Other Notable Deaths


August 02, 2009


Co-author of book on POWs

Stuart I. Rochester, chief historian of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the co-author of a book many consider the definitive account of American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia, died of melanoma Wednesday at his home in Burtonsville.

Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973 (1998) was written with Frederick T. Kiley, a retired Air Force colonel and teacher at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In harrowing detail, the 720-page volume tells the story of hundreds of American captives, among them future Sen. John McCain, former Alabama Republican Sen. Jeremiah Denton and Medal of Honor recipients George "Bud" Day and Humbert "Rocky" Versace. The book helped make the case that led to the 2002 posthumous award of the Medal of Honor to Mr. Versace, who was executed by his North Vietnamese captors in 1965.

Vice Adm. James Stockdale, who died in 2005 and was the highest-ranking naval officer held captive during the war, called Honor Bound "the definitive book on the POW experience" and described it as "a monumental achievement, not only in its depth and breadth of treatment but in its honesty and accuracy."

Dr. Rochester was born in Baltimore, where his father was a pharmacist and his mother a schoolteacher. After graduating from Loyola College, he earned a master's degree and doctorate in history from the University of Virginia. He taught at Loyola in the 1970s.

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