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.

User: Carpenter, Allen

Place Made: Viet Nam: North Vietnam

Subject: POWsRelated Event: Vietnam WarPostwar United States


See more items in: Military and Society: Armed Forces History, Military, Military, ThinkFinity

Exhibition: Price of Freedom

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2004.0083.02Accession Number: 2004.0083Catalog Number: 2004.0083.02

Object Name: top, pajama

Physical Description: cotton (overall material)Measurements: overall: 31 in x 33 1/2 in; 78.74 cm x 85.09 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-6776-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1273004

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