On Aug. 5, 1964, U.S naval pilot Everett Alvarez Jr. was shot down over the Gulf of Tokin. Becoming the first POW of the Vietnam War, Alvarez was held prisoner for almost nine years, making him the longest held captive. In February 1973, he was released, returning to the U.S. a highly decorated war hero. Continuing his military career, Alvarez was appointed assistant program manager for the Navy’s Air Systems Command. He served as the deputy director of the Peace Corps and then deputy administrator of the Veteran’s Administration, overseeing 700 facilities. In 1982, for his dedicated service to the U.S., Alvarez was chosen to speak when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.