“It’s been nearly 55 years since the late Senator John McCain crashed into Truc Bach Lake, before spending the next five-and-a-half years as a POW in Hoa Lo prison. Visiting this marker earlier today was certainly a sobering and humbling experience,” Austin tweeted Thursday. The tweet goes with a video showing him placing a bouquet of flowers at the McCain Memorial at Truc Bach Lake.
A day earlier, another tweet said: “I wanted to make sure one of my first stops in Vietnam was to the Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi. It is a visible reminder of the cost of war, and why our strong bilateral partnership with Vietnam today is rooted in our shared sacrifice.”
Bộ U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, July 28, 2021. Photo courtesy of the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.
During his visit made on the invitation of Vietnam’s Minister of National Defense Phan Van Giang, Austin held discussions with his host on bilateral military cooperation, the dioxin cleanup project at Dong Nai’s Bien Hoa Airport, cooperation in the Covid-19 fight and other topics of mutual interest.
The two officials also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation to locate, recover and identify the remains of Vietnamese martyrs and exchanged several war artifacts.
Austin also met with President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Hanoi’s Hoa Lo Prison was used during the Vietnam War to detain U.S. prisoners of war. Previously, the French colonial administration had incarcerated Vietnamese revolutionaries there.
John McCain's plane was shot down during a bombing run in 1967. He ejected from his plane and was pulled ashore by locals after landing in the Truc Bach Lake.
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