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New Season Of Locked Up Abroad Kicks Off With Harrowing Vietnam POW Account Of Ernie Brace And Friendship Formed With Fellow Captive Sen. John McCain

Exclusive First: McCain and Brace — the Longest POW in Vietnam History — Describe the Secret Communication at the "Hanoi Hilton" Which Led to Life-Changing Bond

"[Brace's] story should be told to every American, about what love of country, about love of one's fellow prisoners and faith in God is all about. I don't know of a more compelling story that carries those lessons."  – Senator John McCain

Locked Up Abroad Premieres Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 9 PM ET/PT on National Geographic Channel

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the longest POW in Vietnam history, Ernie Brace likely endured more than any other POW during the war. Held for almost eight years — from May 1965 to March 1973 — he faced capture, starvation, sickness, torture, solitude, desperation and more. Call him resilient and impressive. A survivor and true American hero. So says Sen. John McCain, who became lifelong friends with him during his own five-year internment in Vietnam.

Brace's harrowing firsthand account of captivity kicks off the ninth season of National Geographic Channel's critically acclaimed international hit series Locked Up Abroad on Wednesday, April 17, at 9 p.m. ET/PT (go to natgeotv.com/lockedupabroad and Twitter at https://twitter.com/NGC_PR). Details of his time as a POW include being marched more than 100 miles through harsh jungles, chained in a bamboo cage 24/7, attempting several futile escapes with subsequent beatings and being buried alive up to his neck.

After three-and-a-half years, Brace was transported from the Southeast Asian jungles to the infamous prison in Vietnam dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton," and finally heard the voice of another American in the next cell: Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, a Navy bomber pilot shot down over Hanoi.

McCain had spent nearly a year in solitary confinement and was desperate for human contact. Though they couldn't see each other, McCain and Brace began tapping messages secretly through the wall. If they were caught communicating, it was an instant beating, but they took the risk and soon shared everything imaginable. However, it wasn't until May 1973, just months after they were released and attending a White House reception held by President Nixon, that they would — at long last — meet face-to-face. McCain recounts, "A guy came up to me and I looked at him and he said, 'I'm Ernie Brace.' I went 'Wow.' It was such an emotional moment for me."

In this first exclusive in-depth interview, McCain and Brace describe their incredible stories, which led to a lifelong friendship. "[Ernie's] is an amazing survival story," says McCain, "an amazing story of heroism ... it should be told to every American."

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