War hero delivers commencement address

December 2, 2008 | 1 Comment

Buies Creek, N.C.—Eugene “Red” McDaniel, decorated Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war, will deliver Campbell University’s 2008 winter commencement address on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. at the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center.

A Campbell alumnus, McDaniel was a standout in football, basketball and baseball, helping to lead the 1952 basketball team to a berth in the Junior College National Championship Tournament in Hutchison, Ks. He was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and named a Distinguished Alumnus of Campbell in 1977.

McDaniel demonstrated true heroism, however, when his A-6 Intruder aircraft was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. Taken prisoner by the Hanoi government, he was listed missing in action until 1970 when the North Vietnamese acknowledged that McDaniel was being held. Released in 1973, he wrote a book about his six years of captivity, “Scars and Stripes” and also provided POW/MIA material for the best-selling book, “Kiss the Boys Goodbye.” Upon his release from prison, McDaniel resumed active duty and went on to serve as commanding officer of two naval vessels, the USS Niagara Falls and the USS Lexington.

McDaniel retired in 1982, but continues to be passionate about national defense issues. He founded two non-profit organizations, the American Defense Foundation and the American Defense Institute, to raise awareness of these issues. A sought-after interview for television and radio, McDaniel’s media appearances include “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live,” “Phil Donahue,” “Crossfire,” CNN and C-SPAN.

This marks the first commencement service to be held in Campbell’s new $30 million John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center. Over 600 degrees are expected to be conferred.

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