The Party Dolls

The True, Tragic Story of Two Americans’ Attempted Escape from a 1969 Hanoi POW Camp

 In May 1969, two American prisoners of war escaped from a brutal North Vietnamese prison camp. Their story is one of incredible bravery against the longest of odds. It’s also one of bitter conflict. John Dramesi and Ed Atterberry escaped with help from their fellow prisoners, but that help was not given freely. The suffering it caused killed one man and brought many others a lifetime of pain.

THE PARTY DOLLS is the BIBA-award-winning* true Vietnam War story of a failed escape code-named “the Party,” recounted by the men who planned it via interviews conducted two decades ago. The book, by former Air Force journalist George Hayward, is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Listen to the story told by George and former POWs, including the late John Dramesi, on a 10-episode podcast.
*2021 Best Indie Book Award (BIBAs) for Nonfiction Military History

Click “play” below to listen to the book foreword read by the author.

Buy The Book

the party dolls book cover
buy from
order at barnes and noble

Join The List

Sign up for updates on the book’s availability and podcast episodes with George and guests. Note: we will not sell, share, or rent your email to anyone else. Your privacy is important to us and will be protected.

Follow On Social Media

Illustrations from the Book

Reprinted, by permission, from John M. McGrath, Prisoner of War: Six Years in Hanoi (Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, © 1975).


Following the Korean War, the United States military devised a Code of Conduct for servicemen to follow should they become prisoners of war (POWs).

The code’s six articles were meant to ensure that U.S. military men maintained unity and loyalty to each other and their nation during captivity. The mandates of those six articles would create and frame much of the conflict that drives this story. The code was revised after the Vietnam War because of the experiences of American POWs, including some of the men in this story.

Here is the Code of Conduct for Members of the United States Armed Forces as written during the Vietnam War.


Article I

I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Article III

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article IV

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Article V

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am bound to give only name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

Article VI

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.