Porter Halyburton was born in 1941 in Miami, Florida, but was raised in Davidson, North Carolina. He graduated from Davidson College in 1963 and entered the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight program on October 10, 1963, receiving his commission in February 1964. Halyburton was trained as an F-4B Phantom II Radar Intercept Officer, and then joined VF-84 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, in April 1965. He began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia with VF-84 flying off the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA-62) in May 1965, and was forced to eject over North Vietnam while flying his 75th combat mission on October 17, 1965. He was listed as Killed in Action. After spending 2,675 days in captivity, LCDR Halyburton was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was then assigned to the Naval ROTC detachment at Georgia Tech and completed his graduate work in journalism at the University of Georgia. CDR Halyburton then served at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1978 until his retirement from the Navy on May 31, 1984. After his retirement from the Navy, Porter Halyburton continued on the faculty of the Naval War College until April 2006, teaching Strategy and Policy, International Relations, Leadership and Ethics, and the Military Code of Conduct. He is married to the former Marty Duerson and they have three children.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. On 15 June 1966, his captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.