POW/MIA UPDATE: July 26, 2006

Discussion in 'POW/MIA' started by slapyo, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. slapyo

    slapyo Administrator Staff Member

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    POW/MIA UPDATE: July 26, 2006

    PRESIDENT AFFIRMS COMMITMENT: In a June 21st letter to the families attending the League's 37th Annual Meeting, President Bush affirmed his commitment "to continuing the search for all military members missing in the line of duty" ... and provided assurance that "this is an issue I will raise when I travel to Vietnam this Fall." He also expressed appreciation to the League for our efforts over many years. The President's scheduled visit to Vietnam in November, in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) is the culmination of a crucial year in US-Vietnam relations and is critical to continued focus and priority on POW/MIA accounting.

    SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PRESSES VIETNAM ON POW/MIA ISSUE: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Vietnam June 3-6th and urged his counterpart, Defense Minister Pham Van Tra, and Prime Minister Pham Van Khai to increase their cooperation. According to media reports, the Secretary’s focus adhered to the criteria established by President Bush in 2002, reinforced by Secretaries of State Powell and Rice in 2004 and 2005, respectively. He called for unilateral provision of relevant archival records, and again suggested using US Navy technology for underwater recovery operations. Vietnamese leaders were cited as agreeing to the Secretary’s requests to expand cooperation and support for the accounting effort. With worldwide coverage of his visit, the Secretary signaled the importance of the issue by spending two hours at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) Detachment II headquarters that included a briefing on current operations in Vietnam. The League provided input to the DoD leadership prior to this important visit and deeply appreciates the Secretary’s emphasis on POW/MIA accounting during bilateral discussions that clearly included much broader national security and military issues.

    PACOM COMMANDER VISITS VIETNAM & LAOS: Admiral William F. Fallon, USN, Commander, US Pacific Command (PACOM), recently concluded his visits. Discussions with senior officials in Vietnam were held on the heels of the port call by two US Navy ships, one a mine sweeper and the other, the USS Salvor, a survey and rescue ship with dive capability. Details are sketchy, but media coverage suggests there was some discussion of joint recovery efforts, though reportedly focused on recovering Vietnamese fishermen lost at sea during a recent typhoon. Hopefully, ADM Fallon pressed for joint underwater surveys and recoveries on missing US personnel and unilateral Vietnamese actions in accord with the President's criteria. In Laos, ADM Fallon met with senior officials and visited a field recovery site, usefully reinforcing the joint US-Lao accounting process.

    SECRETARY RICE POSTPONES VISIT TO VIETNAM: Citing the crisis in the Middle East, Secretary of State Rice's planned visit to Vietnam before the end of July was postponed until late this year. Her trip was to have been another in the very high level series of visits preceding the President's visit in November, begun by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert in late April.

    VIETNAMESE LEADERSHIP CHANGES: Vietnam's new Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, was confirmed by the recently concluded Party Congress. He assumed third ranking in the Vietnamese Politburo and is young in terms of senior Vietnamese leaders. PM Dung is familiar with the POW/MIA issue, having met with US Government, League and major veterans officials for several years. Nong Duc Manh, 65, remains as General Secretary of the Communist Party, serving a second five-year term. The newly named President is Nguyen Minh Triet, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, also a Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister, is Pham Gia Khiem. The new leadership has demonstrated commitment to economic reform, the highest priority of the Vietnamese government this year, in anticipation of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with the US and accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    REPORT ON THE 37TH ANNUAL MEETING: Held again at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, this year’s annual meeting was a positive example of what can be accomplished with cooperation, determination and genuine focus on the mission. Unlike the chaotic division and disunity of 2005, the 37th Annual Meeting was held with support and cooperation from the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) and all US officials, organizations and agencies invited to participate. Despite some glitches in pre-annual meeting distribution of registration and other materials from the Service Casualty Offices, the unity and cohesion evident this year was most welcome. One of the highlights was the keynote address by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England at the Opening Session. His remarks brought welcome insight and commitment, stating in part:

    "One thing that I have learned to appreciate during this year is that the League is a true force for good. You have helped turn the lessons learned from Vietnam into better processes, policies, and actions, so that we can return our military home with honor. Your voices have been heard - and are still being heard … You have set a new standard, with your persuasiveness, your passion and your persistence. What makes the League’s efforts so powerful is its long-standing close partnership with our own Department of Defense, and with other Government Departments … We are also joined here today because there is still a job unfinished, a mission to complete. Many of you, together with other American families, are still living with uncertainty, and without closure. As part of the total DoD mission to protect and defend America, the Department is committed to make the fullest possible accounting of our prisoners of war and those missing in action. Those who offered their service in the name of something higher than themselves are heroes, and we owe them . and you … no less. The countries of Southeast Asia hold critical keys to our ability to produce that accounting. This year – this summer - is a hopeful time in our partnerships with those countries. Just a few weeks ago, Secretary Rumsfeld visited Vietnam. He thanked the Government of Vietnam sincerely for its cooperation and continued assistance. The US Government's annual certification requirement is a key part of bolstering and encouraging that cooperation…Secretary Rumsfeld thanked his hosts, and he also said: 'We still have work to do, and as we all agree, we do not want to forget the importance of this' ... He urged the Government of Vietnam to continue to take unilateral steps to increase access to information. And he did meet with positive responses from his hosts. These are hopeful signs. I believe we can be encouraged by them, even as the hard work continues. Vietnam is the focus point, but our partnerships with Laos and Cambodia are also very important. Our constructive work with those Governments does continue and will continue. Their ongoing cooperation with us is both welcome and essential … The relationships forged as part of that effort have laid the groundwork for broader relations with these countries, across the spectrum of US interests. This is something else that all of you can be proud of ... Today’s servicemen and women know, as they go into battle, that whatever may befall them, their Nation will honor their service ... and bring them home again ... I do thank you all for your patriotism, hard work, and everything you do every day to take care of America. God bless you all, and God continue to bless America."

    Secretary England aided League Chairman of the Board Jo Anne Shirley and Tom Nielsen, Vietnam veteran and well-known artist, in unveiling this year’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day poster portrayed on the cover of this newsletter. It is wonderful to again have Tom's talent and commitment to signal domestically and internationally that America does in fact "Honor their Service" and will "Fulfill Their Trust," this year’s theme for National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 15th.

    In addition to remarks from Chairman Shirley and Executive Director Ann Mills Griffiths, US Ambassador to Laos Patricia Haslach made a presentation on POW/MIA operations in Laos, aided by photos and remarks from LCDR Brian Danielson, USN, son of Captain Benjamin Danielson, USAF, listed MIA on December 5, 1969. Recognized as the experience of a lifetime, LCDR Danielson also explained the difficulties encountered and the benefits gained from his perspective and that of others who participated in the US-Lao field operation. Ambassador Haslach's support of the League and commitment to the issue are deeply appreciated.

    An Interagency Policy Panel brought informative remarks from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian & Pacific Affairs (DAS/EAP) Eric John and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs (DASD/POW-MIA) Bob Newberry. Mr. John is heavily engaged in developing and implementing broader policy with Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia and frequently testifies before Congress on US policy in the region. In testimony July 13th before the Senate Finance Committee regarding PNTR with Vietnam, he reinforced the message that Vietnam needs to continue to improve cooperation on accounting efforts and cited the POW/MIA issue as one of the State Department’s continuing priorities. Acting DASD Newberry reassured the families of the Administration's commitment and the importance of working together.

    LTG Michael D. Maples, USA, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), addressed the attendees on Intelligence Community Contributions to the issue and outlined his vision concerning the future of DIA’s Stony Beach Team of specialists. The restructured team is now manned with two specialists assigned to each Indochina country. They will soon move permanently to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, though one has long been stationed in Phnom Penh. The move to Laos will be delayed, with the two qualified Lao specialists headquartered for now in Bangkok. Stony Beach headquarters has moved to DIA in Washington, DC. Tom McKay will switch from Stony Beach Team Chief to Program Manager of the Stony Beach Mission and serve as the primary link between DIA headquarters and Stony Beach Team members whose sole focus will continue to be on POW/MIA accounting investigations and interviews. In view of a great deal of turmoil and across-the-board decreases in budgets and personnel, this was welcome reassurance from the DIA Director. Tom McKay and Lao specialist Brad Taylor wrapped up this segment of the program, providing additional details on in-country implementation of the Stony Beach investigations.

    Two additional panels concluded the day’s presentations: the Oversight & Operations Panel and the Research & Analysis Panel, presented jointly by representatives from DPMO and JPAC. The first to speak was Melinda Cooke, DPMO Director for Policy, and the JPAC perspective in implementing policy was presented by Acting Director for Policy Jennifer Nasarenko. Four experienced analysts jointly presented a long-sought perspective on pursuing answers, using a hypothetical case applicable to all. Gary Sydow, DPMO Director for Research & Analysis, Rob Richeson, JPAC Deputy Director of Intelligence, Dian Corneliussen-James, DPMO Senior Intelligence Analyst, and Ron Ward, JPAC Southeast Asia Research & Analysis Branch Chief, took the audience from an initial incident and preliminary analysis, to in-country investigation and follow-up, through comprehensive review, to site recovery and repatriation of remains, concluding with forensic analysis, subsequent identification and return to the family for honorable interment. The concept was to demonstrate the entire scope of the accounting process; it succeeded.

    The League Annual Dinner was a highlight again this year, headlined by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) who gave a very engaging address that reflected personal commitment and knowledge. LtCol Diep Duong, USAF, RN, PhD, PACOM’s office of International Health Affairs, gave a presentation on humanitarian medical assistance programs in Laos and Cambodia. We were especially pleased that Chaplain of the United States Senate RADM Barry Black, USN (Ret), former Chief of Chaplains, US Navy, could join us to provide the invocation and benediction.

    The highest award presented by the League is the Distinguished Service Award. Presented for only the fourth time ever, it was unanimously awarded this year for over 30 years of dedication and commitment to an outstanding concerned citizen from Ohio. Known to nearly all family members and veterans who are active on the POW/MIA issue, Liz Flick serves as the League’s Region IV and Ohio State Coordinator. She heads the Ohio Chapter MIA-POW, distributing POW/MIA flags and traditional stainless steel POW/MIA bracelets throughout the country and around the world, ably assisted by her wonderful husband, Bob. Congratulations, Liz! Deserving prior recipients are Richard Childress, now the League’s Senior Policy Advisor, the late Betty Bartels, and Dr. Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and now President of the World Bank.

    Attached Files:

  2. slapyo

    slapyo Administrator Staff Member

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    League Awards were presented to LtCol Paul Mather, USAF (Ret), for over three decades of service during his military career, including the very early days of the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC, later JTF-FA and today, JPAC) and as an analyst and historian for the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) known for his quiet and effective commitment to the principles of accounting. The second League Award was presented to American Legion Post 361, Department of New Jersey, for support and assistance far beyond the norm in hosting regional and board meetings, raising sorely needed funds and generally spreading awareness about the League and our mission. A third League award was presented to Georgia Power for their generosity in producing the League brochures for several years at no cost to the League, a tremendous demonstration of support and commitment that is greatly appreciated. Finally, a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to the Department of New Jersey American Legion for many reasons previously outlined.

    The Military Services were well-represented by senior uniformed officers and civilian leaders, led by Under Secretary of the Navy Dionel Aviles. The League is grateful for the patriotic musical and color guard support provided by the Military District of Washington. We also express special appreciation to Board Member LtCol David Gray, USAF (Ret), for reading the roll call of the missing, to Jim Ventimeglia, Commander, Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 351 of New Jersey, who played "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes to begin the Candlelight Ceremony Honoring America's POW/MIAs and to Ron Cima (DPMO analyst) and his son, Gibson Cima, for their beautiful voice and guitar rendition of "Precious Lord" to conclude that special program and the 37th Annual Dinner.

    The General Sessions on Friday, June 23rd, were very interesting and informative. The first session was led off by Mr. Georgiy Borishenko, Counselor, Embassy of the Russian Federation to the US. This was the first time that a Russian representative has been invited and accepted a League invitation to participate, and especially timely due to General Robert H. Foglesong, USAF (Ret) having just been named as US Chairman of the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs. General Foglesong's remarks reflected his vision of how he plans to pursue answers from the Russian Federation and former states of the USSR. They were followed by Mr. Norm Kass, DPMO's Director of the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), Mr. Roger Schumacher, his Deputy, and new JCSD staff member TSgt Brent Willson, USAF.

    The second morning session was the JPAC Operations Panel, with JPAC Commander BG Michael Flowers, USA, leading the way, followed by Mr. Johnie Webb, Senior Advisor to the JPAC Commander. The next two presentations were on field operations in Vietnam and Laos, featuring Detachment II Commander LTC Lentfort Mitchell and Detachment III Commander LTC Rich Wheeler, both Army Special Forces officers who have now rotated back into SF assignments, leaving behind outstanding records of achievement despite challenges faced and overcome, as well as many left to tackle. (See separate article on changes in JPAC.) JPAC was followed by an Identification Process Panel that included Dr. Tom Holland, Scientific Director, Dr. Andy Tyrell, Forensic Anthropologist, both with JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory (CIL), Dr. Louis Finelli, MAJ, USA, Director of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), and Mr. J.C. Smith, Chief of the Air Force's Life Science Equipment Laboratory (LSEL) in San Antonio, TX.

    Service-hosted luncheons started the afternoon for all invited family members and guests. The first afternoon session was the Veterans Organizations Panel. In order of presentation, participants included John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), COL Herb Rosenbleeth, USA (Ret), Executive Director, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, G. Michael Schlee, The American Legion's Director of National Security & Foreign Relations, National Legislative Director of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Joe Violante, and Director of Public Affairs Joe Davis, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). All made effective, succinct presentations defining their respective organization's supportive positions on the issue and responded briefly to questions.

    The final Friday afternoon session was the League Advisors' Panel, one of the most interactive and informative of the 37th Annual Meeting due to their experience, knowledge, directness and former positions within the US Government. Leading off was Senior Policy Advisor Richard T. Childress, eight-year Director for Asian Affairs, Reagan National Security Council, who provided a succinct, descriptive and balanced assessment of where the issue stands and the challenges ahead. Policy Advisor Matthew P. Daley, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asian & Pacific Affairs, now the President of the US-ASEAN Business Council, next gave a practical synopsis of the current trade situation with Vietnam, projections concerning passage by Congress of PNTR and access by Vietnam to the WTO. Operations Advisor BG Steven Redmann, USAF (Ret), former Commander of Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA), stressed the importance of cohesively integrating policy and operations to best accomplish the mission. Wrapping up was Research & Intelligence Advisor George "Jay" Veith, former US Army officer, with several suggestions that could and should be adopted by the US Government to enhance and improve exploitation of documents, foreign and domestic. He also made recommendations for family members pursuing answers from the USG on individual cases. (This is available by email or mail request to the League.) This session closed with a fairly lengthy Q&A period. These knowledgeable League Advisors are not seated on the panel with US officials for the extended Q&A session on Saturday morning; therefore, time was allotted to obtain their independent views on a wide spectrum of questions.

    All DoD officials who briefed on their roles in the POW/MIA accounting effort participated in a three-hour Department of Defense Panel on Saturday morning, June 24th. During this session, there were many questions and unusually direct and responsive answers, to the credit of all involved, in particular Acting DASD Bob Newberry who clearly led the way throughout the 37th Annual Meeting in terms of cooperation and support. The League Business Session was held that afternoon, 2:00-4:30 p.m., during which resolutions were voted on and approved after first establishing a quorum of voting League family members. These will be followed up and reported separately.

    Fundraising Events throughout the 37th Annual Meeting included the Silent Auction, chaired by Ginny Bartels Haenel, Betty Bartels Murphy and Elaine Palen. This year's auction raised the most ever in its history, ensuring that the League came out of this year's meeting with a minimal unpaid balance at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel. Friday evening was capped off with a new event - Casino Night - chaired by Bill & Traci Wood and Karoni Forrester Gonzales, members of the Fundraising Subcommittee of the League's Special Projects Committee. Saturday's day-long schedule was concluded with Bingo Night, chaired again this year by Francine Nesson, one of our dedicated Sergeants-at-Arms. Precise figures raised by these special events are not yet known, but a fine time was had by all and the effort that went into planning and executing these important events is deeply appreciated.

    In addition to those named, many other volunteers contributed to holding a successful 37th Annual Meeting with a massive amount of work done in advance and after hitting the ground in Washington, DC. Heading the list of Special Annual Meeting Volunteers is MIA sister and NY State Coordinator Peggie McDonald. For many years, Peggie has sacrificed her earned vacation to help in the League Office before each annual meeting and also serve as Orientation Chairman to brief new League members. (Yes, there really ARE still family members who don't know about the League and have never before joined.) In addition to being two of three Annual Dinner Co-Chairmen, Liz & Bob Flick (already noted) start working by March of each year to ensure that all who attend our annual meetings have the right registration badges, printed in advance and brought in for use by Registration Committee Co-Chairmen Sue Scott and Gail Innes, board members. The other Annual Dinner Co-Chairman, Debbie McIntosh, MIA daughter/remains returned, also comes in a few days early to use her significant computer talent to help in the office. Assistant Annual Meeting Co-Chairmen Karen McManus and Kathleen Eckmeyer (also a Sergeant-at-Arms) certainly deserve special thanks, as do others who volunteer as Committee Chairmen, such as Communications Chairman Mark Stephensen and Credentials Chairman Phillipe Ritter, both also board members.

    LEAGUE DELEGATION SET FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA: By unanimous vote of the League's Board of Directors, a League Delegation will go to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in late October. In making this decision, the Board expressed the view that the timing is advantageous to define the League's expectations to the new Vietnamese leadership, following several high level visits this year and preceding the President's visit in November. Arrangements are progressing for October 22nd arrival in Hanoi, October 25th in Phnom Penh and October 28th in Vientiane. Appointments with senior officials in all three countries will be requested. US Ambassadors are supportive and offered to host the League Delegation, for which we are grateful.

    The objectives in Vietnam are to reinforce the need to respond to President Bush's criteria on unilateral actions, Secretary Rumsfeld's initiative on using US Navy assets for joint underwater surveys and recoveries, and JPAC/CIL's ongoing joint field operations. In Laos and Cambodia, the objectives are similar, but focused on reinforcing and improving positive actions ongoing in both countries. The official delegation will be League Executive Director Ann Mills Griffiths and Senior Policy Advisor Richard T. Childress. As in all past delegations, Mr. Childress will be self-funded and not at League expense. Depending on responsiveness to the President in November, the Board is considering a follow-up delegation comprised of 3-5 family members, led by a Board member.

    U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR: The number listed by DoD as missing and unaccounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is now 1,802 - 1,377 in Vietnam, 364 in Laos, 54 in Cambodia and 7 in PRC territorial waters. A total of 781 US personnel have been accounted for since 1975; however, the remains of 63 Americans were recovered and identified before the end of the war in areas where the US had access. These US personnel were accounted for without cooperation from the post-war governments of Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia, for a total of 844. Over 90% of the 1,802 still missing, including US personnel last known alive (LKA), were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnamese wartime control.

    JPAC OPERATIONS NEED PROTECTED FUNDING: A 53-member JPAC team began the 95th joint field operations in Laos on June 29th and plan to conclude on August 1st. Following base camp and site set-up, four recovery teams commenced excavations at separate sites; one additional team is also conducting investigations. The 86th joint field activities (JFAs) in Vietnam concluded July 21st. Five recovery teams conducted excavations; an investigation team and a research-investigation team conducted surveys and investigations. Funds for continued JPAC operations are still in danger and must be protected. It is up to DoD leaders to ensure adequate funding for FY07 and beyond. You can help! Call or write your elected representatives. We need the support of ALL veterans, concerned citizens and family members on this, and we need it NOW. Go to www.senate.gov or www.house.gov to get the email addresses and phone numbers you need. Now is the time for needed action from all across America.

    LEADERSHIP CHANGES AT JPAC: Changes of Command were recently held in Laos and Vietnam. LTC James Saenz, USA, took command of Detachment II in Hanoi on June 30th. LTC Wade Owens, USA, took command of Detachment III in Vientiane on July 3rd. Both are Special Forces officers. BG Mike Flowers, USA, JPAC Commander, conducted the ceremonies, accompanied by LTC John Hahn, USMC, new military JPAC Deputy Commander. At the 37th Annual Meeting, BG Flowers announced his decision to have two Deputies, one military and one civilian, and that he would soon announce the name of the new civilian Deputy. The League is delighted to confirm that former CIL Commander and Senior Advisor to the JPAC Commander Johnie Webb has been named to this position. His appointment as Civilian Deputy JPAC Commander will ensure that there is continuity in the JPAC leadership beyond the normal two-three year military assignment. BG Flowers' decision is very important and most welcome. Historical knowledge and direct experience are crucial for engaging most effectively, especially with foreign officials, on an issue as sensitive as the POW/MIA accounting mission.

    NEWSLETTER OPTIONS: In an effort to reduce postage and printing costs but still maintain regular communication, some League members - family and associate - have requested receipt of the League Newsletter by email ONLY. Others, however, have no Internet links and wish to continue receiving the hard copy mailing. We want to accommodate all League members, so the choice is yours, but we need to know your preference.

    One of our summer interns, Brandon Baker-Rice, has worked out a way on our computer system to handle this additional administrative task, so we need your assistance. You must notify the League office, [email protected], if you wish to receive ONLY the email version, otherwise you will continue to receive the printed newsletter IF your dues are current.

    UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS: A critical and ongoing problem is the migration of League members. It is absolutely crucial that you notify the League office when you move, change email address, or other circumstances change. If the League had endless assets and resources, including staff, it would still be a challenge; however, with the limited assets and resources available, the need for you to take this responsibility is magnified. PLEASE do your part.

    MEMBERSHIP DUES: The last newsletter carried information relative to your League membership dues, namely that unless you were current, your name would be dropped from the list of active League members. You would no longer receive regular updates by mail or email. In reality, there were too many errors and the decision was made to delay that process.

    It is your responsibility to pay the $25 per year to maintain current status, and the mailing label on the envelope carries the date through which your dues are paid. To be current, that date should read 1/1/07, meaning your dues are paid through December 31, 2006. If you believe your dues have been paid and that the date on the label is not correct, please contact the League office and have available the date and amount of the check sent for dues payment. Send an email or call the League office at 703-465-7432 to correct the database. We need your help on this!

    The small dues payment per year helps fund the League but, most importantly, it signals your interest in being current on efforts to account for America's POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War and other wars. Due to the lack of administrative support in the League office, things fall through the cracks, and some of you send in donations and never mention dues payments, assuming that the donation will apply for that purpose. PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME DONATIONS WILL BE APPLIED AS DUES PAYMENT. Make a note in the memo line of your check to be certain.

    LEAGUE "WISH LIST" 2006: Many members and concerned citizens ask how they can support the League's operations, especially during these tough financial times. The League office is careful to spend every dollar as wisely as possible, but the following donations would be most appreciated anytime during the year and would help offset spending - every little bit counts!

    Office Supplies: Gift Cards - Staples; Office Depot; Kinko's/FedEx

    Office Equipment: Standard paper clips, large paper clips, standard staples; HP Laserjet 4-Plus and HP Laserjet 3 ink cartridges; Post-It notes, all sizes and colors.

    Postage Stamps: (all denominations), but in particular: 10 cent; 24 cent; 39 cent; 63 cent; 87 cent; $1.00, and $4.06 for PRIORITY MAIL


    Ann Mills Griffiths
    Executive Director
    National League of POW/MIA Families
    1005 North Glebe Road, Suite 170
    Arlington, VA 22201
    (PH) 703-465-7432 (FX) 703-465-7433
  3. rainvet

    rainvet New Member

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    Fact Sheet: VA Benefits for Former Prisoners Of War

    Recent VA News Releases
    Former American prisoners of war (POWs) are eligible for special
    veterans benefits, including enrollment in Department of Veterans
    Affairs (VA) medical care for treatment in VA hospitals and clinics
    without copayments as well as disability compensation for injuries and
    diseases that have been associated with internment. These benefits are
    in addition to regular veterans benefits and services to which they, as
    veterans, are entitled.

    Records show that 142,246 Americans were captured and interned during
    World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf
    War, the Somalia and Kosovo conflicts, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    There were no servicemembers reported missing in action from the Bosnia
    deployment nor from recent Afghanistan operations. Of the 125,214
    Americans surviving captivity, about 29,350 were estimated to be alive
    at the end of 2005.

    American Prisoners Of War at End of 2005
    and Interned Died while POW Returned to U.S. Military Control
    to Return Alive at end of 2005

    GRAND TOTAL 142,246 17,009 125,214 21 29,350
    WW I 4,120 147 3,973 -- --
    WW II 130,201 14,072 116,129 -- 26,750
    Korean 7,140 2,701 4,418 21 2,000
    Vietnam 725 64 661 -- 579
    Gulf War 47 25 21 -- 21
    Somalia 1 -- 1 -- 1
    Kosovo 3 -- 3 -- 3
    Iraq 9 -- 8 -- 8

    Notes: A more detailed analysis is at
    http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/POW/DOCS/POW4-06-05.doc. The

    column includes one servicemember who continues to be listed as
    "missing/captured" and while not counted in the column of living former
    POWs, this is not meant to imply anything about his vital status. One
    Gulf War servicemember is listed as missing-captured after his status
    was changed. The estimate of the number alive from World War II and the
    Korean War at the end of 2005 is based on mortality estimates from VA's
    Office of the Actuary that are rounded to the nearest 50. This report
    assumes all returned POWs of the Gulf War, Somalia and Kosovo are still
    alive, but the government has not individually tracked their vital
    status. Because of the advanced age of World War I veterans, estimates
    of those alive would be too unreliable to report.

    Congress has defined a prisoner of war as a person who, while serving on
    active duty, was forcibly detained by an enemy government or a hostile
    force, during a period of war or in situations comparable to war.

    With nine out of ten former POWs having served in World War II, the
    estimated number of living POWs decreased from nearly 32,500 to 29,000
    during 2005 due mainly to the estimated death rates for World War II and
    Korean POWs.

    Compensation ; As of August 2006, there were 16,884 former POWs receiving compensation benefits from VA. Approximately 13,000 of them are rated as 100 percent disabled.

    Studies have shown that the physical hardships and psychological stress
    endured by POWs have life-long effects on health and on social and
    vocational adjustment. These studies also indicate increased
    vulnerability to psychological stress. The laws on former POW benefits
    recognize that military medical records do not cover periods of
    captivity. For many diseases, unless there is evidence of some other
    cause, VA disability compensation can be paid on the basis of a
    presumption that a disease present today is associated with the
    veteran's captivity or internment.

    For POWs detained for 30 days or more, such eligibility covers any of
    the following illnesses that are found at a compensable level (at least
    10 percent disabling): avitaminosis; beriberi; chronic dysentery;
    cirrhosis of the liver; helminthiasis; irritable bowel syndrome and
    malnutrition, including associated optic atrophy. Also covered are:
    pellagra and any other nutritional deficiency; peptic ulcer disease; and
    peripheral neuropathy, except where directly related to infectious
    causes. Several categories of diseases are presumptively associated
    with captivity without any 30-day limit: psychosis; any anxiety state;
    dysthymic disorders; cold injury; post-traumatic arthritis; strokes; and
    common heart diseases.

    The rate of VA monthly compensation, according to degree of disability,
    ranges from $112 to $2,393 per month. Veterans rated as 30 percent or
    more disabled qualify for additional benefits based upon the number of
    dependents. Dependents of those rated 100 percent disabled may qualify
    for educational assistance.

    Spouses of veterans who die as a result of service-connected
    disabilities are eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation.
    Spouses of former POWs who were rated 100 percent disabled and who died
    of a condition unrelated to their service also may be eligible,
    depending on the date of death and how long the veteran held the 100
    percent disability rating. Those non-service-connected deaths prior to
    October 1999 are covered if the former POW had been 100 percent disabled
    for at least 10 years. More recent non-service-connected deaths are
    covered under a law that provides the benefit when the former POWs was
    100 percent disabled for a year or more.

    Medical Care ; Former POWs receive special priority for VA health-care enrollment, even
    if their illness has not been formally associated with their service.
    Former POWs are exempt from making means test copayments for inpatient
    and outpatient medical care and medications, but they have the same
    copay rules as other veterans for extended care. They also are now
    eligible for dental care without any length-of-interment requirement.

    VA periodically has provided training for its medical staff about former
    POWs, and an online curriculum is maintained at

    Outreach Campaign
    In collaboration with its Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War,
    VA launched a campaign in 2003 to ensure that eligible former POWs are
    aware of their VA benefits. Direct mail was used where addresses could
    be found for veterans who were not currently on the rolls. Those
    already receiving VA benefits were reminded of the possible availability
    of increased compensation if a condition has worsened, and they also
    were alerted to the improvement of benefits in recent years. In
    addition, to seek former POWs for whom VA could not locate an address
    and to reach widows of veterans who may have died of a service-connected
    condition, VA issued news releases and provided interviews to alert the
    public to expanded policies. Brochures, exhibits and VA Web sites were
    improved to provide more information to former POWs and the public.

    Later in 2004 and 2005, VA initiated another outreach campaign to locate
    former POWs who were experiencing two new presumptive conditions - heart
    disease or stroke - to alert them to the change in law.

    POW coordinators are assigned to each VA regional office and medical
    center and are available to provide more information. Former POWs may
    contact VA regional offices with general benefits questions at
    800-827-1000. Medical eligibility questions may be directed to
    877-222-8387. Additional information for former POWs also is available
    from VA's Web site at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/POW/.

    To view and download VA news release, please visit the following
    Internet address: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel

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