Murphy Neal Jones, a Baton Rouge native who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, will speak at the Acacia Shriners’ seventh annual Red Fez Banquet on Oct. 15.
Advocate publisher John Georges, Baton Rouge car dealer Eric Lane and art consultant G. Andrew Ruth also will be recognized at the event, which raises funds for Shrine projects.
Jones was a star football player at Baton Rouge High School and attended Tulane University on a football scholarship. He received an Air Force commission upon his graduation from Tulane in 1960 and was on his third tour of duty in the Vietnam War when he was shot down on a bombing mission on June 29, 1966. He bailed out only 300 feet from the ground, landing hard and snapping his upper left arm and sustaining compression fractures of three vertebrae, torn cartilage in his left knee and shrapnel in his right leg.
Imprisoned in the infamous Hoa Lo Central Prison, known by its American nickname, the “Hanoi Hilton,” he often was tortured until his release on Feb. 12, 1973. He was awarded the Silver Star for his resistance to captors’ demands for information or propaganda statements, and he retired as an Air Force colonel in 1981. Jones and his wife, the former Glenda Blythe, of Baton Rouge, live in Covington.
Tickets are $50 for the banquet, which will be held at the Acacia Shrine Center, 7991 S. Commerce Ave., in Baton Rouge. Doors open at 5 p.m., with a social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Dress is casual. For tickets or information, call Linda, (225) 926-4814, or Gerard, (225) 926-0250.