In February 1966, while flying combat missions over North Vietnam, Captain Gerald Coffee's RA5-C reconnaissance jet was downed by enemy fire. He parachuted safely from his plane but was captured immediately and spent the next seven years as a Prisoner of War in the Communist prisons of that country. After his repatriation in February 1973, Captain Coffee returned to operation duties and later retired from active duty in the Navy after 28 years of service.
His military decorations include the Silver Star, two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal, two Purple Hearts, and the Vietnam Service Medal with 13 stars. Since his retirement from the U.S. Navy, Captain Coffee has garnered a reputation as one of the nation's top speakers, enrapturing audiences with his stories of strength, perseverance and faith that allowed him to not only survive but thrive. Drawing from his unique life experiences and sharing his compelling insights and message, Captain Coffee leaves audiences energized, inspired and empowered to make positive change in their own lives.