On this day in 1964, Ensign Everett Alvarez was shot down amid Operation Pierce Arrow, President Johnson’s response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the beginning of U.S. Air operations over North Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
An A-4 Skyhawk pilot, Alvarez was one of the first American servicemen captured during the Vietnam War, the first Navy POW, and his 8 and a half years in captivity remain the second-longest of any POW in American history.

Cdr. Alvarez is on the Board of Directors of the Richard Nixon Foundation, and spoke about his harrowing experience 50 years ago today: