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Former Vietnam POW Visits Cold War Gallery

NaughtonCaptain Bob Naughton, USN (Ret), a former prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, poses for a photo with the prison camp model of the “Zoo,” where he spent time during his captivity, just a few miles outside of the city of Hanoi in North Vietnam. Captain Naughton visited the Cold War Gallery, Wednesday, 1 February, while in town for the Arlington funeral of his former VA-113 commanding officer, Captain Hank Dibble, USN.

Then-LCDR Naughton was shot down in May 1967 flying an A-4C Skyhawk from the deck of USS Enterprise, with the Stingers of VA-1113. He was released in March 1973. He later served as commanding officer VA-83, VA-174 and NAS Dallas. His awards include Silver Star, Legion of Merit (2), Distinguished Flying Cross (2), Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He and his wife Peggy now reside in Texas.

The model of the “Zoo” prison camp features labels describing the various areas of the camp, and is currently on display in the Cold War Gallery, at the Washington Navy Yard. The model was built by Midshipman Ronald Malec, United States Naval Academy Class of 1974, and presented to Commander Jack Fellowes in May 1974. Fellowes (who passed away in 2010) had a personal connection to the Cold War Gallery. He sponsored a model of the A-6E Intruder that he was shot down in over Vietnam, along with Bombardier-Navigator LTJG George Coker. The aircraft model is now on display in the Cold War Gallery. An image of the model can be seen on our Cold War Gallery website, in the “Fly Navy” section under “Aircraft Models,” with additional views available on our Flickr site.  A home made shoulder board fashioned by Coker during their imprisonment is also on display in the Gallery.

A close-up photo of the model of the “Zoo” can be seen below. We’ll have a follow-up story later this month on the model itself. Zoo POW Camp

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  1. Karen Hoyt

    I wore a P.O.W. bracelet with LCDR Robert Naughton on it. I will never forget the day back in March, 1973 when I had the great privilege to watch him appear in the doorway of the plane that brought him home. I cried tears of joy that he had made it safely back to American soil. I prayed for him daily during the time I wore the bracelet. I would like to tell him thank you so much for serving our country.

    • Janet Ohaver

      Your words, Karen, are exactly what I had thought to write. My experience is the same as yours. Prayers were answered, and to see him in the doorway of the plane was stunning! Blessings to you!

      • Karen Hoyt

        Janet, I just saw your post. Thank you for writing what you did. I know it meant so much for me to see him. I was in the hospital at the time & had just talked to one of the nurses about the bracelet and why I was wearing it. Then, I got to watch him arrive back on American soil and the next time she came in it was on the tray table. <3

    • Danielle Bach

      I was just going through some old things of my moms and found a LCDR Robert Naughton bracelet. Turns out my mom used to wear it all the time when she was little. Its really cool the things you find when going through old boxes. From reading these post it looks like a lot of people had these. Does anyone know when they mean or what they were for?

      • Sandy

        I believe these bracelets were either sold or given out so people would remember the POW’s during the Viet Nam War.

  2. Kim Petroski

    I have a POW bracelet with LCDR Robert Naughton, 5-18-67, that I inherited from a close friend who passed a few years back. I just typed in his name to see what I could find. I thought I could send it to a family member but it appears that happily, I could send it to him. If he or anyone in his family would like it, please let me know. So wonderful to hear a success story & read his writings on his experiences.

    • steve sisney

      Capt Naughton and my father were in the navy together. I wore his POW bracelet until it was stolen from my house in 1989. I would greatly appreciate a replacement.

      Steve Sisney

      • Cheryl

        First of all Thank you for your service. I found a post that a zippo was found that is engraved CPL SISNEY Vietnam 66-67 do you know the who the owner may be? If so email me at [email protected]
        If not God Bless

      • Tanya

        Found a zippo 1967 I believe. Says ‘cpl sisney Vietnam 1967″ was this a family members of yours or do you know how to find out to return it. Also has numbers. Can send pic. Please email me [email protected]

      • Jeanne Ainsworth

        I believe someone found a Zippo lighter and it may have your father’s name in it. It is going around on Facebook and they are looking for the owner. The folling is what is going around the Internet.: “Sabrina found this Zippo in a overgrown trash pile, in the woods North of Steeleville about 6 years ago.
        That old trash pile has been there since I was a kid.
        So, it had to have been laying out there since around 1972-74.
        The insides were gone, and it was full of mud. I cleaned it up and sent it to Zippo.
        They replaced the insides and the hinge pin, no charge.
        Works like new again!

        I’ve called all the Sisneys in the phone book but no one knows who it might belong to.

        So if anyone knows who
        CPL SISNEY is, msg me
        so we can return it to him
        or his family.
        Thanks, Steve

      • jennifer

        Did you have any family in the USMC during Vietnam?? If so, someone found a Zipp lighter that has been posted all around online, that they found.

      • Jim McCarty

        Sisney. Sir their is a post on Facebook they are trying to find a cpl sisney. They found a zippo lighter engraved cpl sisney Vietnam 66-67. It was found in steeleville.

      • Theresa Woodby

        Please contact me. I have one of LCDR Robert Naughton,
        5-18-67, bracelet. I wore it until he came home. I would like for you to have it. Please provide your email address so that we can send you a picture of the bracelet. Please contact me so that I can get this to you. We appreciate their service to our country.

  3. sharon "sam" cooper

    I worked for the same company as his father. I was in Arizona and his dad was in Iowa. He called and asked if I would wear his son’s POW bracelet. I was honored and I told him so. My husband was in Vietnam at the time. I never took it off until I watched on TV as he arrived home. I am still honored to have worn the bracelet of a true hero.

  4. Jennifer Lucht

    I also proudly wore LCDR Naughton’s POW bracelet. I will never forget the pure joy watching him come down the steps of the airplane on his return to U.S. soil. There was also a picture of his return along with the other veterans in the TV Guide magazine. My husband Alan also served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. We both proudly covet the bracelet and will make sure that it is also cherished by our children.

  5. John M.Brown

    Hello, I found a POW bracelet, for Robert Naughton, LCDR, who was shot down over Vietnam in 1967. I would be honored to send it to Mr. Naughton, can You help?

    • Admin

      Mr. Brown,

      Good Morning. Please contact NHF Executive Director Captain Todd Creekman, USN (Ret.) at (202) 678-4333 or email our curator Emily Pearce at [email protected] for more information on the donation process.


      Matthew T. Eng

    • Alicia Naughton

      Hi Mr. Brown,
      If you see this reply & you happen to still have the POW bracelet please let me know! Robert Naughton is my grandfather and I’d love to help get it to him.


      • Karol Norris

        Alicia, I still have my bracelet with your grandfather’s name. I wore mine faithfully for many years. I even shared with a few friends who wore it too before he was released. I never heard whether or not “my guy” had come home until the magic of the internet 40 years later. I found out he had been released and returned home. I felt a very close connection to that bracelet, not only for the military significance of it, and my genuine patriotic appreciation of what he went through for me, but as a reminder to myself that life is good even on days I think it isn’t, and someone dealing with unimaginable horrors somewhere on this planet could only wish they had 100 of my worst days for one of theirs. I wear it at least 4 days a week still. I am 64 years old.
        It may sound odd, but LCDR Robert Naughton stays close in my heart and has become an angel on my shoulder when I feel low. God Bless you and your family. Thank you to your grandfather for his service to our country.

      • Jan Selwa

        I, too, have a treasured LCDR Robert Naughton bracelet! I would love for the family to have this bracelet! Please let me know how I can get this to you! Thank you!!!

  6. Dolores

    I also wore a POW bracelet for LCDR Robert Naughton every single day of my teen years and when I saw the POW’s returning and his name was announced as one of the returning I was so thrilled for him and his family. I still have my bracelet and would love to give it to a close member of his family or to he and his wife. Please send me contact information and I will be sure the bracelet gets to you.

  7. Kim Budd

    I also have a LCDR Robert Naughton POW bracelet. I wore it for many years and never knew if Mr. Naughton ever returned home. I just ran across my bracelet this evening for the first time in several years and decided to goggle his name. I’m overcome by joy now knowing he survived his ordeal and has gone on to live a good life. I have loved him with all my heart from the minute I got my bracelet. Let him know he was receiving prayers for many years after he was rescued. I hope he felt blessed. I, too, would be willing to send my bracelet to a family member, if they promise to value it as I have. With love…

  8. Regina Thibeau

    I too wore a POW bracelet with LCDR Robert Naughton’s name on it. I just watched the Viet Nam documentary by Ken Burns and went to my jewelry box to dig it out. I also decided to look him up on the internet and want to say after all these years, “Welcome Home and thank you for your service.”I am 57 years old, I wore it as a 10 year old. I have a vague recollection of Robert Naughton throwing out the first pitch at the Cubs game and that is how I learned he was home. Can any of his family verify that my memory is correct? I will treasure this bracelet as a reminder to have faith that in what may be lost, can be found. I have a son serving in the Army and I know he will represent our country as bravely as LCDR Robert Naughton did.

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  10. Well, I just want to add my name to the list of those who wore a POW bracelet with LCDR Robert Naughton’s name. I don’t remember how I got it, but I started wearing it during my high school senior days of 1970-71 in Kansas City, Missouri, prayed for him, and always hoped that he made it home ok. I just found the bracelet today going through some old treasured items, and for the first time, I decided to try to find out what happened to him. What an unbelievable example of sacrifice, courage, and honor he was in the face of horrific circumstances! (My future husband enlisted in the Army in 1967 at age 17, and I met him the same week you were released.) We thank you so much for your service to our country!!! I also desire to return the bracelet to any family member who would want it, so just let me know, but it definitely shows some wear on the inside. I do hope Captain Naughton (Retired) is still doing well. With love, Lois

  11. Sue Carlson

    Robert Naughton and his wife are our wonderful neighbors…doing well and living in Houston. If someone is still trying to return the bracelet let me know.

    • Maureen Willey

      Sue, I was going through my box of goodies from high school & Robert Naughton’s POW bracelet was in there. I also decided to Google his name. If anyone from the family still wants one, I’d be proud o send it. Maureen

  12. Herbert Ellis

    At this moment I am watching the news special about the life of the American hero John McCain. The report and all the photos that go with it remind me of the day in 1967 when Mr. Naughton was shot down and captured. I was an enlisted man in VA113 on the USS Enterprise and remember that all of the enlisted men had a lot of respect for him. It was quite a shock to us when we received the news of his capture. I also remember how happy I was when I heard that he had been released. Although I served our country during the Viet Nam war, I didn’t have to sacrifice anything but my time so I have great respect for those like Mr. McCain, Mr. Naughton, and many others who gave so much. God bless them all!

  13. Patty

    As a young girl, I wore a POW bracelet engraved with LCDR Robert Naughton’s name on it. When he was released and came home, I was so excited to send the bracelet to him and to let him know that I wore it every day while he was a POW. He wrote a letter to me when he received the bracelet. Happy Veterans’ Day 2018 and Thank You for your service!

  14. Capt Naughton,

    Thank you for signing my Fitness Report as an Ensign at NAS Dallas. That signature helped me to go on to serve the USS America. I ended my Navy duty with over 100 Arrested Landings. I will always be grateful!!

    LT Dana Hornquist,

  15. Cynthia

    Tears of joy still come to my eyes as I read so many that had the bracelet for LCDR Robert J. Naughton! I was in high school in Hixson, Tn, at Chattanooga, my uncle was drafted to Vietnam and in Danang and others I went school with also drafted. I came to Nashville, visit with my grandmother and one day we went to 100 Oaks Mall, that is now Vanderbilt 100 Oaks as the hospital continues to grow. Upstairs by a wonderful Dept. store called Harvey’s, was a table and I bought the silver bracelet for $1 and still have the card and plastic. I NEVER took that bracelet off, ever! I wore it the last 3 years he was held POW for 5 years and then, in the Chattanooga Time’s Free press, of all papers.. I see in the paper a picture of him very skinny and how he had the others sing very very softly, and that he was coming home! As I married and lived in Tampa.. I volunteered with the Vietnam Vets of Tampa Bay and made the bags of 1/2 cup rice for the movie about to be released -Hanoi Hilton and passed them out as people went into the theatre. Then I moved back to Nashville. I have PTSD and TBI and can now relate BIG TIME to the Vets I volunteered with in Tampa and now at the V.A. on Vanderbilt’s property and go there so much and make them tag cards and red, white & blue ribbon through the top and pass them out and has- THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING OUR FREDOM . Smiles and hugs! They have helped me a lot with my PTSD and ..Just Breathe.. when I need it. I make them little tag cards and bring such smiles to them and when I can help, THAT is what helps me! Am so thankful for the updated picture of you and YOUR beautiful smile! Bless you.

  16. Kara Kruse

    I also have a bracelet that I wanted to return to the family, however…..upon reading these messages, there were multiple bracelets made. I would still be happy to send it to the family.

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