Lt. Colonel Jay R. Jensen\'s "Six Years In Hell"


Brandon Emerson
AP American History
Period five
Due 10/21/96


The book I have chosen to read for this review is one entitled
"SIX YEARS IN HELL." It is a book written by one Lt. Colonel Jay R. Jensen in a
first person manor. He was a military pilot who flew over Vietnam and was
captured and taken as a POW. This book covers his time in the military before
hand describing the daily procedures etc. of his military life.

The author graduated from Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah in
1949. He then joined The Utah Air National Guard during the Korean war. Mr.
Jensen was on active duty for 20 months, after which he attended Brigham Young
University. He graduated with a B.S. degree in Accounting and majors in Banking
and Finance. After college he obtained the rank of cadet Colonel in the Air
Force ROTC. Lt. Colonel Jensen was well decorated after his retirement in 1978
that concluded 28 years of service. His decorations included: Two Silver Stars,
Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with V for Valor, Air Medal, two Purple Hearts,
Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two Oak Leaf
Clusters, POW Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Oak
Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with 14 Bronze Campaign Medals, Air Force
Longevity Award (for over 24 years), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hour Glass
Device (for 20 years), Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Vietnam Cross for
Gallantry with Device, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. All these
decorations and the time spent in the military I believe more than present his
qualifications for writing this book.

This book that he was so qualified to write I must bend to say
was rather well written. The author took time to explain everything
individually and even those things that seem quite trivial were given careful
explanation. If there was something that the author felt was not apparent or
was not to be taken at face value he footnoted it at the bottom of the page.
These footnotes were especially helpful for those of us readers who may not be
that "militarily inclined." I particularly enjoyed the story of Roscoe the
base\'s mascot which was probably one of the longest examples of footnoting
throughout the book.

The book is written from the perspective of the author at the
time he experienced it. The descriptions are so well written that one can
almost see or relate to what is being described, but as time progresses you can
tell the author\'s moods change as the mode of descriptions differs. The point
of this book was obviously to show the reader a day-by-day look at the life of a
military citizen while serving, during capture, and at the end of captivity.
Through his accurate descriptions the author conquers this point quite well.
The descriptions of the people are so well written that the reader actually
"gets to know" that person. Although physical features are scarcely covered
just by the details given of the type and speech of a person one can easily
relate that person to somebody they know which makes the reading much smoother
as the story progresses.

Lt. Colonel Jensen was stationed for attack in Vietnam and as
the superstition goes the 13th mission was to be his unlucky one. As they
suited up and took off on their 13th mission the only thoughts in their minds
were reaching their 100th mission so that they could leave and go home.

During his flight he was hit by an SAM (Surface to Air Missile)
and taken down only a short distance from the coastline. He was immediately
captured by some locals and beaten and battered. After his immediate reception,
he was taken by some people he describes as, "Quasi-Military Men" and put in a
hut. He was often tortured and after a refusal to say anything more than his
Name, Rank, and Serial Number he tortured again and when it became apparent that
he was not going to say any more they took him on a long journey to Hanoi where
he would stay at the "Hanoi Hilton" which was an old French prison. The "V"
(Viet Cong) referred to it as Hoa Loa meaning "Hell Hole." He was later moved
from Hoa Loa and into a place called the ZOO, a more comfortable and welcoming
camp than the last, and was taken through many more moves after that. The rest
of the story is told describing his tribulations at the "Hanoi Hilton" and