12 episodes

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American aviators were shot down, imprisoned, and tortured, experiencing the harshest conditions imaginable.

For as many as eight long years, the prisoners of war (POWs) stayed true to their mission and survived behind bars. They communicated through codes and raps on prison walls. They were incredibly brave and resisted enemy propaganda. Their families knew little of their fate.

50 years ago, the US government saved 591 of those POWs from North Vietnamese captivity. Now, hear their personal and intimate stories like never before, from the dramatic moment of being shot down to the tearful family reunion.

CAPTURED features newly re-surfaced recordings from Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon B Johnson's oval offices.

Broadcast veteran Tyler Russell McCusker conducts original interviews with 85-year-old Commander Everett Alvarez Jr., the first American shot down, 91-year-old Captain Eugene "Red" McDaniel, POW families, authors, and historians.

Put yourself into the action with hundreds of historically-accurate sound effects and scene-setting original music compositions that create an immersive, enthralling soundscape.

This new podcast from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation is a compelling and powerful exploration of the human cost of war and the resilience of the American spirit.

CAPTURED: Shot Down In Vietnam Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Foundwave

    • History
    • 5.0 • 100 Ratings

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American aviators were shot down, imprisoned, and tortured, experiencing the harshest conditions imaginable.

For as many as eight long years, the prisoners of war (POWs) stayed true to their mission and survived behind bars. They communicated through codes and raps on prison walls. They were incredibly brave and resisted enemy propaganda. Their families knew little of their fate.

50 years ago, the US government saved 591 of those POWs from North Vietnamese captivity. Now, hear their personal and intimate stories like never before, from the dramatic moment of being shot down to the tearful family reunion.

CAPTURED features newly re-surfaced recordings from Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon B Johnson's oval offices.

Broadcast veteran Tyler Russell McCusker conducts original interviews with 85-year-old Commander Everett Alvarez Jr., the first American shot down, 91-year-old Captain Eugene "Red" McDaniel, POW families, authors, and historians.

Put yourself into the action with hundreds of historically-accurate sound effects and scene-setting original music compositions that create an immersive, enthralling soundscape.

This new podcast from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation is a compelling and powerful exploration of the human cost of war and the resilience of the American spirit.

    Chapter 1: The First Guy

    Chapter 1: The First Guy

    We rewind to the year 1964 and are introduced to 26-year-old Naval aviator Everett Alvarez Jr. Hear from the now-85-year-old Commander Alvarez himself, as we follow his journey from modest beginnings in Salinas, CA to the moment of being shot down over North Vietnam, leading to more than eight years as a prisoner of war (POW).
    Following a brief period of American peacetime between the years of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, during which he volunteered for duty, Everett would soon be one of a handful of servicemen flying directly into the eye of a brewing storm - one that would quickly become the Vietnam War.
    The action kicks off with the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on Aug. 2 of '64, prompting President Lyndon B. Johnson to authorize the very first US aerial attacks on the North Vietnamese. Less than 48 hours later, Everett would be under the canopy of a parachute, crashing down into the hostile waters of the picturesque Ha Long Bay.
    Be immersed into that dangerous mission, which led to him becoming the first American POW.
    For more info and photos specific to this episode, visit www.capturedpodcast.com. 
    CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam is a docuseries from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation, produced by the team at Foundwave, and respectfully created in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.If you're interested in learning more about Vietnam POWs, you can visit the new exhibit "CAPTURED" at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA.
    This show is produced by Steph Weaver-Weinberg. Original music compositions, foley effects, and mastering from Jonathan Rock. Research, background, and history from Jason Schwartz. Executive production from Joe Lopez and the team at Richard Nixon Foundation and Kali Mason from Perot Family Collections. Co-executive production, interviewing, hosting by Tyler Russell McCusker.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 28 min
    Chapter 2: Better Red Than Dead

    Chapter 2: Better Red Than Dead

    The story continues with the harrowing Vietnam wartime experience for Naval Capt. Eugene "Red" McDaniel. His shoot-down and capture, three years after Alvarez's, highlights the differences in preparation American servicemen had for becoming a prisoner of war.
    Red was forced to endure North Vietnamese captivity, torture, and egregious mistreatment in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" for more than six long years, many of which his family didn't know whether he was alive or dead. Red, now 91, shares everything from why he forwent the opportunity to become a professional athlete (in favor of intensive aviation training) to his own dramatic moments of being shot down and discovered by the enemy.
    We also hear from Red's eldest son, Naval Capt. Mike McDaniel, as he speaks on what it was like for him to experience - and grapple with - his father's POW status at the tender age of nine.
    This episode features authentic audio from the mission in which Red and his navigator, Lt. Kelly James Patterson, were forced to eject from their A-1 Skyraider aircraft, never before heard by the public.
    For more info and photos specific to this episode, visit www.capturedpodcast.com.
    CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam is a docuseries from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation, produced by the team at Foundwave, and respectfully created in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.
    If you're interested in learning more about Vietnam POWs, you can visit the new exhibit "CAPTURED" at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA.
    This series is produced by Steph Weaver-Weinberg. Original music compositions, foley effects, and mastering from Jonathan Rock. Research, background, and history from Jason Schwartz. Executive production from Joe Lopez and the team at Richard Nixon Foundation and Kali Mason from Perot Family Collections. Co-executive production, interviewing, hosting by Tyler Russell McCusker. Special thanks to Luck Patterson for providing the original shootdown audio from Red's mission.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 32 min
    Chapter 3: Hanoi Hilton

    Chapter 3: Hanoi Hilton

    On a crisp afternoon in August of 1964, Everett Alvarez Jr. found himself floating in the emerald waters of Hạ Long Bay, North Vietnam, having just ejected from his flaming A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. He was about to be captured by hostile militia, becoming the first American POW in the Vietnam War.
    While President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration escalated aerial bombing attacks in the North, in support of the South Vietnamese, it was said that a war had not "officially" been declared; from Everett's perspective, the so-called "conflict" was about to become all-too official...
    This part of our story focuses on Everett's first year in captivity, a time during which he was deemed a "criminal" instead of a "prisoner of war." As the North Vietnamese figured out what to do with him and other captives, ignoring the safeguarding Geneva Conventions, Everett was imprisoned in the Hỏa Lò prison (later known to the American POWs as the “Hanoi Hilton”) and horribly mistreated.
    Hear how Everett coped with horrific conditions and solitude in the face of the unknown, and how his sense of duty & honor was tested when faced with the opportunity for early-release.
    For more info and photos specific to this episode, visit www.capturedpodcast.com.
    CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam is a docuseries from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation, produced by the team at Foundwave, and respectfully created in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.
    If you're interested in learning more about Vietnam POWs, you can visit the new exhibit "CAPTURED" at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA.
    This series is produced by Steph Weaver-Weinberg. Original music compositions, foley effects, and mastering from Jonathan Rock. Research, background, and history from Jason Schwartz. Executive production from Joe Lopez and the team at Richard Nixon Foundation and Kali Mason from Perot Family Collections. Co-executive production, interviewing, hosting by Tyler Russell McCusker.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 33 min
    Chapter 4: One Thing After Another

    Chapter 4: One Thing After Another

    18 months into Cmdr. Everett Alvarez's captivity, the North Vietnamese "torture regime" begins as he and fellow prisoners are forced to endure physical abuse, in addition to mental torture, amidst already-deplorable living conditions.
    After Capt. Red McDaniel is shot-down in May of 1967, he, too, is imprisoned in the 'Hanoi Hilton' and immediately subjected to an array of inhumane treatment.In this episode, Everett and Red share some of their most harrowing experiences in captivity, including how their heroic displays of duty & honor overlap in connection with a daring escape attempt.
    We explore how they persevered in body and spirit, including lifting fellow POWs up via the impressive "tap code" that was developed to effectively communicate through the cold walls of their cells, right under the noses of their North Vietnamese captors.

    For more info and photos specific to this episode, visit www.capturedpodcast.com.CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam is a docuseries from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation, produced by the team at Foundwave, and respectfully created in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.
    If you're interested in learning more about Vietnam POWs, you can visit the new exhibit "CAPTURED" at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA.

    This series is produced by Steph Weaver-Weinberg. Original music compositions, foley effects, and mastering from Jonathan Rock. Research, background, and history from Jason Schwartz. Executive production from Joe Lopez & the team at Richard Nixon Foundation and Kali Mason from Perot Family Collections. Co-executive production, interviewing, and hosting by Tyler Russell McCusker.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 34 min
    Chapter 5: The Last Word We Heard

    Chapter 5: The Last Word We Heard

    Mike McDaniel was nine years old when his father, Capt. Red McDaniel, was shot down and captured in the jungles of North Vietnam on May 19, 1967. It would be three long years until he and the rest of the clan heard any further news on the status of their patriarch.
    Meanwhile, Everett hinged his optimism on the dream of an eventual reunion with his wife, whom had promised that she would wait for him forever.
    This episode focuses in on Red & Everett's communication (or lack thereof) with their loved ones back on US soil. Though their family members were not forced to endure horrific maltreatment at the hands of the North Vietnamese, they were experiencing their own kind of torture, not knowing the condition of their beloved men.

    For more info and photos specific to this episode, visit www.capturedpodcast.com.CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam is a docuseries from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation, produced by the team at Foundwave, and respectfully created in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.
    If you're interested in learning more about Vietnam POWs, you can visit the new exhibit "CAPTURED" at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA.

    This series is produced by Steph Weaver-Weinberg. Original music compositions, foley effects, and mastering from Jonathan Rock. Research, background, and history from Jason Schwartz. Executive production from Joe Lopez & the team at Richard Nixon Foundation and Kali Mason from Perot Family Collections. Co-executive production, interviewing, and hosting by Tyler Russell McCusker.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 26 min
    Intermission: The Tapes

    Intermission: The Tapes

    In this special episode, we depart from our central narrative and turn our attention to Washington D.C., where Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson & Richard Nixon were making a crucial impact on the treatment and release of the hundreds of American prisoners of war who were being brutally mistreated in North Vietnamese prisons.
    By way of recordings from the White House, curator & historian Bob Bostock walks us down President Nixon's path to the Presidency and examines how his administration's policies on Vietnam intersected with his personal attention to the POW crisis.
    Newly-unearthed archival audio, like tapes and phone calls from the Oval Office, will be heavily featured so you can hear from the presidents in their own words.

    For more info and photos specific to this episode, visit www.capturedpodcast.com.CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam is a docuseries from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation, produced by the team at Foundwave, and respectfully created in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.
    If you're interested in learning more about Vietnam POWs, you can visit the new exhibit "CAPTURED" at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA.

    This series is produced by Steph Weaver-Weinberg. Original music compositions, foley effects, and mastering from Jonathan Rock. Research, background, and history from Jason Schwartz. Executive production from Joe Lopez & the team at Richard Nixon Foundation and Kali Mason from Perot Family Collections. Co-executive production, interviewing, and hosting by Tyler Russell McCusker.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
100 Ratings

100 Ratings

California gimp ,

Beautiful, considering.

I laughed, I cried and got goosebumps. I'm a 65 year old women who was young during this war, though, I remember it vividly. To hear it in this way was so compelling and I'm so in awe of these men who endured such pain. You are all truly heroes and I hope all who didn't survive it are resting in peace with my love and respect. This podcast was incredible and beautifully done. Thank you for bringing it to us.

ddicosola ,

A story well told

This is an incredible story that masterfully combines shocking witness accounts, historic audio, suspenseful narrative, and dramatic effects. I’ve learned so much about this time in history, and I can’t get over the strength and courage these POW’s demonstrated. Have a listen and be sure to thank the veterans in your life.

DeaconMM ,

Highly Immersive

A jewel of a professionaly produced podcast overshadowed only by the content and personal recollections of those that lived through it. Also highly reccomended is a visit to the special CAPTURED exhibit at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda,CA

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