AMERICANS IDENTIFIED: There are now 1,681 Americans listed by the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) as missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. Just prior to and since the League’s 42nd Annual Meeting, the following US personnel were named as having been recovered and accounted-for, as follows:
PFC Wayne Bibbs, USA, IL, KIA/BNR 6/11/72, SVN, RR 7/29/08, ID 2/7/11
Col Leo S. Boston, USAF, CO, MIA 4/20/66, NVN, RR 4/26/00, ID 4/4/11
LCDR Edward J. Broms, Jr., USN, PA, MIA 8/1/68, NVN, RR 8/4/93, ID 9/12/11
SFC William T. Brown, USA, CA, MIA 11/2/69, SVN, RR 4/13/10, ID 1/6/11
Maj Thomas E. Clark, USAF, PA, MIA 2/8/69, LA, RR 11/16/05; ID 6/3/11
CAPT Arnold E. Holm, Jr., USA, CT, KIA/BNR 6/11/72, SVN, RR 7/29/08, ID 2/7/11
Maj Bruce E. Lawrence, USAF, NJ, MIA 7/5/68, NVN, RR 6/26/98, ID 6/3/11
Col Gilbert S. Palmer, Jr., USAF, AL, MIA 2/27/68, LA, RR 11/17/09, ID 5/19/11
SP4 Marvin F. Phillips, USA, KIA/BNR 9/26/66, SVN, RR 6/24/10, ID 7/20/11
Maj Thomas E. Reitmann, USAF, MN, MIA 12/1/65, NVN, RR 2/12/10, ID 5/2/11
Lt Col Edward D. Silver, USAF, OR, MIA 7/5/68, NVN, RR 6/26/98, ID 5/31/11
SP4 Robin R. Yeakley, USA, IN, KIA/BNR 6/11/72, SVN, RR 7/29/08, ID 2/7/11
The number of Americans returned and identified since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is now 902; another 63 US personnel, recovered post-incident and identified before the end of the war, bring the total to 965. Of the 1,681 unreturned American veterans from the Vietnam War, our POW/MIAs, 90% were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control: Vietnam – 1,290 (VN-472, VS-818); Laos – 326; Cambodia – 58; Peoples Republic of China territorial waters – 7. More than 450 were over-water losses.
ACCOUNTING COOPERATION: On September 9th, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) hosted a military arrival ceremony at the flight line on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to honor remains of fallen US personnel from the Vietnam War who are yet to be identified. The remains were recovered in Laos and Vietnam during joint recovery missions. JPAC’s Underwater Recovery Team (URT) recently suspended operations off the coast of Vietnam and redeployed to Hawaii. Some 35 US personnel concluded field operations in Vietnam, testing a new recovery process. Vietnamese Recovery Teams (VRTs) handle all logistics requirements and advance preparation, before being joined by a smaller number of US personnel. This new recovery construct is viewed as a way to expand the pace and scope of field operations, called for by Vietnam since the League Delegation’s visit in March 2009. Initial reports indicate the process is working well; however, increased accountability will determine success.
JPAC-led technical talks were held September 28th in Hanoi. The prior technical talks were held in Hanoi April 27th, the first such discussions since the League Delegation in March, 2011. Despite League provision of an archival research concept paper and coordination in advance with US officials, the April working-level talks were poorly planned and badly implemented. Predictably, the response was equally mediocre. The recent talks were better planned and, hopefully, remedied some of the earlier confusion. Agreement was reached on working-level exchanges that may finally achieve results long sought, with specialists engaging in conversations with counterpart Vietnamese officials to explore ways to renew multi-lateral technical-level access to relevant archival documents. Such documents, primarily from Vietnam, could expedite joint operations to account for missing US personnel, especially along Vietnam’s borders with Laos and Cambodia.
Semi-annual US-Lao POW/MIA Consultations took place September 14th in Hawaii, hosted by MG Stephen Tom, USAR, JPAC Commander. League Chairman of the Board Ann Mills-Griffiths and Senior Policy Advisor Richard T. Childress, joined by Mrs. Elli Childress, attended the concluding dinner for the US and Lao delegations. During that same week, Mrs. Griffiths spoke at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and she and Mr. Childress met with MG Tom and JPAC officials from many directorates. Griffiths also called on Deputy PACOM Commander LTG Daniel J. Darnell, USAF, to thank him for his support and to request strong interventions to ensure JPAC receives and retains needed funding and personnel.
Field Operations: Recent Vietnam War field operations have had far fewer US personnel than previously agreed for each 30-day Joint Field Activity (JFA). Field operations were cut back drastically until passage of the FY2011 budget, at which point some of the previously dropped operations were restored to the schedule. Thirty US personnel, comprising Three Recovery Teams (RTs), are now conducting operations in Laos, again much fewer than agreed to with the Lao. In Vietnam, nearly 30 advance personnel arrived in mid-October, now joined by the main contingent to form four RTs, two Investigation Teams (ITs), and one VRT. Also, importantly, the USNS Bowditch earlier conducted an underwater survey along the coast of Vietnam, though not yet along the northern provinces, a step that would be most welcome due to the number of overwater losses along the northern coast. Increasing bilateral military-to-military cooperation should allow this in the near future.
Korean War Accounting: The US and North Korea (DPRK) recently held talks in Bangkok in an effort to re-start remains recovery operations that were halted in 2005. Announcements at the conclusion of the talks indicated that field operations will resume in Unsan County and the Chosin Reservoir area. Also, recently, there were two RTs in South Korea; and an Underwater Investigation Team (UIT) is now conducting operations there. Field recoveries in the DPRK beginning in 2012 will build on attempts to identify remains previously returned by the DPRK and those disinterred from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) that were buried post-war as unknowns. The identification process has advanced dramatically, now enabling such IDs to be made. More forensic anthropologists are needed though, ironically, forensic anthropologists are too frequently assigned to lead field excavations, diverting their time and attention from remains identifications.
WWII Accounting: JPAC recently had a Field Forensic Review (FFR) then a Joint Forensic Review (JFR) in England on remains turned in, and earlier conducted JFRs in Poland and The Netherlands. Also, two Phase Two Testing Teams (P2Ts) and one RT deployed to Wake Island, three RTs to Germany, one IT to Micronesia, and an advance team is again headed to the PRC, all focused on WWII incidents, as earlier in Austria and Hungary.
NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY: The President issued a proclamation designating September 16th as this year’s date to honor America’s POW/MIAs from all wars and to commemorate their sacrifices and those of their families. Ceremonies were held across the country and around the world as the League’s POW/MIA Flag was again raised, as required by law, over the White House, the US Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, all offices of the US Postal Service, all VA cemeteries, and military bases, posts and stations as designated by the Secretary of Defense. Posters, again designed by DPMO and unveiled at the League’s 42nd Annual Meeting in July, were distributed by DPMO; however, this year’s poster was well-received and supplies were exhausted by mid-August. It can still be accessed and downloaded for printing at the DPMO website, www.dtic.mil/dpmo. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta hosted the national ceremony at the Pentagon, and his full remarks are available on the League’s website and by request from the League office. In part he stated, “No other country has devoted so much energy and so many resources to account for our fallen. We do this because we believe that every life is precious, and because those who put their lives on the line for this country need to know that we will spare no effort to bring them home. Today I make to you the promise, as Secretary of Defense, we will do everything we can to bring them home……a promise I make not only to the families of the missing and captured, but to all of our men and women serving in harm’s way around the world.”
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT NAMES USRJC CO-CHAIRMAN: On June 17th, President Dmitri Medvedev issued Decree #815 naming Ms. Yekaterina Priezzheva as Russian Co-Chairman of the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC). She is currently serving as head of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s Education Department. Also named were 31 members of the Russian side of the USRJC, as counterparts to the American Chairmen of the Working Groups that focus separately on each war, from the Vietnam War working back to and including World War II.
Rather than being lauded by the White House with suitable responsiveness, these welcome developments from Moscow were virtually ignored, except by US Chairman General Robert “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret), the League and major national veteran organizations who had called on Russian President Medvedev to take these actions. Instead, there has been delay, even deception, as funding approved for USRJC and its support personnel assigned to DPMO’s Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD) was diverted by DPMO leaders and used for other purposes.
The League found very capable partners and fellow advocates in leaders of the VFW, The American Legion, the DAV, the Jewish War Veterans (JWV), AMVETS and the VVA in supporting General Foglesong and loyal JCSD members, as well as policy resolutions in strong support of necessary personnel increases and full funding for POW/MIA efforts. We were joined by Korean War/Cold War and WWII family groups in pushing to strengthen the USRJC and JCSD. Letters to President Obama and National Security Advisor Donilon, copied throughout the Administration leadership, would not have been necessary had DPMO listened to the views of their primary “customers,” namely the families and our veterans. Thanks to each of these national veteran groups for their strong support.
Unbelievably, just before the League’s 42nd Annual Meeting, USRJC Executive Secretary David Martin, also then serving as Acting JCSD Director (replacing Norm Kass who “retired” earlier this year) was summarily removed from his position, without explanation, and placed on administrative leave. Even more astonishing, and more recently, previous JCSD Deputy Director Roger Schumacher was also removed from his position and, just as Dave Martin, escorted from the premises with cautions to discuss the USRJC and JCSD with no one, in or out of government.
Despite the above, General Foglesong addressed the League’s 42nd Annual Meeting and expressed cautious optimism that the Obama Administration would come through with sufficient clarity to support continuation of the USRJC as an independent Presidential Commission. The alternative, sought by DoD and DPMO, would effectively put the USRJC under DoD control, as was proposed nearly a year ago and strongly opposed by the League, families of those unaccounted-for from wars and conflicts further past, and our invaluable veteran group allies, led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Although final decisions are still pending and expected at any moment, there continues to be reason for serious concern. The remaining questions are in the hands of the Obama White House. The extensive delay wasted time that this issue can ill-afford as witnesses are dying, as are family members who await answers.
We are most grateful that VFW National Commander-in-Chief Richard L. DeNoyer and Assistant Adjutant General/Washington Office Executive Director Robert E. Wallace made a trip to Moscow in October. Again carrying our collective message directly to Moscow, as the VFW does each year, they met extensively with the new Russian Chairman of the USRJC, leaders in the Duma (Russian equivalent of the US House of Representatives), Federation Council (Russian equivalent of the US Senate), and officials of the influential War Veterans Committee and Combat Brotherhood, both led by very senior retired military officers. They also met with US Embassy officials, including Deputy Chief of Mission Shelia Gwaltney, previously assigned as the US Consul General in St. Petersburg, Defense Attaché RADM Douglas Venlet, USN, and LTC Michael Yuschak, USA, head of DPMO’s JCSD office in Moscow, and his deputy Mr. Rich Lyda, all of whom provided significant insights, assistance and support. For the first time, the VFW Delegation visited the Central Archives of the Russian Ministry of Defense at Podolsk.
42ND ANNUAL MEETING: The July 21-23rd meeting brought together family members, League Associate Members, concerned citizens, and government officials to the Hilton Crystal City Hotel to hear briefings and updates from US officials most directly working to account for America’s unreturned veterans, our POW/MIAs. At the meeting’s opening session, Chief of Staff for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Pete Verga assured the group that despite fiscal concerns facing the US today, there is a firm commitment by the current Administration and the Department of Defense regarding the issue and mission of POW/MIA accounting. He went on to give brief updates on continuing efforts of partnership with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
BG Richard Simcock, USMC, Principal Director for South & Southeast Asia, DoD’s Office of Asian & Pacific Affairs, followed Mr. Verga and spoke of the positive potential from expanding military-to-military relations between the US and Vietnam. BG Simcock expressed confidence about the direction of bilateral US-SRV relations and, like others throughout the meeting, noted the support the POW/MIA accounting mission has within DoD. Opening Session concluded with remarks from League Senior Policy Advisor Richard T. Childress who served eight years (1981-89) as Director for Asian Affairs in the Reagan National Security Council. His informed assessment of the current strategic environment and the opportunities available to advance the POW/MIA accounting mission set the tone of this year’s meeting and laid out the challenges. While he had some critical comments regarding efforts currently being pursued, he spelled out his view that if the challenges are met head on by the League and the US Government, real progress can be made. Check the League website for the full text of Childress’ message and other key remarks, or call the League office.
The morning session concluded with unveiling of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster for 2011 by League Chairman of the Board Mark Stephensen and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) and Director of DPMO Robert Newberry.
In the afternoon, the League was very pleased to have with us LTG Ronald Burgess, Jr., USA, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) who pledged DIA’s continuing support and reinforced the importance of Stony Beach’s role in the accounting process, following decades of determined efforts. LTG Burgess was preceded by an Intelligence Collection & Support Panel, moderated by League Intelligence and Research Advisor Mr. Jay Veith. Comprised of DIA’s Stony Beach specialists from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, their panel discussion regarding efforts in the respective countries was very informative for all. The afternoon session continued with a second panel covering Analytic & Research Support for Vietnam War Accounting with specialists from DPMO and JPAC. The final session brought US Chairman of the USRJC with remarks already cited, but also very strongly supportive remarks from Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN), recently named as Democratic House USRJC Member. Congressman Walz’s enthusiasm and commitment to the mission were readily detectable and most welcome. A panel led by Mr. Veith included Mr. Roger Schumacher, now former JCSD Deputy Director, and M/Sgt Mike Phillips, JCSD Vietnam War Working Group Analyst. This session concluded with a very informed presentation by former USRJC Executive Secretary and Director of JCSD Mr. Norm Kass, now serving as League Advisor on Russian/Former Soviet Union Affairs. His succinct description of the challenges ahead made clear the importance of the supportive roles played by the League, the other POW/MIA families, and the major national veteran organizations.
The 42nd Annual Dinner was opened by wonderful patriotic music, ably performed by the US Army Chorus, followed by the always impressive USMC Color Guard. The dinner speaker was Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright, USMC, now retired. General Cartwright’s remarks were very well-received and inspirational as he characterized the importance of serving and what POW/MIA accounting efforts mean to those serving today. The Candlelight Ceremony was very moving, with Ms. Wendy Coble, League Associate Member and a JPAC underwater archeologist, singing a beautiful rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and concluding by leading the group in singing “God Bless America,” before the benediction by Chaplain (MG) Cecil R. Richardson, Air Force Chief of Chaplains, who also provided the invocation.
Friday’s session began with remarks by DASD Newberry on the topic of “Expanding the Pace & Scope of Vietnam War Accounting,” though it was difficult to determine how any surge was going to be forthcoming given the budget challenges. He was followed by MG Stephen Tom, USAR, JPAC Commander, who spoke on “JPAC’s State of Affairs.” That presentation provided some welcome plans and initiatives, but also left many unanswered questions and concerns. An informative pre- sensation by Mr. Johnie Webb of JPAC and a data sharing panel comprised of JPAC and DPMO specialists followed, though clearly, the long-promised integration between and among relevant organizations and agencies has a very long way to go. As has come to be very special over the years, the Army and Air Force hosted Service Luncheons for their own attending family members, and the Navy, Marine Corps and Civilian families, being smaller in number, shared a Multi-Service Luncheon, rotating hosts each year between USN and USMC. The afternoon session included informative presentations by JPAC, Life Science Equipment Laboratory (LSEL), and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL). All annual meeting attendees and participants were invited by DPMO to a Friday evening tour of the recently opened Pentagon POW/MIA Corridor.
Saturday morning opened with a strong message by Executive Director Ann Mills-Griffiths, raising serious concerns about disunity within the official POW/MIA community and the failure to take initiatives when warranted. She gave a clear, succinct League overview of the current state of US Government efforts and some of the many challenges that must be overcome to achieve greater mission success. Her remarks were followed by a lengthy session during which official presenters from all POW/MIA-related Defense Department agencies and organizations were asked questions and given ample opportunity to respond.
The final session was the League Business Session during which reports were given on the League’s financial situation, website progression, special projects, and questions were raised to the Executive Director and outgoing members of the 2009-2011 Board of Directors. In addition to several policy resolutions introduced and passed with overwhelming support, nearly all unanimous, questions were raised regarding the League’s voting procedures and eligibility of one newly elected member of the 2011-2013 Board of Directors. After reviewing precise requirements for voting that include up-to- date payment of annual dues, it was clear that all League members were repeatedly cautioned that dues must be current to receive ballots for voting. References to candidate eligibility were also clarified before voting on the following policy resolutions:
Resolution #1: On Data Sharing
Resolved, that the League urges the DASD for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and the Commander, JPAC, to immediately issue an instruction to all employees that all potential or actual case-related information received is to be shared with all official organizations within the official accounting community on a timely basis and that these instructions be incorporated into their respective standard operating procedures.
Resolution #2: On Acceptance of Remains
Resolved, that the League urges the DASD for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and the Commander, JPAC, to immediately issue an instruction to all employees that they are authorized to accept from any source remains that potentially could be those of a missing American to be turned over through official US channels for repatriation to the United States.
Resolution #3: On Archival Records Initiative
Resolved, that the JPAC Commander aggressively pursue the archival initiative proposed by the League and that all relevant organizations fully support this initiative in a timely manner through information, analysis and ideas, to maximize the potential effectiveness, and be it further
Resolved, that the content of the presentations be coordinated closely with the League.
Resolution #4: On NOK Notice
Resolved, that all elements involved in processing information and remains from investigations, surveys and recoveries review their procedures to minimize the time between those operations and notification of the NOK.
Resolution #5: On Investigations
That since historical analysis has revealed that many cases have been resolved through multiple investigations, some of which have been dead-ends, but the cumulative effect has led to case resolution, be it
Resolved, that while the League recognizes that the approval for conducting investigations requires analysis, given the increasing industrialization and development in Vietnam, aging witnesses and acidic soil, such evaluation of investigation approval should not be based on budgetary concerns.
Resolution #6: On Consultation with the League
Given the fact that other federal agencies are consistently seeking the advice of lobbyists, think-tanks and others with a vested interest in the issues being discussed, and that consultation with the League before final decisions has been vastly curtailed in the past 12-18 months, be it
Resolved, that federal decision-makers on the POW/MIA issue reestablish close coordination with the League before major decisions are made or announced to enable US officials to have the considered views of the primary stakeholders.
Resolution #7: On Strategic Opportunity
Given the obvious changes in the strategic environment in Asia which directly affect US and SE Asian cooperation on broader issues, be it
Resolved, that the POW/MIA accounting community take advantage of these changed circumstances to pursue initiatives previously rejected by Vietnam and others and propose new initiatives in recognition of the changed strategic realities.
AWARDS PRESENTATIONS – 2011: Each year, the Board of Directors considers whether League Awards and Certificates of Appreciation should be presented and, if so, to whom? This year more were deemed well-earned than usual, though none rose to the level of the highest honor the League presents – The Distinguished Service Award – presented only six times since initiated June 25, 2000. League awards are not presented to family members, no matter how deserving, as the board considers it a family’s obligation to do everything possible to account for a missing loved one. Concerned citizens dedicate their efforts, resources and time out of dedication to the principles involved and concern for the missing and their families. In some cases, those working for the US Government also go above and beyond job-related requirements, rise above their peers and deserve to be recognized, each for different reasons. Those honored with League awards at the 42nd Annual Meeting this year were the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for its many years of dedicated priority, including its Stony Beach Team, the Jewish War Veterans of the US for decades of loyal support and advocacy on our behalf, the Elko POW*MIA Awareness Association for its generosity and for picking up and running with the challenge of reactivating public interest, and Mr. William Batdorff, CPA, for generously giving his time and professional skills to conduct the League’s annual audit for many years. Recipients of League Certificates of Appreciation were Mr. Bob Smith, a dedicated veteran activist in Northern Virginia who has individually assisted the League in many areas, and two long-dedicated Service Casualty Officers, Mr. Ken Terry, US Navy, and Mr. William “Barney” Frampton, US Air Force. We are deeply grateful for the commitment and service of all who were recognized.
LEAGUE ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Results from the 2011-2013 Board of Directors election and the Board’s election of officers were announced at Opening Session of the 42nd Annual Meeting, as follows: Chairman of the Board Ann Mills-Griffiths, Vice Chairman David Gray, Secretary Pam Cain, Treasurer Mark Stephensen, and members Sue Scott, Karoni Forrester and Susie Stephens-Harvey.
At the Annual Business Meeting, a question was raised by a League member concerning the eligibility to serve of one elected board member. Subsequent to the 42nd Annual meeting, the matter was thoroughly researched in the League’s bylaws, from incorporation through today, then discussed at the October 21-22, 2011, Board of Directors meeting. While the results are cited below, it was very interesting to again discover that there earlier was no provision in the League’s bylaws for removal of a League member except death, dissolution of the League or resignation by the member. After dues were initiated, non-payment of required dues was added as justification. Bylaws now read:
2011 Bylaws: Article III, Members: Section 3: TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP. Membership will terminate upon the death of the member or upon the cessation of the organization as a viable legal entity, whichever comes first, or upon the member’s written resignation. Membership may be terminated for nonpayment of applicable dues, following a ninety (90) day grace period.
Following is the position adopted by the Board of Directors on the question of Susie Stephens-Harvey’s candidate eligibility:
“At the time that Susie Stephens-Harvey became a voting member of the League, she was a legal relative of Stephen Geist through marriage and the policy of inclusivity for family members. In no section of the bylaws does it state that a voting member’s status can or should be revoked due to a legal separation from the family. Further, based on the determination of Article III, Section 1 of the 1998 bylaws, Susie’s status remained the same even after new membership classes were established. As of the election of board members in June/July of 2011, Susie had met and continues to meet the criteria for voting membership status set forth in bylaws from incorporation through to today. This means, as a voting member in good standing, Susie Stephens-Harvey was and is eligible to hold a position on the League’s Board of Directors.”
The proposed Bylaw changes, voted on in conjunction with the Board of Directors elections, passed overwhelmingly. Resolutions passed by members present for the Business Session, listed earlier, are also posted on the League’s website. The League’s new National Coordinator, Lacy Rourke, can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling the League office, 703-465-7432.
Check the League’s Website: www.pow-miafamilies.org and look for the League on Facebook for the latest information and updates.
43RD ANNUAL MEETING SCHEDULED: Registration Forms will be available after the first of the year; however, all should be aware that the 43rd Annual Meeting will be held JUNE 14-17, 2012, not in July as is has been for the last few years. There will also be information about workshops for all attendees that are geared toward pursuing answers on individual cases, working to support League accounting objectives both individually and as organizations, an upcoming oral history project in conjunction with the Library of Congress and a couple of others under development.
To retain the League’s business, after the a/c and dinner fiascos this year, the Hilton Crystal City Hotel offered sincere apologies and a deal the League couldn’t refuse that will save League members and friends in terms of room rates and fees for registration and dinner. Importantly, the Hilton Crystal City Hotel is undergoing major renovations, including new a/c throughout. With assurances of significant concessions and future contracts conditioned on successful execution of the 2012 meeting, agreement was reached for the following two years: June 13-16, 2013 and June 12-15, 2014.
APPEAL FOR HELP: Candace Lokey, League member, State Coordinator and MIA niece, has worked for nearly a decade on a very important project: “Putting a Face with a Name,” The goal: finding a photo and a brief personal bio on each unreturned POW, MIA or KIA/BNR (Killed-in- Action/Body-Not-Recovered) at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 so that the person can be honored and remembered.. Success is in sight – only 19 photos are needed to complete the initial phase. Below are the names of those whose photo has still not been located, despite continuous pursuit, and much determination. You can help! Please call the League office if you know the families of any of these men or leads that may be helpful. All but two (*) were original status KIA/BNR at the time of loss:
*Alan L. Blewett, Civilian; San Joaquin, CA; LA, 7/14/62
Frank L. Bytheway, Civilian; (city unknown) TX; NVN, 10/2/69
Robert A. Cairns, USAF; Highland, CA; SVN, 6/17/67
Isom C. Cochran, Jr., USA; Houston, TX; SVN, 5/23/68
Ernest K. Cota, USN; San Diego, CA; SVN, 5/14/68
Benjamin D. De Herrera, USA; Colorado Springs, CO; SVN, 11/19/67
Carroll J. Deuso, USN; Richford, VT; NVN, 12/15/70
David P. Halpin, USN; Watertown, NY; SVN, 9/28/68
Charles D. Hardie, USN; Houston, TX; SVN, 7/27/67
Rayford J. Hill, USN; Houston, TX; NVN, 10/2/69
August D. Johnson, USN; Houston, TX; SVN, 2/3/67
Freddie Kemp, USA; New York, NY; SVN, 8/17/66
Edwin J. Martinez-Mercado, USA; New York, NY; SVN, 11/11/67
Dan D. McConnaughhay, USN; Artesia, CA; SVN, 2/5/66
*Dewey A. Midgett, USA; Chesapeake, VA; SVN, 11/25/67
Anastacio Montez, USA; Presidio, TX; SVN, 5/24/69
Linus L. Oakley, USAF; Carthage, AR; SVN, 10/29/71
Samuel J. Padgett, USA; Tulsa, OK; SVN, 4/10/68
Bernard J. Sparenberg, USN; Baltimore, MD; SVN, 2/5/66
CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE: I write this out of serious concern, disappointment and alarm. Setting aside the 1975-80 near-total destruction of issue-related efforts, the Vietnam War POW/MIA accounting is now in very grave danger. In all my years of active national involvement, I have never seen greater dysfunction, lack of any unified sense of purpose or coherent policy approach, or even moderate trust among the people and organizations officially charged with the accounting mission. As this is written, JPAC is making clear its priority on recovering Korean War and World War II personnel, seeking a higher “body count” of identified remains to meet demands of the unfunded congressional mandate. In this era of budget cuts and continuing resolutions due to congressional inaction, what passes as “policy” is taking on a mathematical “McNamara approach.” This is occurring regardless of the different circumstances in each war or the hard-fought diplomatic and access agreements with former enemies, the degradation of remains in acidic soil, and dying witnesses. If additional funds are not quickly authorized and approved to conduct Korean War field operations starting in early 2012 (just agreed between North Korea (DPRK) and the US), the level of Vietnam War accounting operations will likely be cut dramatically. YOU simply must take the initiative to write to both your Senators and your one Representative in the House to ask for support. If you don’t, then blame yourselves when the accounting effort for Vietnam War missing is seriously cut back. That is it! That is my message to each of you! If you really care, ask them: “Will you support and approve adequate funds for humanitarian POW/MIA accounting operations? (In comparison to all other DoD programs, the entire accounting mission is peanuts.) Remember, as former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates was literally walking out the door to retire, he left instructions to reassess all budget requirements, but named ONLY the POW/MIA issue as one area to re-look. Those slated increases were primarily operational funding and personnel increases for JPAC. That should have caught your attention at the time but, if it didn’t, NOW IS THE TIME. The budget deals are being cut! You can sit back, wring your hands and do nothing, hoping your loved one’s remains won’t disintegrate, or you can act now, write your letters, send us a copy, and look yourself in the mirror knowing you have done your best. Your call!