Name: Joseph Charles Plumb
Rank/Branch: United States Navy, pilot
Unit: VF 114
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Mission KS
Date of Loss: 19 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204800 North  1054400 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
Missions: 75
Other Personnel in Incident: Gareth Anderson, returnee


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. 2023



Joseph Plumb retired from the United States Naval Reserve as a Captain. He
and his wife Cathy reside in California.


                         The Qualities of Survival

       Several years ago I found myself a long way from home in a
  small prison cell. As a prisoner of war, I was tortured,
  humiliated, starved and left to languish in squalor for six

       It's important that you get a vivid mental picture of this
  scene. Try your best to smell the stench in the bucket I called
  my toilet and taste the salt in the corners of my mouth from my
  sweat, my tears and my blood. Feel the baking tropical heat in a
  tin-roofed prison cell - not that you'll ever be a P.O.W. If I am
  effective in these few moments we spend together, you'll see that
  the same kind of challenges you face as a teenager, a student, a
  leader, or a parent, are the same basic challenges I faced in a
  prison cell: feelings of fear, loneliness, failure and a
  breakdown of communication. More importantly, your response to
  those challenges will be the same response I had to have in the
  prison camp just to survive.

       What qualities do you have within you that would allow you
  to survive in a prison camp? Please pause here, think about this
  question, and write in the margin of this page at least five
  different qualities necessary for survival. (If you've written
  faith, commitment or dedication, you've already broken the code.)

       As I worked my way through the first several months and then
  years of imprisonment, I found I already had a foundation of
  survival tools learned in life from my parents, preachers, youth
  leaders, and teachers. And the life-saving techniques I used in
  that prison camp had more to do with my value system, integrity
  and religious faith than anything I had learned from a textbook.

       Sound like your life? The adversities you face in your life
  can be just as debilitating to you as six years in a Communist
  prison camp could have been to me. Now here's the test: The next
  time you have a huge problem facing you, turn back to this page
  and read not my writing but your writing in the margin. You'll
  find that the same factors you've written here, which would serve
  you well in a prison camp, will serve you even better in the
  challenge of everyday life.

          By Charlie Plumb
          from A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul
          Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor
          Hansen & Barry Spilchuk


Military : POW ceremony at East High School
Anchorage Daily News - Former Vietnam
POW, retired USNR Captain J. Charles Plumb, a navy fighter
pilot, gives the keynote address at East High on Wednesday
April 9, 2008. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs organized
the POW Remembrance Ceremony and has presented programs at
area high schools for the last several years.
You can read the full story online at:

During his long Navy service, he received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Action Medal and the P.O.W. Medal, among other awards. Following his flight training, Plumb was assigned to fighter squadron VF-114 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kittyhawk, then ...





Hi Guys,

I regularly listen to an Aviation podcast by George Nolly, USAFA 1967, two
tours in Vietnam (0-2) and 100 missions in the F-4. Also George is a retired
777 captain and also 747 and several other big birds.

It's called Ready for Takeoff Podcast.
you can listen to it on your phone, or tablet, or just go to the website,
click on the person you want to listen to and then, click on the link and
hear it on your computer.

In the last few months, George has featured Smitty Harris and Bob Shoemaker
who had great stories. This past week he featured Charley Plumb and his also
was a fantastic story-highly entertaining and very inspiring. As you may
know Charlie has been inspiring audiences across the nation and around the
world for many years. He has served us so well by sharing with others the
message of how suffering and sacrifice make us better prepared for life and
better human beings. It's a message all generations need to hear and
especially the younger ones now.

I encourage you to check these podcast out and share them with your family
and friends and others over whom you have influence. Charlie made us proud,
but more important his message is our message and is one that needs wide

George has hosted over 200 interviews with aviators from crop dusters to
Thunderbirds and Blue Angels to WWII pilots and gunners. I've heard most of
them and keep coming back. They are great stories for travelling and
especially for driving in rush-hour traffic.




From: Sam Houston <>
Sent: 28 May, 2020 19:14

Subject: Fwd: Hope you have a minute to read this . . .

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, ' You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!

'How in the world did you know that?' asked Plumb.

'I packed your parachute,' the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, 'I guess it worked!’

Plumb assured him, 'It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today.' Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, 'I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.' Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, 'Who's packing your parachute?' Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours! Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do - you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke. So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.
He is also the recipient of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the POW Medal. Van Hooser pointed out that he likes ...

...A unique speaker will also be a part of the event. Van Hooser says Captain Charlie Plumb, a motivational speaker, is a personal friend of his who was in the first class of “Top Gun” pilots and made over a hundred landings on aircraft carriers all over the world. He noted Plumb will be speaking about his 75th — and final mission — when he was shot down in Vietnam in enemy territory and taken prisoner....