Accession Number : ADA306962

Title :   Captivity and Culture: Insights from the Desert Storm Prisoner of War Experience.

Descriptive Note : Master's thesis,

Corporate Author : NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI

Personal Author(s) : Anderson, Mary A.

PDF Url : ADA306962

Report Date : MAR 1996

Pagination or Media Count : 66

Abstract : A study was performed for the purpose of utilizing the hard won insights of the Desert Storm POWs to enhance training programs which promote honorable survival as a prisoner of war. The paper begins with a brief historical overview of encounters of American prisoners of war (POWs) with opposing cultures. The history provides a background for the analysis of a survey completed by the Desert Storm POWs which addresses the question, 'Does knowledge of the opposing culture improve adaptability and survivability for a prisoner of war?' The 'culture of captivity' is examined and the characteristics of capture shock and long-term captivity are discussed. The observations and opinions of Americans who were captives in Iraq are then explored. Of the twenty-one Desert Storm POWs, seventeen (81%) offered their opinions on the value of various forms of cultural training as well as the usefulness of survival training that they had received prior to captivity. In a chapter devoted to cultural training, the linkage between Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training and cultural training is discussed. Suggestions are made for making cultural training more widely available in a way that would make it relevant, interesting and affordable. Though the small size of the Desert Storm POW group limits the scope and the strength of conclusions that can be unequivocally supported by this survey analysis, two important findings are highlighted. First, knowledge of the culture of an enemy appears to offer survival benefits for a prisoner of war. The degree of benefit that can be derived from cultural knowledge varies inversely with the intensity of the situation that the captive is experiencing. Cultural knowledge is of greater survival benefit during the long-term phase of captivity rather than during the initial period of capture shock.

Descriptors :   *STRESS(PSYCHOLOGY), *PRISONERS OF WAR, *BRAINWASHING, MILITARY OPERATIONS, MILITARY HISTORY, INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, SURVIVABILITY, SURVEYS, MILITARY TRAINING, EVASION, CULTURE, VIETNAM, PRISONS.

Subject Categories : Sociology and Law
      Psychology
      Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE