The new season of "Locked Up Abroad" kicks off with the account of Vietnam POW Ernie Brace and the friendship formed with fellow captive POW Senator John McCain. "Locked Up Abroad" returns on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 (9 p.m. ET/PT), according to a March 20 press release from National Geographic Channel.
Ernie Brace was the longest POW in the history of Vietnam. In "Locked Up Abroad," Brace describes the secret communication at the "Hanoi Hilton."
“[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
As the longest POW in Vietnam history, Ernie Brace likely endured more than any other POW during the war. He was held as a prisoner of war for almost eight years, from May 1965 to March 1973. During his harrowing imprisonment, he faced capture, starvation, sickness, torture, solitude, desperation and more.
Brace has been called resilient, impressive., a survivor and true American hero by Sen. John McCain, who became lifelong friends with him during his own five-year internment in Vietnam.
The ninth season of "Locked Up Abroad" is being kicked off with Brace’s harrowing firsthand account of captivity. 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.
Lt Cmdr. McCain had spent nearly a year in solitary confinement and was desperate for human contact. The two Americans could not see eachother, but they were able to secretly tap messages through the prison wall. They took the risk, even though they would be beaten if caught communicating.
After sharing everything imaginable while in prison, they did not meet face to face until they were at a White House reception held by President Nixon in May, 1973. 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.”
"Locked Up Abroad" takes viewers inside the horrific world of capture, incarceration and terror far away from home with intimate personal interviews and dramatic reenactments. This season, we’ll hear the firsthand accounts not only of those who were locked up but also of those who were directly part of the story, such as the undercover agent compiling the evidence against the suspect or the person making the drug dealing offers.
This season's episodes of "Locked Up Abroad" include stories of Californian surfers arrested in Mexico after the shipwreck of their marijuana-filled yacht, who attempt to dig their way out of prison; a reptile smuggler who travels to Belize to avoid U.S. prosecution but is deported back home; and an English ecstasy dealer living the high life until he is caught by American police.