Interesting perspective of USNA grads by an "outsider". The below-mentioned Paul Galanit took me under his wing when I retired, wrote letters for me, and helped me get a job (The "Network" at work): Tales From Southeast Asia by CAPT Richard A. Stratton, USN (Ret.) November 1999 It was a new ball game sitting in solitary confinement in a Hoa Lo ("Hanoi Hilton") isolation cell. It was far different than a week previous on the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) goofing off in the Ready Room as a newly assigned Lieutenant Commander maintenance officer of the World Famous Golden Dragons (CAW-19, VA-192). No more A4Es, no more flight schedules, no more LSO debriefs, no more mission planning, no more manning of the spare or the ready tanker, no more mail call. It all came to an abrupt halt on January 5, 1967, when I ate my own 2.75 FFARs (Folding Fin Aircraft Rockets) on a weather reconnaissance hop. I was now a tortured, beaten, starving hulk designated as the "Blackest of Criminals" in the DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) and an official "Yankee Air Pirate" (eligible to be hung from the yardarm, having been caught in the act of piracy). I was alone; separated from all my shipmates. I did not know whom to trust, what the rules of my new mess happened to be, or what was expected of me in this new and strange form of warfare I was about to embark upon. The walls had more banging and knocking than the whole hull of the venerable 27C that had been my previous home. There was a rhythm and a pattern to the noise that had all the class of a wall full of woodpeckers. I remembered enough Morse code to recognize that what I was hearing was not Morse code; but it sure wasn't the ghosts of French Foreign Legionnaires having a happy hour. This isolation wing of the prison had a limited number of cells. Once a day you would put your honey bucket out and your morning soup bowl. One of the cells would open up and those prisoners would gather up the gear and proceed to a cell at the end of the passageway that had some running water piped into it. These guys would do the dishes, buckets and their armpits taking their sweet old time, making a hell of a racket and yacking away at each other to beat the band. But wait a minute, they were not talking to each other, they were talking to the rest of us as if they were talking to each other. Each cell had a high barred window open to the air. If you stood on your cement slab pad you could pick up what they were saying. "If you read me, cough once for yes; twice for no." Cough. "Are you Air Force?" Cough. Cough. "Are you Navy?" Cough. "Are you an O-5?" Cough. Cough. "Are you an O-4?" Cough. "Oh h__, another Lieutenant Commander!" "Do you know who won the Army-Navy game?" Cough. Cough. "Oh hell, a dumb Lieutenant Commander at that!" "Jim Stockdale and Robbie Risner are the SROs (Senior Ranking Officers). Their rules are: communicate at all costs; when they get around to torturing you, hold out as long as you can, bounce back and make them do it all over again; don't despair when they break you, they have broken all of us; pray." Cough. "Two Thais are next to you and have been trying to communicate with you. They are using the tap code; it is a box; the first letters are: American Football League Quits Victorious. Communicate. My name is Galanti - Paul Galanti." BANG. The universal danger signal, as I found out later. They were hauled out of the cell block, tortured and I did not see Paul for three years. The rules of the new ball game were quite simple. To lead was to be tortured. To communicate with a fellow prisoner was a de facto sign of leadership resulting in torture. To fail to bow was to be beaten and tortured. To fail to do exactly what you were told and when you were told was to be tortured. Medical attention was reserved to those who might have some propaganda value and then only in respect to the parts of you that showed. Food and water were rationed out only to the extent to keep you alive but in a weakened condition. Lenient and humane treatment were defined as permitting you to live. You were being held as a hostage and as a propaganda tool; otherwise you had no value. You were a slave to communist ideology. Their rank questions made sense -- find the SRO (Senior Ranking Officer). But after all -- the Army-Navy game! Doesn't that beat all! The pampered nephews of Uncle Sam!! The Boat School Boys [Footnote (1)] are forever with me! I really don't know if that is a curse or a blessing. Although I must admit that it took a set of cajones (balls) for Paul to get the rules of the road and the tap code to me. I had met Stockdale at Stanford University where I was his numerical relief in the International Relations Program. He was a Boat School Boy, but I must admit, having already been tortured, that his rules of the road were a Godsend to my resistance posture. You see, I started out in this man's Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet having been first a Private in the Massachusetts National Guard. I knew what it was to be an enlisted man as my father and brother had been before me. I did not take it to be a sign of second class status -- it was just different. I was a NavCad for the purpose of being a naval aviator, not of being an officer; if you had to be an officer to fly from carriers then so be it, no big deal. But these officers were something else! Here's how the myth built up in my mind. Recognize, that as far as I was concerned initially, all officers were Boat School Boys. NavCads ran out to the obstacle course; officers rode out and back in a Cattle Car. NavCads formed up for church call on Sunday while the officers drove by, shooting us the Hawaiian Peace Sign, to pick off all the best looking girls at Pensacola Beach. The officers got to go to the O'Club and watch pretty girls at the pool and drink Bloody Marys; the NavCads got to go across the street to the ACRAC (Aviation Cadet Recreation and Athletic Club) -- a primitive but welcome beer hall. NavCads got to wash SNJs (aircraft) while the Officers lounged around. NavCads got to man fire bottles while the Officers started their engines. NavCads took the leftovers while the officers got the prime flight times and first shots at available aircraft. Not complaining mind you; just a fact of life registering more because they were no better or no worse an aviator than you were. As a plowback instructor in advanced training, I started to sort out the Boat School Boys. They hung in there together. They were adventuresome but overconfident. But they were as a rule unprepared for hops, careless about academics, and cavalier about performing for grades.