Muhammad Ali Boxing in Vietnam for Freedom. “Ali bedazzled the Vietnam officials and people with his wit and his style performing magic tricks and sparring with youthful amateur boxers while in Hanoi.” Muhammad Ali the World’s Greatest Boxer traveled to Vietnam at the request of members of American POW/MIA families to help get a full and final accounting of hundreds of American Servicemen last known alive in captivity but who never returned after the war in Operation Homecoming in 1973. Some Still Survive!
Ali and a contingent of POW family members Championed the Cause of Freedom for American servicemen held prisoner in S.E. Asia with an historic visit to the People of Vietnam.
The mission to Build a Bridge of Friendship between peoples was sponsored by Arnold L. Beizer, President of Let Freedom Ring, Inc. and former U.S. Army trained infantryman who accompanied the Champ along with a party including Howard Bingham, Ali’s long time friend and official photographer, Carol Hrdlicka wife of captured USAF jet pilot Col. David Hrdlicka, Albro Lundy lII, son of captured and missing USAF Major Albro Lundy Jr. and Bill Bell, former member of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting of POWs/MIAs.
The Champ met in Hanoi with various Vietnam government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Tran Duc Luong and the Champ was well received. He was assisted by Vietnam representative Hoang Cong Thuy who served as the official Government guide during the visit.
During his time in the country, Ali sparred with, thrilled and entertained young Vietnamese boxing team members of the National Sports Committee. He showed them how to “Float Like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee.” The Champ and his group traveled through Vietnam visiting Hue, DaNang and Hanoi, meeting with officials responsible for POW/MIA affairs and with the excited people of Vietnam who admiringly followed after him wherever he went. Ali’s humanitarian mission drew international attention to the plight of American servicemen last known alive in captivity in S.E. Asia and gained promises from Vietnamese officials to assist American POW/MIA family members in getting updated information about their missing loved ones.