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Pilot who endured torture at ‘Hanoi Hilton’ dies

Liz De La Torre

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From The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. – Retired Air Force Col. Jack Pitchford, a fighter pilot from Mississippi who survived seven years in the Vietnamese prison camp known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” has died. He was 82.

Pitchford’s brother, Jim Pitchford, says the former pilot died Wednesday after battling a brain tumor.

The Natchez, Miss., native was shot down in 1965 and taken to the Hoa Lo prison, enduring torture in the same place as U.S. Sen. John McCain and other veterans.

Pitchford was released in 1973. McCain was released the same year after spending five years in the prison.

Pitchford was born John Joseph Pitchford Jr. on May 29, 1927.

After earning his wings, Pitchford volunteered with the Wild Weasels and was responsible for destroying surface-to-air missiles.

1 Comment

One Response to “Pilot who endured torture at ‘Hanoi Hilton’ dies”

  1. Linda Schroeder-Bentz on February 21st, 2010 3:22 am

    Dear Col. John J. Pitchford,

    Our thoughts and prayers go with you. John, you were deeply loved and left us with many fond memories. You served our country with valor and you were a wonderful and compassionate stepfather. I’ll always remember when you would flyyour jet over our house in Scottsdale, AZ, and we waved with much excitment as you flew overhead. God be with you.

    The Schroeders (Linda, Jim, Liz, and John)


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Pilot who endured torture at ‘Hanoi Hilton’ dies