Location Vietnam
About Person of Interest
Name:
Herman Hughes
Branch of Service:
Navy
Rank:
Lieutenant
Unit:
Navy
Author:
Herman Hughes

Goose Bumps and Cold Chills

Summary
This describes my emotional reaction to hearing the fate of my friend, Sol who died in captivity in Vietnam.
Story

Goose Bumps and Cold Chills

I had a co-worker when I was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, (GITMO) who was a Marine intelligence specialist. I was a Naval Intelligence Officer working in the same office. After we both moved on to new duty stations, I did not see Sol Godwin ever again, but I did come to know something of what happened to him.

In the summer of 1968 I was assigned to the staff of Commander Naval Forces Vietnam in Saigon. Shortly after arriving I met a young USMC Marine First Lieutenant. He was an intelligence specialist working in the same office as I was.

As we were getting acquainted, I mentioned that I had been in GITMO. He asked if I knew Sol Godwin. I said that I did and he said he knew Sol well. In fact, he had served with him in Hue in 1968. Then he told me how he saw Sol being captured by soldiers of the North Vietnamese army in Hue during the Tet Offensive. He did not know what had happened to Sol. He last saw him being led away by NVA soldiers.

Years later, after I had left Vietnam, I was a member of a naval intelligence reserve unit in Portland, Oregon. We were processing debriefing reports of POWs released from North Vietnam prisons in 1973. We were scanning the documents for information about what happened to men known to have been captured by the NVA and Viet Cong.

As I was reading, a familiar name almost jumped off the page I was reading. Warrant Officer, Solomon H. Godwin, USMC, died in captivity, according to other prisoners who were there. Suddenly, a chill ran up my spine and I got goose bumps. I got an cold sick feeling in my stomach. I could almost feel what Sol had gone through.

Many former prisoners have since told of the horrific torture they endured while “guests in the Hanoi Hilton” and other prison camps. My simulated capture and torture during my SERE (survival) training just prior to going to Vietnam gave me but a brief glimpse of what prisoners experienced at the hands of the NVA and Viet Cong when they were captured. I just thank God I was never captured.

Captain Herman W. Hughes, PhD

US Navy Retired

Vietnam 1968-1969

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