valuable than his life.
June 1998 Ron's daughter, Monica is searching for original POW bracelet's with her father's name. If you have one, please contact the P.O.W. NETWORK 660-928-3304, Box 68, Skidmore, MO 64487 email firstname.lastname@example.org