Navy Museum Development Foundation Announces the Board of Directors Appointment of U.S. Navy Cmdr. Everett Alvarez, Jr.

Everett Alvarez, Jr.

Best known to the public as the first American aviator shot down and detained for over eight years during the Vietnam War

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, August 22, 2023/ — The national Navy Museum Development Foundation announced today the appointment of U.S. Navy Cmdr. Everett Alvarez, Jr. (Ret.) to the Board of Directors.

“It is an honor to be invited onto the Board of Directors for NMDF,” said Alvarez. “I believe that it is crucial to remember the service and sacrifice of America’s Navy for our Sailors, and the American public.”

Alvarez is a retired United States Navy officer who endured one of the longest periods as a prisoner of war in U.S. military history. Alvarez was the first U.S. pilot to be shot down and detained during the Vietnam War and spent over eight years in captivity, making him the second longest-held U.S. POW.

Alvarez is married to Thomasine Ilyas and has two children. In 2004, Alvarez founded Alvarez LLC. He has co-authored two books, writing of his prisoner of war experiences in Chained Eagle and Code of Conduct.

Alvarez served in program management at the Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C., until his retirement from the Navy in 1980. In April 1981, President Reagan nominated Alvarez as Deputy Director of the Peace Corps; he was confirmed by the Senate in August 1981.

President Reagan nominated him to be Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration in July 1982; he was confirmed by the Senate and assumed his post in August of that year.

A city park and two housing projects in California and Texas have been named in honor of him. In January 1987, his hometown of Salinas named a new high school (built in 1994) in his honor. In March 1998, he was awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Medal of Honor. The United States Congress named a Rockville, Md. post office in his honor in September 2000.

In 2008, Alvarez was selected and honored by the “Council for Excellence in Government” as one of the 25 greatest public servants, over the past 25 years, for his remarkable service to our nation. In November 2008, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences named the Board of Regents meeting center in honor of his service to the University and to military medicine.

In January 2010, Alvarez was awarded the Richard Nixon Library Foundation’s first “American Hero” award for a lifetime of service to our nation. And in September 2012, Alvarez was awarded the prestigious Lone Sailor Award, presented by the Navy Memorial Foundation in Washington D.C.

Alvarez holds numerous military decorations, including the Silver Star Medal, two Legions of Merit with “V” devices, two Bronze Star Medals with “V” devices, Distinguished Flying Cross Medal, and two Purple Heart Medals.

About NMDF

The mission of the Navy Museum Development Foundation is to perpetuate the heritage of the United States Navy by supporting and raising funds for the establishment of a National Museum of the United States Navy in Washington, D.C. NMDF is the sole fundraising arm for the purpose of standing up the new museum. With the full support and energetic cooperation of the senior leadership of the U.S. Navy, we are gathering with senior Navy stakeholders to launch the effort to build a new larger, more modern, and more accessible Museum. Visit for more information.

Kalen Arreola
Navy Museum Development Foundation
+1 844-244-5033 ext. 7
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