US

Civilian POW Ernest Brace, held in cell next to John McCain in Vietnam, dies in Oregon at 83

  • FILE - In this March 31, 1973, file photo, a boy places a Lei over the head of Ernest Brace before the returned POW departs for the U.S. from Tokyo, Japan.  Brace, who was captured flying supplies to a base in Laos for the CIA during the Vietnam War and spent more than a year in the Hanoi Hilton tapping code through a wall to Sen. John McCain, has died Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore., his family said. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this March 31, 1973, file photo, a boy places a Lei over the head of Ernest Brace before the returned POW departs for the U.S. from Tokyo, Japan. Brace, who was captured flying supplies to a base in Laos for the CIA during the Vietnam War and spent more than a year in the Hanoi Hilton tapping code through a wall to Sen. John McCain, has died Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore., his family said. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 31, 1973, file photo, Ernest Brace, a pilot from Atlanta, Ga., talks to the media after arriving at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Brace, who was captured flying supplies to a base in Laos for the CIA during the Vietnam War and spent more than a year in the Hanoi Hilton tapping code through a wall to Sen. John McCain, has died Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore., his family said. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this March 31, 1973, file photo, Ernest Brace, a pilot from Atlanta, Ga., talks to the media after arriving at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Brace, who was captured flying supplies to a base in Laos for the CIA during the Vietnam War and spent more than a year in the Hanoi Hilton tapping code through a wall to Sen. John McCain, has died Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore., his family said. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 28, 1973, file photo, Adm. Noel Gayler, right, welcomes Ernest G. Brave on his arrival in Tokyo from Hanoi. Brace, who was captured flying supplies to a base in Laos for the CIA during the Vietnam War and spent more than a year in the Hanoi Hilton tapping code through a wall to Sen. John McCain, has died Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore., his family said. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this March 28, 1973, file photo, Adm. Noel Gayler, right, welcomes Ernest G. Brave on his arrival in Tokyo from Hanoi. Brace, who was captured flying supplies to a base in Laos for the CIA during the Vietnam War and spent more than a year in the Hanoi Hilton tapping code through a wall to Sen. John McCain, has died Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore., his family said. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)  (The Associated Press)

Family members say Ernest Brace, a civilian who was captured during the Vietnam War while flying supplies for the CIA and tapped code through a wall to fellow prisoner John McCain, has died. He was 83.

His family said he died of a pulmonary embolism on Friday in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where he retired in 1989.

A Marine Corps pilot who won a Distinguished Flying Cross in the Korean War, Brace was later court martialed for leaving the scene of a training flight crash. He went on to fly helicopters for a company under contract to the Central Intelligence Agency.

After his capture in 1965, he was held 3 1/2 years in a bamboo cage by North Vietnamese soldiers before being transferred to the infamous Hanoi Hilton, where he was put in a cell was next McCain, now a U.S. senator from Arizona.