POW/MIA UPDATE: November 20, 2006

Discussion in 'POW/MIA' started by slapyo, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. slapyo

    slapyo Administrator Staff Member

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    POW/MIA UPDATE: November 20, 2006

    U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR: The number listed officially as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War in 1975 is 1,796 – 1,373 in Vietnam, 362 in Laos, 54 in Cambodia and 7 in PRC territorial waters. A total of 787 US personnel have been accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Over 90% of the 1,796 still missing, including 90+ US personnel last known alive (LKA), were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnamese wartime control.

    RESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO VIETNAM: The President visited Vietnam November 17-20th in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC), hosted this year in Hanoi. Leaders from countries in the vast Asia-Pacific region attended, including the Presidents of Russia, the PRC and other countries directly linked to POW/MIA accounting interests. The President reportedly kept his June 21, 2006, promise in letter to the League in which he pledged to raise the need for increased POW/MIA cooperation when meeting with the Vietnamese leadership. Prior to the President's arrival, the US Congress failed to pass PNTR (permanent normal trade relations) with Vietnam, though Vietnam's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) was approved in Geneva. The joint statement issued at the end of the meeting between Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and President Bush stated: "The two leaders expressed satisfaction with progress on resolving outstanding issues from the war and agreed that the two sides would continue co-operation in this respect. President Triet reaffirmed his Government's continued efforts to assist the United States to ensure the fullest possible accounting for Americans who remain missing in action, through both joint and enhanced unilateral actions. President Bush reaffirmed US contributions to help obtain information on Vietnamese MIA cases." (emphasis added)

    LEAGUE TRIP TO SOUTHEAST ASIA: In advance of the President's visit to Vietnam, a League Delegation met with senior Vietnamese officials October 23-25th in Hanoi. Executive Director Ann Mills Griffiths and Senior Policy Advisor Richard T. Childress held meetings with Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister, Vice Minister of Public Security and Foreign Ministry-chaired Vietnam Office of Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP), Vietnam's interagency group tasked with managing the POW/MIA accounting effort in their country. The VNOSMP also hosted a dinner in the delegation's honor the night before departure. The League objective, as in past years, was to lay out accounting expectations in the hope of increased cooperation and results, and the timing of this visit was critical. Progress on improved access to the Western Highlands (where many incidents occurred) and underwater recoveries was obtained. Although more circumspect on archival records, they accepted all the League requests in terms of unilateral provision of archives and documents. In addition, they provided assurances of continuing and increased cooperation and promising "good news" in the near term, with more to follow. There was a detectable change in atmosphere, possibly as positioning pre-APEC and the President's visit, but the delegation is hopeful that Vietnam's leadership will again, as in the mid-1980's, make a significant decision for more unilateral actions. Implementation remains the key.

    In Cambodia, meetings were held with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Interior, Minister of Defense, the chairman and entire leadership of Cambodia's POW/MIA Committee, concluding on a high note via an audience with His Majesty King Norodom Sihamony. To say that Cambodia is fully cooperative with all US requests for POW/MIA cooperation would be an understatement. The US description of Cambodia's cooperation is accurate; they agree with all requests!

    The new Cambodian monarch, already revered by the Cambodian people, was entirely supportive and knowledgeable. (League delegations had previously met with his father, His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's cooperation on POW/MIA accounting goes back to 1984, when the League first provided case files of all US personnel then POW/MIA due to the lack of bilateral US-Cambodian dialogue in those years.) The League thanked the Cambodian Prime Minister, other officials and HM the King for the outstanding cooperation provided and urged officials in that country to again ask the Vietnamese for relevant records.

    Officials in Laos were very welcoming and responsive, as evidenced by the many high level meetings and assurances of practical cooperation and flexibility. Discussions were held with the Deputy Prime Minister/Politburo Member (and former Foreign Minister), Deputy Prime Minister/Minister in the Prime Minister ‘s Office, the Minister of Defense, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Americas Department, and his Deputy who leads the POW/MIA accounting effort. The Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs hosted a dinner in the League's honor. Within existing limitations in terms of assets and resources, Lao Government responsiveness is high and increasingly flexible. In every instance, Lao officials were urged to press Vietnam for relevant archival records and to search their own archives thoroughly. A visit to Xepone District, Savannakhet Province in southern Laos to two ongoing excavation sites was a highlight and revealed visible rapport and excellent cooperation between JPAC and the Lao Government and people.

    Regional US Ambassadors were most supportive of this mission, and JPAC cooperation and support for were tremendous, as well as critical to success. The Defense Intelligence Agency leadership's support enabled the Stony Beach team of POW/MIA specialists to participate in all important meetings. The League has consistently worked to reestablish the integration of Stony Beach team members into the accounting process as was the case in earlier years, before JTF-FA's early commanders forced exclusion. The current JPAC Commander, his civilian and military Deputy Commanders, as well as the Commanders of Detachments I, II and III, all appear comfortable with reintegration, and foreign governments have no problem, especially in Cambodia where Stony Beach has long maintained full-time presence. Shortly there will be two full-time Stony Beach personnel assigned in Hanoi; however in Laos, their work is still limited to in-country participation during JPAC's scheduled field operations.

    UPDATE ON JPAC OPERATIONS: Joint field operations are now ongoing in Vietnam, recently visited by US Ambassador Michael Marine, Laos and Cambodia. US Ambassador to Vietnam visited an excavation site this past week. JPAC leadership also recently concluded a swing through several countries in Europe discussing future field operations related to WWII.

    The League is eligible for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) #1174

    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
  2. Vietvet1

    Vietvet1 Member

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    I wondered why you just use the National League of Families for info. Why not the National Aliance of Families as well


    A partner and I go to the National League and National Alliance meeting every year. Next weekend we will be there again. We also attend the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition meeting. What I have found was the National League usually follows the Gov't pathway and deal only with Vietnam and not the living POWs still in Vietnam (SEA) . The Alliance deals in ALL wars and also the Living and not just the Remains. I can tell you that I have found the Gov't to be less than truthful. IE... My partner attends the early meetings of the Nat'l League and listens (takes notes) on the Gov't official speaking and the questions asked and their answer. The same people sometimes come to the National Alliance meeting later and I will pose the same question to the same person. Different answers come out and I challenge them to answer why . We have caught Adrian Cronaur ( GOOD MORNING VIETNAM) in some as well. He is with DPMO and seems to be a "clean up " act. If you know the name Norm Kass... ( was one of the men recommended for head of the DPMO) let me tell you ...after Adrian looked at his watch real quick after being caught, Adrian announced he was late for a meeting elsewhere and Norm had to clean the mess up. Norm is a good man but the Gov't decided to give it to a previous Ambassador to Cambodia Charles Ray. Norm remains onboard and he remains a good source of answers. Sometimes the better man doesn't get the promotion.

    We were able to talk with Michael Blassie's sister ( Vietnam Tomb of the Un(known) Soldier and she showed us contents of the tomb her brother was disinterred from sans Michael. The contents showed the coverup and I took pictures of each piece. They knew when the remains were buried, who the remains were. I don't believe the National League gave much more than a burp on the actual info.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist...I use facts in my statements. Please remember that the Family Members of the National League also are usually members of the National Alliance. The NALF split off from the NLF many years ago because of their different goals and procedures.

    Always be aware of Gov't policy being the rule and source of information on issues like this. The Issue Remains

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