Sơn Tây prison camp

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Sơn Tây prison camp
Sơn Tây prison camp in late 1970
Coordinates21°08′41″N 105°29′45″E / 21.1446°N 105.4958°E / 21.1446; 105.4958 (Sơn Tây prison camp)
Site information
Controlled byPeople's Army of Vietnam
Site history
In use1960s-1970, 1975
Battles/warsSơn Tây raid

The Sơn Tây prison camp was a POW camp operated by North Vietnam near Sơn Tây and approximately 23 miles (37 km) west of Hanoi in the late 1960s through late 1970 and again in 1975. About 65 US prisoners of war were held there during the middle of the Vietnam War. It was later used to house foreigners captured in South Vietnam during the 1975 Spring Offensive.

Operation Ivory Coast[edit]

On 21 November 1970, a US military force raided the camp in an attempt to rescue US POWs, however, the camp was found to have no POWs, as they had been secretly moved several months previously.[1]


In April/May 1975, the camp was returned to use when CIA agent James Lewis was brought here after being captured at Phan Rang Air Base on 16 April 1975 during the People's Army of Vietnam Spring Offensive.[2] Lewis was joined several months later by 13 others including Paul Struharik, an AID official captured at Ban Me Thuot, Australian journalist Peter Whitlock, graduate student Jay Scarborough and missionaries John and Carolyn Miller and their family. On 30 October 1975 the prisoners were transported by a UN-chartered C-47 to Vientiane, Laos and then on to Bangkok, Thailand.[2]:270[3]

In the Media[edit]

The Son Tay Prison camp is not (as some gamers have stated) the basis for the Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer map, "Hanoi". Rather, that "Hanoi" map is based on Hoa Lo, known as the Hanoi Hilton.


  1. ^ Gargus, John (2007). The Son Tay Raid: American POWs in Vietnam Were Not Forgotten. Texas A&M University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-1585446223.
  2. ^ a b Gup, Ted (2007). The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 268. ISBN 9780307428196.
  3. ^ "14 CAPTIVES FREED BY VIETNAM REDS". New York Times. 31 October 1975. Retrieved 22 September 2016.