Orson Swindle was born in 1937 in Thomasville, Georgia, and grew up in Camilla, Georgia. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1957 and served until he received his commission in the Marines in August 1959. He entered Naval Flight School in February 1963 and was awarded his pilot wings in May 1964. Swindle was then assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, flying the F-8E Crusader. He began flying combat missions from DaNang AB in the Republic of Vietnam in February 1966 with VMF(AW) 235 and was shot down on his 205th combat mission on November 11, 1966. He was immediately captured and taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,305 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. Swindle returned to flying status after his return, flying the TA-4 and A-4M Skyhawk at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. He then attended graduate school at Florida State University, attaining an MBA degree in the Spring of 1975. Col Swindle was then assigned as a Financial Manager on the Commanding General's staff at the Marine Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia, where he served from 1975 until his retirement from the Marine Corps in November 1979. After retiring from the Marine Corps, Orson served in the Reagan Administration from 1981 to 1989, which included service as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. He was national spokesperson for Ross Perot's presidential campaign in 1992, and became the first national leader of United We Stand America. In 1993, he helped form Empower America. Orson was the Republican candidate for Congress in Hawaii's 1st Congressional District in 1994 and 1996. He served as a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission from December 1997 to June 2005, and later served on John McCain's Presidential Campaign in 2008.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 7 July to 30 July 1969. During a concentrated effort by prison authorities to secure propaganda statements and petitions to United States Government officials, Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain) Swindle displayed extreme courage and adherence to the principles of the Code of Conduct. He was subjected to harsh and brutal treatment to such an extent that his ability to survive was doubtful, but he persisted in his refusal to provide propaganda statements. Throughout his extended period of torture and privation, Lieutenant Colonel Swindle outwitted his captors in their efforts to exploit him and obtain information for their nefarious use. By his steadfast devotion to his country and his continued resistance against extreme odds, Lieutenant Colonel Swindle upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps, the Naval Service, and the United States Armed Forces.