Delray Beach POW Shared Cell With McCain
Cellmate Vouches For Republican Presidential Nominee’s Character
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Among the millions who tuned in to presidential nominee John McCain’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night was a Delray Beach man who once shared a cell with the Arizona senator when they were prisoners of war during Vietnam.
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mel Pollack spent months holed up in a cell next to McCain. Both were POWs at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” in North Vietnam.
Only a brick wall separated them.
“John was on one side, I was on the other side and for a number of months we communicated either with the tap code or primarily talking to each other through the wall by using those metal drinking cups they gave us,” Pollack told WPBF News 25 reporter Brian Albert.
Pollack’s F4 Phantom was gunned down in July 1967. He spent almost six years in prison, relying on other prisoners like McCain to keep him strong.
“This is all we have,” Pollack said. “We have each other. We rely on each other. We trust each other … and day after day, year after year of sitting down like this, you share things. You share your whole life.”
Pollack didn’t meet face to face with McCain until shortly before they were freed as part of a large-scale prisoner release in 1973. The two men kept in touch, even after McCain pursued a career in politics.
But Pollack admitted their talks rarely turn to their time together as POWs.
“There’s too much going on in the present to talk about ancient history,” he said.
Pollack doesn’t talk much politics, either. He wouldn’t reveal if he would vote for his old cellmate, but Pollack does vouch for McCain’s vaunted hero status.
“I watched him fend them off with his crutches and he still turned down the chance to come home early,” Pollack said. “ think that speaks for his character. He upheld the code of conduct of a U.S. military fighting person.”
all i can say is WOW.