The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival office has announced that Eugene B. "Red" McDaniel, retired captain of the United States Navy will be featured speaker at the festival Prayer Brunch at 9:30 a.m. May 3.
McDaniel was a prisoner of war for six years after being shot down while flying his A-6 intruder aircraft on May 19, 1967. He was listed as missing in action for three years before being confirmed as a POW. He was released March 4, 1973 after the Vietnam cease-fire.
The author of "Scars and Stripes," which tells of his six years in a communist prison, McDaniel holds the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest award for bravery, and two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars with Combat "V" and two Purple Hearts.
After returned from Vietnam, McDaniel resumed active duty and served as commanding officer of the USS Niagara Falls and as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. He was also director of the Navy/Marine Corps. liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives before retiring from the Navy in 1982. Since retiring, he founded the American Defense Institute, a non-profit organization to increase public awareness of the need for a strong national defense, the release said. He and his wife Dorothy live in Alexandria and have three grown children, nine grandchildren and a great-grandson.
The Prayer Brunch has sold out every year since it started in 2000, according to a press release from the festival office. Festival officials expect this year to follow tradition, with 85 percent of tickets already sold, and urges those interested not to delay their purchase.
Presented by Knouse Foods, the Prayer Brunch will be at Fellowship Bible Church,
3217 State Route 628, Winchester.