News Search

Former Viet NAM POW speaks to 178th Wing

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Le
  • 178th Wing Public Affairs
The 178th Wing hosted retired Air Force Capt. and motivational speaker Guy D. Gruters at Springfield Air National Guard Base, Springfield, Ohio, Sept. 11.

Gruters, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, used stories from his time being a POW in Vietnam to stress the importance of teamwork, communication, positive thinking and leadership in any organization.

Gruters said teamwork in the military during the Vietnam War helped the U.S. to win many battles and to limit the loss of American lives.

Gruters also said communication is key for any team's success and that communication helped him and other POWs survived the harsh condition in the prison camp of North Vietnam.

On leadership, Gruters said leaders should take care of their subordinates.

"Anything that goes right, you make sure that you give credits to as many of your people as you possibly can," said Gruters. "Anything that goes wrong with any part of the organization you take all responsibilities."

Airmen attending the event found the information shared very valuable.

"I like it when he said leaders need to take responsibilities for thing that have gone wrong and also to give out the attention where it's needed when good things happen," said Airman Seth Robert Scott, a network administrator with the 178th Communication Flight. "I think that helps increase the tight bond between subordinates and the people above them."

"I really appreciate how he tied in what he learned (during captivity) to how we do things here," said SSgt. Josiah Daniel Watson, a cybersecurity specialist with the 178th Communications Flight. "I especially liked what he said about the negative effects of complaining and things like that have on our spirit."

Gruters, a forward air controller during the Vietnam War before his plane was shot down in December 1967 in North Vietnam, spent five and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam. He was released in March 1973.