Former POW

Throughout the war, several Americans have been taken as prisoners of war in Iraq. One Wiregrass resident and former POW said he empathizes with those soldiers.

Daniel Stamaris was captured for eight days during Operation Desert Storm after his plane was shot down by Iraqis.

He sustained multiple leg and pelvis fractures from the crash, but the worse was yet to come. The enemy searched him, stole his safety vest and left him to die.

After a couple of days, he was found by more Iraqi soldiers. They left his wounds untreated and subjected him to severe physical and mental abuse.

Another POW from Northwest Florida, Bill Robinson spent nearly seven and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam.

Robinson has had a hard time turning off the television set in his Defuniak Springs home. Word of captured American service personnel has brought back some painful memories.

Robinson has the distinction of being the longest held American enlisted serviceman in our nation's history. He spent seven and a half years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. During that time, he got to know fellow prisoners and future senators Jeremiah Denton of Alabama and John McCain of Arizona.

Robinson said pictures of the POW's on Arab television may be bad, but, may help save their lives.

Unlike Vietnam, Robinson approves how President Bush and the military leaders are running the war in Iraq. He said the generals are being allowed to use weapons without politicians restraining their actions.