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James Stockdale

James Stockdale

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Vice Admiral
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 James Bond Stockdale (December 23, 1923 – July 5, 2005) was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

.

Stockdale led aerial attacks from the carrier during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Gulf of Tonkin Incident
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, or the USS Maddox Incident, are the names given to two incidents, one fabricated, involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin...

. On his next deployment, while Commander of Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard the carrier , he was shot down over enemy territory on September 9, 1965. Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. He was awarded 26 personal combat decorations, including the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 and four Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

s. During the late 1970s, he served as President of the Naval War College
President of the Naval War College
The President of the Naval War College is a flag officer in the United States Navy. The President's House is his official residence.Since the Korean War, all presidents of the Naval War College have been vice admirals or rear admirals.-Presidents:...

.

Stockdale was candidate for Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 in the 1992 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1992
The United States presidential election of 1992 had three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George Bush; Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot....

, on Ross Perot
Ross Perot
Henry Ross Perot is a U.S. businessman best known for running for President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988...

's independent ticket.

Early life and career


Stockdale was born in Abingdon, Illinois
Abingdon, Illinois
Abingdon is a city in Knox County, Illinois, 50 miles west of Peoria. It is part of the Galesburg Micropolitan Statistical Area. The city was first settled in 1828 and was incorporated in 1857. In 1894, the patent for the common spring-loaded mousetrap was given to William Hooker of Abingdon,...

 and, following a brief period at Monmouth College
Monmouth College
Monmouth College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Monmouth, Illinois, United States.-History:Monmouth College was founded on April 18, 1853 by the Second Presbytery of Illinois, a frontier arm of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church...

 (1946), he attended the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 in Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It had a population of 38,394 at the 2010 census and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, south of Baltimore and about east of Washington, D.C. Annapolis is...

 from which he graduated with the class of 1947 (which was in 1946 due to the reduced schedule still in effect from World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

).

Shortly after graduating, Stockdale reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Air Station Pensacola or NAS Pensacola , "The Cradle of Naval Aviation", is a United States Navy base located next to Warrington, Florida, a community southwest of the Pensacola city limits...

, in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, for flight training. In 1954, he was accepted into the United States Naval Test Pilot School
United States Naval Test Pilot School
The United States Naval Test Pilot School , located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and foreign military experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test...

 at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River
Naval Air Station Patuxent River
"Pax River" redirects here. For the river, see Patuxent River.Naval Air Station Patuxent River , also known as NAS Pax River, is a United States Naval Air Station located in St. Mary's County, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Patuxent River. It is home to the U.S...

 base in Southern Maryland
Southern Maryland
Southern Maryland in popular usage is composed of the state's southernmost counties on the "Western Shore" of the Chesapeake Bay. This region includes all of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties and sometimes the southern portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.- History...

. It was there that he tutored a young Marine aviator named John Glenn
John Glenn
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

 in math and physics. In 1959 the Navy sent Stockdale to Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 where he received a masters degree in international relations. Stockdale preferred the life of a fighter pilot over academia, but later credited Stoic
STOIC
STOIC was a variant of Forth.It started out at the MIT and Harvard Biomedical Engineering Centre in Boston, and was written in the mid 1970s by Jonathan Sachs...

 philosophy with helping him cope as a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident




On August 2, 1964, while on a DESOTO patrol
DESOTO patrol
DESOTO patrols were patrols conducted by U.S. Navy destroyers equipped with a mobile "van" of signals intelligence equipment used for intelligence collection in hostile waters....

 in the Tonkin Gulf, the destroyer engaged 3 North Vietnamese Navy P-4 torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Squadron. After fighting a running gun and torpedo battle, in which the Maddox fired over 280 5-inch shells, and the torpedo boats expended their 6 torpedoes (all misses) and hundreds of rounds of 14.5mm machinegun fire; the combatants broke contact. As the torpedo boats turned for their North Vietnamese coastline, four F-8 Crusader
F-8 Crusader
The Vought F-8 Crusader was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft built by Vought for the United States Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, replacing the Vought F7U Cutlass...

 jet fighter bombers from the aircraft carrier arrived, and immediately attacked the retreating torpedo boats. Commander James Stockdale and Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Richard Hastings attacked torpedo boats T-333 and T-336, while Commander R. F. Mohrhardt and Lieutenant Commander C. E. Southwick attacked torpedo boat T-339. The four pilots reported scoring no hits with their Zuni rockets
Zuni (rocket)
The Zuni is a unguided rocket deployed by the United States armed forces. The rocket was developed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. It can be used to carry various types of warheads, including chaff for countermeasures. It is usually fired from the LAU-10 rocket pod holding four...

, but reported hits on all three torpedo boats with their 20mm cannons.

On August 4, 1964, Squadron Commander Stockdale was, again, one of the U.S. pilots flying overhead during the second attack which occurred in the Tonkin Gulf; unlike the first attack, which was an actual sea battle
Sea Battle
Sea Battle is a multiplayer strategy game released by Mattel for its Intellivision video game system in 1980. In the game, players command fleets of naval vessels attempting to invade the harbor of their opponent.-Gameplay:...

, no Vietnamese forces were believed to have been involved in this second engagement. In the early 1990s, he recounted: "[I] had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets—there were no PT boat
PT boat
PT Boats were a variety of motor torpedo boat , a small, fast vessel used by the United States Navy in World War II to attack larger surface ships. The PT boat squadrons were nicknamed "the mosquito fleet". The Japanese called them "Devil Boats".The original pre–World War I torpedo boats were...

s there.... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power." Stockdale said his superiors ordered him to keep quiet about this. He later said that while in captivity, he was concerned that he would be forced to reveal this secret about the Vietnam War.

Prisoner of war


On a mission over North Vietnam on September 9, 1965, Stockdale ejected from his A-4E Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

, which had been disabled from friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

 after the mechanical malfunction of his wing-man's ordnance. He parachuted into a small village, where he was severely beaten and taken into custody.

Stockdale was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison for the next seven years. Locked in leg irons in a bath stall, he was routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

. When they covered his head with a hat, he beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. When Stockdale was discovered with information that could implicate his friends' "black activities", he slit his wrists so they could not torture him into confession.

Early in Stockdale's captivity, his wife, Sybil Stockdale
Sybil Stockdale
Sybil Stockdale was the wife of an American Vietnam War Navy pilot who became a prisoner of war. Sybil then became a co-founder, and then later served as the national coordinator of the National League of Families, a nonprofit organization that worked on behalf of American Vietnam-era Missing in...

, organized The League of American Families of POWs and MIAs, with other wives of servicemen who were in similar circumstances. By 1968 she and her organization, which called for the President and the U.S. Congress to publicly acknowledge the mistreatment of the POWs (something that had never been done despite evidence of gross mistreatment), was getting the attention of the American press. Sybil Stockdale personally made these demands known at the Paris Peace Talks.
Stockdale was part of a group of about eleven prisoners known as the "Alcatraz Gang": George Thomas Coker
George Thomas Coker
George Thomas Coker is a retired US Navy commander, honored with the Navy Cross for his leadership as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, and a Distinguished Eagle Scout noted for his devotion to Scouting....

, George McKnight, Jeremiah Denton
Jeremiah Denton
Jeremiah Andrew Denton Jr. is a retired United States Navy rear admiral, naval aviator and a former Republican U.S. senator, for the state of Alabama...

, Harry Jenkins, Sam Johnson
Sam Johnson
Samuel Robert "Sam" Johnson is an American politician and a retired career U.S. Air Force officer and fighter pilot. He currently is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 3rd District of Texas...

, James Mulligan, Howard Rutledge, Robert Shumaker, Ronald Storz and Nels Tanner; which was separated from other captives and placed in solitary confinement for their leadership in resisting their captors. "Alcatraz" was a special facility in a courtyard behind the North Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense, located about one mile away from Hoa Lo Prison. In Alcatraz, each of the eleven men were kept in solitary confinement in cells measuring 3 feet by 9 feet with a light bulb which was kept on around the clock. The men were locked in leg irons each night.

In a business book by James C. Collins
James C. Collins
James C. "Jim" Collins, III is an American business consultant, author, and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth. Jim Collins frequently contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Fortune and other magazines, journals, etc...

 called Good to Great
Good to Great
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't is a 2001 management book by James C. Collins that aims to describe how companies transition from being average companies to great companies and how companies can fail to make the transition...

, Collins writes about a conversation he had with Stockdale regarding his coping strategy during his period in the Vietnamese POW camp.

"I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."


When Collins asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:
"Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."


Stockdale then added:

"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."


Witnessing this philosophy of duality, Collins went on to describe it as the Stockdale Paradox.

Return to the United States



Stockdale was released as a prisoner of war on February 12, 1973. His shoulders had been wrenched from their sockets, his leg shattered by angry villagers and a torturer, and his back broken.

He received the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 in 1976. Stockdale filed charges against two other officers who, he felt, had given aid and comfort to the enemy. However, the Navy Department under the leadership of then-Secretary of the Navy John Warner
John Warner
John William Warner, KBE is an American Republican politician who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974 and as a five-term United States Senator from Virginia from January 2, 1979, to January 3, 2009...

 took no action and retired these men "in the best interests of the Navy."

Debilitated by his captivity and mistreatment, Stockdale could not stand upright and could barely walk upon his return to the United States, which prevented his return to active flying status. In deference to his previous service, the Navy kept him on active duty, steadily promoting him over the next few years before he retired as a vice admiral
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

. He completed his career by serving as President of the Naval War College
Naval War College
The Naval War College is an education and research institution of the United States Navy that specializes in developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy. The college is located on the grounds of Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island...

 from October 13, 1977, until August 22, 1979.

Civilian academic career and writings


After his retirement in 1979, he became the President of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina
The Citadel (military college)
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, also known simply as The Citadel, is a state-supported, comprehensive college located in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. It is one of the six senior military colleges in the United States...

. His tenure there was short and stormy as he found himself at odds with the college's board as well as most of its administration over dramatic and controversial changes to the college's military system and other facets of the college. He left The Citadel to become a fellow of the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 in 1981.

During the following two decades, Stockdale wrote a number of books both on his experiences during the Vietnam War and afterwards. In Love and War: the Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam War was co-written with his wife Sybil and published in 1984. It includes several letters sent between the couple while he was in captivity. It was later made into an NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 television movie.

Stockdale was a member of the board of directors of the Rockford Institute
Rockford Institute
Rockford Institute is a conservative think-tank associated with paleoconservatism, based in Rockford, Illinois. It is known for the John Randolph Club, and publishes Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture....

, and was a frequent contributor to Chronicles: A magazine of American Culture
Chronicles (magazine)
Chronicles is a U.S. monthly magazine published by the Rockford Institute. Its full current name is Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. The magazine is known for promoting anti-globalism, anti-intervention and anti-immigration stances within conservative politics, and is considered one of...

.

Vice-Presidential candidacy



Stockdale came to know businessman and presidential candidate H. Ross Perot through his wife's work in establishing an organization to represent the families of Vietnam POWs. On March 30, 1992, Perot announced that he had asked Stockdale to be his provisional Vice Presidential nominee on the 1992 Reform Party ticket. Perot intended to replace Stockdale with another candidate, but did not do so before he dropped out of the race in July 1992.

Perot eventually re-entered the race in the fall of 1992, with Stockdale still in place as the vice-presidential nominee. Stockdale was not informed that he would be participating in the October 13 vice-presidential debate held in Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, until a week before the event. He had no formal preparation for the debate, unlike his opponents Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 and Dan Quayle
Dan Quayle
James Danforth "Dan" Quayle served as the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving with President George H. W. Bush . He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indiana....

, and did not discuss any political issues with Perot beforehand.

Stockdale infamously opened the debate by saying, "Who am I? Why am I here?", when responding to debate moderator, Hal Bruno, the political director of ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

. Bruno had asked Stockdale, "Admiral Stockdale, your opening statement, please, sir?", leading to the now famous response. Initially, the rhetorical question
Rhetorical question
A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply. Rhetorical questions encourage the listener to think about what the answer to the question must be. When a speaker states, "How much longer must our people...

s drew applause from the audience, seeming to be a good-natured acknowledgment of his relatively unknown status and lack of traditional qualifications. However, his unfocused style for the rest of the debate (including asking the moderator to repeat one question because he didn't have his hearing aid
Hearing aid
A hearing aid is an electroacoustic device which typically fits in or behind the wearer's ear, and is designed to amplify and modulate sound for the wearer. Earlier devices, known as "ear trumpets" or "ear horns", were passive funnel-like amplification cones designed to gather sound energy and...

 turned on) made him appear confused and almost disoriented. An unflattering recreation of the moment on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

later that week, with Phil Hartman
Phil Hartman
Philip Edward "Phil" Hartman was a Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and graphic artist. Born in Brantford, Ontario, Hartman and his family moved to the United States when he was 10...

 as Stockdale, cemented a public perception of Stockdale as slow-witted. He was also often parodied for his repeated use of the word "gridlock
Gridlock
The term gridlock is defined as "A state of severe road congestion arising when continuous queues of vehicles block an entire network of intersecting streets, bringing traffic in all directions to a complete standstill; a traffic jam of this kind." The term originates from a situation possible in...

" to describe slow governmental policy.

As his introduction to the large segment of American voters who had not previously heard of him, the debate was disastrous for Stockdale. He was portrayed in the media as elderly and confused, and his reputation never recovered. In a 1999 interview with Jim Lehrer
Jim Lehrer
James Charles "Jim" Lehrer is an American journalist and the executive editor and former news anchor for PBS NewsHour on PBS, known for his role as a frequent debate moderator during elections...

, Stockdale explained that the statements were intended as an introduction of himself and his personal history to the television audience:


It was terribly frustrating because I remember I started with, "Who am I? Why am I here?" and I never got back to that because there was never an opportunity for me to explain my life to people. It was so different from Quayle and Gore. The four years in solitary confinement in Vietnam, seven-and-a-half years in prisons, drop the first bomb that started the ... American bombing raid in the North Vietnam. We blew the oil storage tanks of them off the map. And I never—I couldn't approach—I don't say it just to brag, but, I mean, my sensitivities are completely different.


Perot and Stockdale received 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1992
The United States presidential election of 1992 had three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George Bush; Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot....

, one of the best showings by an independent ticket in U.S. electoral history, although they did not carry any states.

Final years and legacy



Stockdale retired to Coronado, California
Coronado, California
Coronado, also known as Coronado Island, is an affluent resort city located in San Diego County, California, 5.2 miles from downtown San Diego. Its population was 24,697 at the 2010 census, up from 24,100 at the 2000 census. U.S. News and World Report lists Coronado as one of the most expensive...

, as he slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

. He died from the illness on July 5, 2005. Stockdale's funeral service was held at the Naval Academy Chapel
Naval Academy Chapel
The United States Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, is one of two houses of worship on the grounds of the Navy's service academy. Protestant and Catholic services are held there. The Naval Academy Chapel is a focal point of the Academy and the city of Annapolis...

 and he was buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery
United States Naval Academy Cemetery
The United States Naval Academy Cemetery and Columbarium is a cemetery at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.-History:In 1868 the Naval Academy purchased a sixty-seven acre piece of land called Strawberry Hill as part of their efforts to expand after the American Civil War....

.

The U.S. Navy has named a number of structures after Stockdale, including the Arleigh Burke–class guided missile destroyer , christened on May 10, 2008. At Naval Air Station North Island
Naval Air Station North Island
Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island is located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay and is the home port of several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy...

 in Coronado, California, the main gate (inaugurated on August 30, 2007) and the headquarters building for the Pacific Fleet's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school were both named in his honor. In July 2008, a statue of him was erected at Luce Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy; the hall also houses the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership.

A luxury suite at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, where Perot announced his candidacy, was named in Stockdale's honor.

Electoral history


1992 election for U.S. President/Vice President - popular vote share
  • Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

    /Gore
    Al Gore
    Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

     (D), 43.0% (370 Electoral Votes)
  • Bush/Quayle
    Dan Quayle
    James Danforth "Dan" Quayle served as the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving with President George H. W. Bush . He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indiana....

     (R), 37.7% (168 Electoral Votes)
  • Perot
    Ross Perot
    Henry Ross Perot is a U.S. businessman best known for running for President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988...

    /Stockdale (I), 18.9% (0 Electoral Votes)

Medal of Honor citation


Stockdale's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners' of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale's valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Writings by James Stockdale


Books
  • Taiwan and the Sino-Soviet Dispute, Stanford, California, 1962.
  • The Ethics of Citizenship, University of Texas at Dallas, 1981, Andrew R. Cecil lectures on moral values in a free society featured Stockdale and other speakers.
  • James Bond Stockdale Speaks on the "Melting Experience: Grow or Die", Hoover Institution, Stanford, 1981 speech to the graduating class of John Carroll University
    John Carroll University
    John Carroll University is a private, co-educational Jesuit Catholic university in University Heights, Ohio, United States, a suburb of Cleveland. The university was founded in 1886 by the Society of Jesus as Saint Ignatius College.The university was founded in 1886 by the Society of Jesus, as...

     in Cleveland, Ohio
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

    .
  • A Vietnam Experience: Ten Years of Reflection, Hoover Institution, Stanford, 1984, ISBN 0-8179-8151-9.
  • In Love and War: The Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years, Harper & Row, New York, 1984, ISBN 0-06-015318-0.
  • In Love and War: The Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years, Naval Institute Press, reprint 1990, Annapolis, Maryland, ISBN 0-87021-308-3.
  • Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus
    Epictetus
    Epictetus was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia , and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses...

    's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior
    , Hoover Institution, Stanford, 1993, ISBN 0-8179-3692-0.
  • Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, Hoover Institution, Stanford, 1995 ISBN 0-8179-9391-6.


Other writings

See also




Online references


Written references


Apart from the works written by Stockdale himself, the following work refers extensively to Stockdale's involvement in the Tonkin Gulf:
  • Edwin E. Moise, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War UNC Press North Carolina 1996 ISBN 0-8078-2300-7


The following book is based on the series of lectures delivered for the course in moral philosophy established at the Naval War College by Admiral Stockdale in 1978, when Stockdale was president of the college. The course was designed by Stockdale and Professor Joseph Brennan, who continued to teach it after Stockdale retired from the Navy. The Foreword was written by Stockdale.
  • Joseph Gerard Brennan, FOUNDATIONS OF MORAL OBLIGATION: The Stockdale Course, Presidio Press, Novato, California (1994) ISBN 0-89141-528-9