Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1970

POW spends 2,000th day in captivity

U.S. Navy Lt. Everett Alvarez Jr. spends his 2,000th day in captivity in Southeast Asia. First taken prisoner when his plane was shot down on August 5, 1964, he became the longest-held POW in U.S. history. Alvarez was downed over Hon Gai during the first bombing raids against North Vietnam in retaliation for the disputed attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.

Alvarez was released in 1973 after spending over eight years in captivity, the first six months as the only American prisoner in North Vietnam. From the first day of his captivity, he was shackled, isolated, nearly starved, and brutally tortured. Although he was among the more junior-rank prisoners of war, his courageous conduct under horrendous conditions and treatment helped establish the model emulated by the many other POWs that later joined him. After retirement from the Navy, he served as deputy director of the Peace Corps and deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration during the Reagan administration, before founding his own military consulting firm.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Republic of India born

On January 26, 1950, the Indian constitution takes effect, making the Republic of India the most populous democracy in the world. Mohandas Gandhi struggled through decades of passive resistance before Britain finally accepted Indian independence. Self-rule had been promised ...read more

Pinzon discovers Brazil

Spanish explorer Vicente Yanez Pinzon, who had commanded the Nina during Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the New World, reaches the northeastern coast of Brazil during a voyage under his command. Pinzon’s journey produced the first recorded account of a European ...read more

Franco captures Barcelona

During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, the Republican capital of Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco. In 1931, King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor ...read more

Baird demonstrates TV

On January 26, 1926, John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a true television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment. Baird’s invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a “televisor,” used ...read more

Australia Day

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with ...read more

Ukraine declares its independence

Soon after the Bolsheviks seized control in immense, troubled Russia in November 1917 and moved towards negotiating peace with the Central Powers, the former Russian state of Ukraine declares its total independence. One of pre-war Russia’s most prosperous areas, the vast, flat ...read more

Audie Murphy wounded

On this day, the most decorated man of the war, American Lt. Audie Murphy, is wounded in France. Born the son of Texas sharecroppers on June 20, 1924, Murphy served three years of active duty, beginning as a private, rising to the rank of staff sergeant, and finally winning a ...read more