WWII, Korea and Vietnam POWs share experiences at Clemson Univ.


CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) — Three veterans captured in separate wars discussed their experiences of survival at Clemson University.

The veterans – now ages 80 to 101 – are Clemson graduates who returned to work at their alma mater following service to country.

Between them, they endured 4,279 days of captivity. 

Col. Ben Skardon survived the Bataan Death March before spending 1,255 days in Japanese POW camps in World War II, according to Clemson. 

1st Lt. Bill Funchess’ entire platoon was killed or captured by the North Korean Army. Funchess survived 1,038 days as a prisoner.

F-4 Phantom pilot Col. Bill Austin was shot down on his 81st combat flight over North Vietnam before 1,986 days of internment.

Despite the trials each man overcame, they remain humble. 

“We’re survivors, that’s essentially it. We’re not heroes. We’re survivors,” Col. Austin said. 

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