Looking for a story about Vietnam POW James Stockdale

I’m looking for a story about Vietnam POW James Sockdale. I heard a story about him jogging on Capital Hill and being held up by a thief. He then apparently made up a story about having cancer to turn the tables on the would-be thief. Is the story true? I haven’t found it online. is the story apocryphal?

I look forward to your feedback

Sorry, type…James Stockdale

I fixed the title for you.

I am in awe of Adm Stockdale’s valor but I don’t recall hearing that story. His wife was an amazing woman too.

I heard the story from someone who had heard it from a motivational speaker. The story sounds suspect. I certainly couldn’t find it online.

Who am I? Why am I here?

That’s a very cheap shot at a war hero who was doing a favor for Ross Perot who helped fellow POWs. I’d hope at some point that nonsense would stop.


I concur with the above comment. His wife was an amazing strong person in her own right, charming and gracious.

I interviewed VADM Stockdale for a few hours, and spent a lot of time doing background prior to that. I don’t recall that story, and it seems out of character for him.

From a physical standpoint I doubt that even more. His knee was dislocated in Vietnam and when he returned to the US, the doctors told him there was nothing they could do, so his knee was ultimately fused. When I was with him, he couldn’t move it at all. So I highly doubt he was jogging at any point after the Vietnam War.

Prior to 1965, I think he just would have kicked the guy’s ass.

I rather doubt that story also. When would Stockdale have been jogging on Capitol Hill?

Within a year of returning from Vietnam, he was assigned to the Naval War College up in Rhode Island. Then he was at a college in South Carolina for a couple of years, then out in California at Stanford. He continued living in California until his death.

So the only time he could have been living in Washington DC was just after his release. At that time, his legs were still severely injured, and he could not even stand upright without assistance. Don’t think he would be out doing much jogging.

The way I heard it, WWII vet and Senator Bill Proxmire supposedly told a mugger “I have terminal cancer and was thinking of suicide, but if I did, my wife could not collect on my life insurance. So if you kill me, you’ll be helping out my family.”

Thanks for that The Other Waldo Pepper. I’d like to ask if James Stock, while a POW, wanted to commit suicide as I’ve read on some websites (see below)

or wanted to make himself as unpresentable as possible for the Vietnamese to use him as a propaganda tool.

My understanding is that he was not suicidal but was [placed under suicide watch.

I don’t think Stockdale was suicidal at all. I don’t see that in him. If he felt it was required as a Naval Officer he might have, but I don’t think he was actually suicidal. He was always confident that he’d get out, even while he knew there were hideous days in between ‘now’ and when he was going to get out. So I don’t think he was suicidal, or if he was it was very short.

He did try and make himself nu-photogenic if you will, so he wouldn’t be used for propaganda purposes.

As an aside, he said that he’d love to meet his captors, as he viewed them all as military men and warriors, and would have been happy to see them again.

I recall he apologized for needing to use his hearing aid, and the audience laughed. He had most of his hearing destroyed on aircraft carrier decks.

spifflog thank you for confirming my impression of him. It’s a shame that most Americans only knew him for being out of his element in a political debate.