Even though the exact number of prisoners of war during the Vietnam conflict is still unknown, the North Vietnamese government acknowledged having 591 American captives at the end of the war. The Paris Peace Accords, which took place in January 1973, resulted in the release of the prisoners. However, studies by experts have uncovered proof that at least 30 Americans were working in Laos as part of a prison road crew during the 1980s.
The Hoa Lo prison, a facility in the city of Hanoi nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton, was the jail of the majority of American prisoners.. According to reports from released prisoners of war, the North Vietnamese subjected American detainees to constant physical abuse and starvation. While there are records of American POWs attempting to escape, none made it to safety.
One famous American POW is John McCain, a Republican Senator for the state of Arizona. Senator McCain was a naval aviator who fell into North Vietnamese hands after his A-4 aircraft was downed. Detained for over five years, he endured torture and was near the edge of suicide.
As of 2003, the United States government continued spending over $100 million per year in governmental resources to search for traces of missing Americans in Vietnam and other foreign wars.