RIP 11/20/2009

Name: James Vincent Dibernardo
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Marine Corps
Unit: Armed Forces TV Hue
Date of Birth: 19 October 1968
Home City of Record: Fulton NY
Date of Loss: 03 February 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162700 North  1073500 North
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel in Incident: none

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. Updated 2020.



SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

Captain - United States Marine Corps
Captured: February 3, 1968
Released: March 5, 1973

A 16 hour battle was raging as I the officer in charge of the Armed Forces
Radio and TV station and my men tried to stave off the North Vietnamese and
the Viet Cong. Finally after an encounter with several Viet Cong others
appeared and set fire to the house. I was shot in the arm by enemy small
arms fire but shot my way out and ran to a rice paddy. About 50 North
Vietnamese pursued me and with additional wounds from grenade shrapnel I
soon became a guest of the North Vietnamese. I was slapped around a bit by
one North Vietnamese and another took my glasses and smashed them on the
ground. Later the soldiers poured hot iodine on my wounds bound my arms and
fed me rice and some bones either cat or rat.

Then began the long 55 day trek through the jungles of South Vietnam.
Carrying 40 pound sacks of rice on our backs through the rain and with torn
feet the hardships of the trail  were  so much that we found that the
Communists did not harass us unnecessarily. There  was no way  to escape on
the march though as a guard was constantly in attendance, besides with  no
glasses I could not see ten  feet.

Later my men and I were placed aboard trucks and transported for the 11
night journey over the Ho Chi Minh Trail to a jungle camp in a southern
province of North Vietnam  When we arrived two of us were put in solitary
confinement with our feet in stocks.

I then met the interrogator for the first time. He spoke English extremely
well, French fluently, and was well versed in American slang. He had the
ability without using physical force to put the fear of God into one by just
saying, "We won't kill you. We'll just make you wish you were dead." One of
their favorite methods was to hold a gun to a prisoner's head. But they were
not after military information in these sessions, they were after my mind.
It began there in the jungle camp in the closet, my solitary confinement
room, and it didn't end until I left  the "Little Vegas" complex in the
Hanoi Hilton on March 5 1973. During one interrogation, they mentioned the
NFL to me; I thought they meant the National Football League. I was to learn
quite a lot about those initials - the National Front of Liberation.

At one point an 18 year old Army trooper, who was paralyzed in his feet and
legs, ate a tube of toothpaste. The North Vietnamese demanded an apology. I
helped write that letter, saying that the man was sorry but that if he had
more to eat he would be less likely to eat toothpaste. This infuriated them
and they put the "culprit" on bread and water and refused to give him
toothpaste for three months.

One of my most trying times was a three week stint, fourteen hours a day, on
a seven inch square stool. They wanted me to make a statement about the
anti-war demonstrators. I held out as long as I could. After three years of
this type of interrogation they finally changed their "brainwashing

How exciting it was to come home, and what excitement to learn that my wife
had given birth to twins shortly after my capture. They were 4 when I saw
them for the first time and I had not even known that I had two new
additions to the family. Sharen had been pregnant before I left for Vietnam
in October 1967 and one of the first questions I asked my old friend and
escort, Second Lieutenant Tom Kingry, was what she had, a boy or a girl?
Handing me two cigars, he replied, "She had twins, two girls, Susan and Joy
and they're doing fine."

God Bless you all!


James DiBernado retired from the United States Marine Corps as a Major. He
and Shen reside in Claifornia.

The Press-Enterprise  Riverside, CA
Thursday, February 3, 2000

A HERO LOOKS BACK: Temecula resident Jim Di Bernardo, a POW in Vietnam, has
lost his idealistic view of the war.

Joe Vargo The Press-Enterprise


Jim Di Bernardo's shooting war came to an end 32 years ago today.....



James Vincent DiBernardo

Obituary  Condolences
TEMECULA - RETIRED MAJOR JAMES VINCENT DiBERNARDO (75) USMC Passed away from prostate cancer on November 20, 2009, at his home in Temecula, CA surrounded by his family. James was born on October 18, 1934 in Fulton, New York, and has lived in Temecula, CA since 1976. He graduated from Fulton High School in New York in 1952. After High School, James entered the US Marine Corps, proudly serving for 30 years. He began his career in the Marines as enlisted personal, but was able to obtain the officer's rank of Major through hard work, dedication and sacrifice. His achievements include the Bronze Star Medal, Three Purple Hearts, Two Navy Commendations, and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor. During his service, James was a Prisoner of War for 5 years. He was captured on February 3, 1968. His cellmate, Bill Baird, whom was severely injured by a landmine, stated that without James' encouragement, he would have given up and died. Released on March 5, 1973 from Hanoi Hilton, ....


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