TEMPERLEY, RUSSELL EDWIN
Name: Russell Edwin Temperly
Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O3
Date of Birth: 03 April 1935
Home City of Record: Boston MA
Date of Loss: 27 October 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204600 North 1053100 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
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. Updated 2012.
REMARKS: 730314 RELEASED BY DRV
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
RUSSELL E. TEMPERLEY
Major - United States Air Force
Captured: October 27, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973
Flying a single engine, single seater jet airplane from Korat Royal Thai Air
Base, Korat, Thailand, Major Temperley took off as a spare aircraft for the
strike force. When a plane had to abort due to mechanical problems, he became
an integral part of the armada that was to hit the North Vietnamese Army
headquarters in Hanoi.
A surface to air missile hit his plane and brought him to a soft landing in a
tree. The branches caused a few scratches, but he had no time to think of them
for within minutes the villagers captured him and he was soon on his way to
the "New Guy Village" (Heartbreak Hotel) area of the Hanoi Hilton. "Little did
I know that I was now to have 1966 days of paid vacation with room and board
in North Vietnam.
"That evening I was introduced to the North Vietnamese "Human Policy" (I think
the word is humane, but they called it human). I was told to "talk" and answer
all their questions or I would be punished. At first I was slapped about the
face, later punched and beaten about the face and ears, and then later tied up
in a ball with ropes and left. Long after I had lost the ability to move my
hands and feet I decided that deception was the wiser tactic to use. "About
two weeks after I arrived, the military interrogations stopped and the
political re-education started. The Vietnamese wanted me to make recorded
tapes of their news items to be played over the camp speakers. I refused. I
was allowed to think about making the tapes on a stool in the Quiz Room in
front of a large open window in the dead of winter with no sleep for five days
and nights. These tapes were about the "great defeats of the United States
American Imperialists Aggressors in the South" and "the great emulation
movements of the North to defeat the American aggressors." To have to listen
to this trash every day was bad enough. Finally I realized that if I would
read the material poorly and in a monotone, perhaps they would not use it.
That is just what happcned; however, I was put in a cell alone for ten months
with my legs in irons for one week, not allowed to bathe for three weeks, nor
to shave for a month, plus a few other minor punishments for having a "bad
"To give you an idea of the cell where we spent so much miserable time, you
must imagine a bed one meter wide, fastened to the wall. It was made out of
two inch hardwood planks. Some were longer as they had built stocks for the
legs, or arms and neck. The floor was concrete. There was an inspection hole
in the door, every ten or fifteen minutes a guard would open it and look in.
We were required to stand up, face the guard and give a low bow. This would
sometimes go on night and day as a harassment.
"We washed outside summer and winter. We had ten minutes to wash us, our
clothes and our teeth. Should one be caught with soap all over oneself, and
the air raid take place, we would go back in our cell, under the low bed on
the dirty floor. If you were lucky you got to wash the soap and dirt off that
day, if not it would be the next day, unless that was Sunday as we could not
wash on Sunday.
"At present I feel no animosity toward the North Vietnamese. I do, in fact,
feel sorry for the majority of them, especially the peasants. I feel that
these peasants are fed so many lies and distorted facts that they do not know
what the war is about, or why there is fighting in the first place. If they do
not work, or fill their quota, they are punished. They are sometimes thrown
into prison. They work in a dictatorial environment at all times; even at home
in their villages, under the cadre as well as in the army.
Fourteen March 1973 was my day of departure. Through the waiting line I went.
Through the reception line and onto the airplane I went. And when the plane
landed, the crowd had American flags. The people looked like Americans. All
the yelling was in English. This was not just another dream. My long paid
vacation with board and room at the Hanoi Hilton was over. I was free!"
Russell Temperly retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel.
He and his wife Julie resided in Ohio until his death Oct 15, 2005. A
private service was held.