STORZ, RONALD EDWARD
|Name: Ronald Edward Storz
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O3
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
Other Personnel in Incident:
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. 2019
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
[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
10.NO. OF PAGES: 3
3. ISC NUMBER: 723.610 11.REFERENCES: DIRM: 1Q16, 6G1, 6G3
723.600 SICR: D-7CX-49018
4. DATE OF INFORMATION: Late 1968 12. ORIGINATOR: US Element, CMIC,
5. PLACE AND DATE OF ACQ: CMIC, SAIGON, VS
2 Jan 71
13. PREPARED BY: NORBERT A. PACHECO
6. EVALUATION: SOURCE F INFORMATION 6
7. SOURCE: PW Interrogation 14. APPROVING AUTHORITY: (SIGNED)
W. H. BEARDSLEY
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
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
MILITARY ASSISTANCE FORCES
18: ATTACHMENT DATA: None
Page 2 of 3
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
Page 3 of 3
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
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.
Dept. of JOINT TASK FORCE - FULL ACCOUNTING
Defense CAMP H.M. SMITH, HAWAII 96861-5025
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
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
More info: http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=29