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
March 20, 2013
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the longest POW in
likely endured more than any other POW during the war. Held for almost eight years — from
— he faced capture, starvation, sickness, torture, solitude, desperation and more. Call him resilient and impressive. A survivor and true American hero. So says Sen.
, who became lifelong friends with him during his own five-year internment in
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
Wednesday, April 17
9 p.m. ET
/PT (go to
and Twitter at
). 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
dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton," and finally heard the voice of another American in the next cell: Lt. Cmdr.
, a Navy bomber pilot shot down over
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
, 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
.' 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."