Hanoi Hilton "Pajamas"

Physical Description
Top and bottom of red-and-white-striped cloth which quickly faded to the pinkish-gray color. Initials "CAC" stenciled on patch.
Specific History
These two-toned, "pink" striped "pajamas" were issued to and worn by Commander Allan "Al" Carpenter, USN, a prisoner of war from November 1, 1966, to March 4, 1973. He was flying an A4E Skyhawk with squadron VA-72. His Vietnamese name "CAC" is stenciled on the white aiming patch on the pajamas.
General History
Americans were held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam, but also in Cambodia, China, Laos, and South Vietnam.
From 1961 to 1973, the North Vietnamese and Vietcong held hundreds of Americans captive. In North Vietnam alone, more than a dozen prisons were scattered in and around the capital city of Hanoi. American POWs gave them nicknames: Alcatraz, Briarpatch, Dirty Bird, the Hanoi Hilton, the Zoo. Conditions were appalling; food was watery soup and bread, prisoners were variously isolated, starved, beaten, tortured—for countless hours—and paraded in anti-American propaganda. "It's easy to die but hard to live," a prison guard told one new arrival, "and we'll show you just how hard it is to live."
American prisoners were held at the Hoa Lo prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton” from August 11, 1964 to March 28, 1973. The French completed construction of this prison in 1901.
Carpenter, Allen
Place Made
Viet Nam: North Vietnam
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
overall: 31 in x 33 1/2 in; 78.74 cm x 85.09 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
related event
Vietnam War
Postwar United States
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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