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The POW Experience

Moderated by John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation, this distinguished panel featureS three American veterans who were prisoners of war in different conflicts. They discusS their experiences as POWs and their time in captivity. Sponsored by Hillshire Brands.

JOHN BORLING, a highly decorated retired Air Force Major General, served worldwide in high level command and staff positions. He graduated from the Air Force Academy, National War College, and was a White House Fellow. During the Vietnam War, he was shot down by ground fire. Seriously injured, he was captured while trying to evade and spent over 6 ½ years as a POW in Hanoi. Currently, he occupies leadership positions in multiple civic and business organizations.

DONALD E. CASEY volunteered for the Aviation Cadet program of the U.S. Army Air Corps and was called for active duty in 1943. After completing aerial navigation school, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and was awarded his silver navigator's wings. He flew as a navigator in the B-17 "Flying Fortress" bombers on 28 combat missions until his aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and he was captured by German soldiers. He spent six months in Stalag Luft III, the "Great Escape" prison camp in Zagan, Poland with 10,000 captured Allied flying officers. When he returned to the United States in June of 1945, he enrolled at Dartmouth College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. In 1952, Casey returned to his home city of Chicago where he worked for a large life and health insurance company for three years while attending law school at the University of Loyola. 

RHONDA CORNUM, Ph.D., M.D., began running a large cattle and thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky after her retirement from the U.S. Army. She serves as a consultant for health strategy and wellness initiatives in both governmental and private organizations. A biochemist and urologist, Cornum served in numerous positions over her 30 year career--most notably as the commander of the Landstuhl Medical Center from 2003-2005. During Operation Desert Storm, Cornum served as a flight surgeon with an Apache unit, sent on a search and rescue mission for a downed F-16 pilot. Her helicopter was shot down and five of the eight man crew died in the crash. Cornum was taken prisoner after sustaining injuries that broke both of her arms, a serious knee injury, and a gunshot wound. 

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