Alvin Vogtle

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Alvin Ward Vogtle (October 21, 1918 – April 10, 1994) was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was nicknamed "Sammy from Alabamy", in reference to his home state of Alabama. Vogtle was the inspiration for the POW character portrayed by Steve McQueen in the movie The Great Escape.[1] A Spitfire pilot in World War II, Vogtle was in a squadron that ran out of fuel over Algeria and captured, then moved to prison camps in Germany. He spent three years at camps including Stalag Luft III, Dulag Luft, Offlag XXI-B, Sagan, Nuremberg and Moosburg. He made five escape attempts and on the sixth try made it out to Switzerland in March 1945.

In May 1939, he was awarded a bachelor's degree in science and literature from Auburn University and later studied law at the University of Alabama and the University of Virginia. He had seven children. He was employed at Alabama Power, and rose through the ranks to become President and Chairman of the Board of Southern Company, one of the largest electric utility holding companies in the nation. Southern Company named a nuclear power plant in eastern Georgia the "Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant" in his honor.

Vogtle retired to Florida in 1983. He died April 10, 1994 of heart failure.[2]


  1. ^ Richard Munson (1985), The power makers, p. 31 
  2. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang. "Alvin Ward Vogtle Jr., 75, Dies; Led Big Power Supplier in South". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2012.