04/15/13 — Stiles program tickets gone

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Stiles program tickets gone

By From staff reports
Published in News on April 15, 2013 1:46 PM

A presentation by Vietnam veteran John Stiles on Tuesday night has been sold out, but tickets are still available for other events sponsored by the Wayne Community College Foundation.

The retired Air Force lieutenant colonel was shot down during the war but escaped capture and was eventually rescued by the CIA.

This week, for the first time publicly, he will share his story.

"Escape from Behind Enemy Lines: The John Stiles Story" will be the subject of the program Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Moffatt Auditorium.

"You have to come and find out how he got out," said Jack Kannan, executive director of the Foundation at Wayne Community College, which is sponsoring the event.

Kannan said he became intrigued by Stiles' story when it was included on a news report in 2010.

"It started with the CBS program, '60 Minutes,' when John Stiles was on there telling his story about reconciliation and it grew from there," Kannan said.

The televised story featured the North Vietnamese fighter pilot who shot down Stiles' plane and then was later shot down in April 1972 by Brigadier Gen. Dan Cherry. On the "60 Minutes" episode, Cherry and Stiles shared their experiences from the Vietnam War and how the three aviators ultimately came to be reunited 35 years later.

Stiles and Cherry will be featured in a second program at the college, on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. "My Enemy, My Friend" will also require a free ticket, issued through the Foundation office. They may be obtained by calling 919-739-7017.

The programs coincide with one of the biggest events to come to the area in a long time -- bringing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica to the WCC campus.

The Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition and the Foundation are presenting "The Wall That Heals" Tuesday through the weekend. The Wall will form a centerpiece for activities honoring Vietnam veterans and all who serve in the military.