Naden - Pile Down Free
On another walk, I found an interesting collection on top of a manhole cover, pictured here. A pair of slip on boots and a wine glass. My imagination ran wild. Someone who had been partying a bit too much? Maybe fell down the manhole? Or was beamed up into a UFO? Of course it was probably just someone trying to get rid of their stuff.
Naden - Pile Down
Onuoha was eligible to play for England (having received British citizenship at seven years old) and Nigeria (the country in which he was born). He was invited by Nigeria manager Berti Vogts to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations; however, Onuoha turned down the opportunity because his club, Manchester City, had recently had a change of manager and he did not want to lose his place in the team by being absent on international duty for a month. Onuoha stated in 2022 that he regretted this choice; he ended up never playing senior international football.
The Shootdown We took off from Savannakhet Airfield, climbed to 8,000 feet and flew the same route as we had done on the first two trips. Y.C. To was sitting in the radio operator's seat behind the pilots. As for the others, we were either sitting in the passenger seats or lying down. I took off my jacket and wore only a shirt and my brand-new jeans that I had just bought in Bangkok. An eight-inch jungle knife and a compass were attached to my field belt.
It was about ten minutes before we reached the drop zone. I was lying down eating a piece of fruit. A violent explosion happened close to where I was lying near the right wing of the aircraft. We abruptly lost altitude, and I floated to the ceiling and fell back to the floor. I was certain that we had been hit by enemy AAA fire, and when I looked out the window, I saw puffs of smoke from AAA rounds as they were fired and exploded not far from our aircraft.
I Scanned The Earth I saw the parachutes of my friends above me. While I was floating, I scanned the earth and saw a wide plain at the base of the mountain. I could see that the others were heading for that area. I tried to turn into the wind that was blowing toward the plain and landed in a tree. I climbed down to the ground and left the parachute in the tree as a marker for search aircraft. It was 1630 in the afternoon, and the rescue aircraft operated until 1800. I found a small trail that did not look to be used very much. It was the rainy season, and footprints were easily noticeable. I hurried across the trail and hid in the dense jungle about 110 to 160 yards away from where the parachute was hanging.
A Platoon Of Soldiers In the open area I saw a platoon of soldiers dressed in khaki uniforms. They were wearing caps, had their arms slung and were carrying full issues of ammunition and other equipment. They were walking single file directly toward where I was hiding. I got down from the tree and hid again as they walked closer and closer. I could hear them talking in Laotian and Vietnamese, which meant that the Laotian Communists were operating with the North Vietnamese soldiers. They found the parachute and scattered out and started to search the area. The rainfall began to increase at dusk. They regrouped and headed back to the open plain area.
I swam out and grabbed a hold of a log floating with the current in order to save time and keep from getting too tired. All I had to do was endure the cold water. I floated downstream for a considerable time, when I felt the stream getting shallower and the current starting to run faster. I couldn't see anything ahead. The stream quickly curved to the right, and the current became even stronger.
The First Escape On May 28, 1964, the time had come to make our escape. Each night, the guard would climb up on the roof and sleep, often snoring loudly. It would be a big problem if he slept on the log that we had prepared to move. That night the guard took over at dusk. He laid his weapon down on top of the cell, smoked a cigarette and climbed up on the roof and reclined on the opposite side from where we had prepared the log to move. After about two or three hours, we heard him snoring, so we moved the log. I climbed out first, followed by the others. The guard was still snoring loudly. I moved to the outside fence, pulled in wide enough to squeeze through and signaled for my friends to follow. We sat motionless to see if there were any guards along the outside of the fence. There were none. We moved in a direction that would avoid military quarters and headed toward a dry streambed where the walking was much easier.
Captured Again I believe the soldiers weren't far behind, because we had left a lot of tracks. Near daylight on the sixth day, we heard the sound of frogs, indicating there might be water. We increased our pace in the direction of the sound. I walked ahead and found a water pond about four yards across and knee deep. When I scooped up the water into my mouth, I saw the reflection of a person in a Laotian military outfit standing on the cliff overlooking the pond. I jumped for cover and shouted for the others to beware. It was too late. Y.C. To and DeBruin had plunged into the pond. At the same time the sound of gunfire was heard in all directions. They had us surrounded. They shouted that we would be killed if we tried to flee. We all walked out and sat down in the pond. We didn't care if they killed us or not.
The Fifth Prison We were taken to a large prison built in a cave, and it contained many other prisoners. I don't know how long they had been there, but they were all skinny, weak and dirty. We were herded into a cave with water dripping down, and it was cool and stunk. The floor was stone, but they had made a raised floor of split bamboo for sleeping. We were there only three weeks and moved again across the river. From there we walked another full day. We found out from the soldiers that this prison was new, especially built for foreign prisoners. We were told that no one had been held here before.
Interrogation Fourteen days later we were marched back to our fifth prison and put in the same cell we had occupied before. In the morning, soldiers cut our hair for the first time in over a year, and we were allowed to bathe in the stream. The soldiers gave us Laotian military uniforms to put on. We were taken to an old house, where a big man stood. He was wearing a khaki uniform and a sun helmet and wearing a pistol around his waist. Five soldiers carrying AK rifles were behind him. He had us line up and took a few photos of us. When he finished, we were again handcuffed and taken to the porch of the house where the interrogation began. The three of us Thais were questioned first. We were asked our first names, last names and ages. They inquired about various aspects of our personal history. They asked our rank and unit. We replied we were civilians working for Air America Company. He didn't believe us and warned us not to lie, or we would be shot. He asked how we knew how to parachute from a plane if we were not soldiers. We again affirmed that we were civilians and were forced to jump from the plane when it was shot down. They began hitting us immediately. The soldiers in back of us used the stocks of their weapons to hit us from behind until our chairs fell over to the floor. They pulled us back up again and had us lay our handcuffed hands on the table. He asked me where do the Thai soldiers do their parachute training? I answered that I did not know. He grabbed the AK from one of the soldiers and slammed the stock down onto my right hand breaking the bones on the spot. My hand hurt, but I had to endure it. He yelled, "If you guys don't tell me the truth, I'm going to shoot you." When the interrogation began, he spoke Laotian, but as it progressed, he started clearly speaking Thai. He pointed the gun at my head and had me write, "The [Thai] government sent me to invade Laotian territory and to kill Laotians." I had to write this and sign my name.
Meeting Dieter Dengler Navy Lieutenant Dieter Dengler was shot down February 2, 1966, while flying a mission off the carrier Ranger. He was flying an A-1E propeller-driven aircraft that the Americans called the "Spad." Dengler had been captured for two weeks and was severely beaten up when he arrived to where we were being held.
About his shoot-down, Dengler writes: "Tree and plane met with a violent shudder. I came to, lying on my back about 100 feet from the crash. It was important that I put distance between myself and the aircraft. My first Pathet Lao was different than I had anticipated. He was small and had muscular calloused feet and carried a long-bladed machete. Slowly, I pulled the sleeping bag over my body for camouflage.
Each morning, the guards would take all of us at one time to the stream, where we would dump out our waste buckets. Every three days we were allowed to bathe and wash our clothes. They didn't put us back into our cells immediately when we walked back, and we were allowed to stay within the perimeter of the prison until breakfast. Opposite the camp was a high mountain covered with a thick blanket of trees. We figured it would take about six hours to reach the top of the mountain, but we wondered if there was a way down the other side. The whole time we were at this prison we never saw any outside soldiers or villagers. The sounds of trucks eventually disappeared, and all that was left was the sound of aircraft 24 hours a day. We often saw aircraft drop flares and bombs, and the sound of gunfire filled the air. At times it felt like an earthquake.
We started to make escape plans. Some days the guards climbed the towers and went to sleep. Sometimes they left their weapons in the tower when they came down at mealtime; all 16 guards would eat together. We tried to be on our best behavior as we waited for the rainy season to arrive. As advance preparation, we dug and loosened the bamboo fence next to one of the guard towers. We did the same in the cell. Each day we poured drinking water and urine onto the base of the largest pole until we loosened it. We put it back into the hole and covered up all traces so the guards wouldn't notice anything and waited until the end of July and the rainy season. 041b061a72