POW/MIA UPDATE: September 13, 2006

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    POW/MIA UPDATE: September 13, 2006

    DASD APPOINTMENT FINALLY ANNOUNCED: At long last, the POW/MIA issue has a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD), Ambassador Charles A. Ray. Although Acting DASD Bob Newberry has done an amazing job of restoring a sense of mission and fighting the budget battles to retain viability for the issue since being assigned the position early this year on a temporary basis, having a permanent senior official in the job is welcome and most important. It has long been the League’s conviction that Ambassador Ray is the right man for the job, bringing the military and foreign policy background, plus relevant languages and understanding of the countries with which he will be working. The League is grateful that a person of Ambassador Ray’s stature is willing and able to assume this responsibility and looks forward to a united, cohesive effort going forward.

    PRESIDENT RENEWS COMMITMENT: Addressing The American Legion National Convention in Salt Lake City on August 31st, President Bush stated: "My administration will also continue to work to locate the men and women in uniform whose fate is still undetermined -- our prisoners of war and personnel missing in action. We will not forget these brave Americans. We must not rest until we've accounted for every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine. And we will always honor their courage." His pledge to the largest organization of American veterans was met by great applause, and the League joins our supportive Legionnaires in thanking the President for his commitment.

    U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR: The number missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War in 1975 is now 1,798 – 1,375 in Vietnam, 362 in Laos, 54 in Cambodia and 7 in PRC territorial waters. Though the names of four personnel have not yet been made public, DoD recently issued an announcement that the remains of Major Burke H. Morgan, USAF, were unilaterally excavated from a burial site near his downed A-26A aircraft, lost over Laos on Aug 22, 1967, and turned over by the Lao Government on Feb 17, 2005.

    A total of 785 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 845. Over 90% of the 1,798 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.

    NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY SEPTEMBER 15TH: The national ceremony will be held at the Pentagon, 11:00 a.m., hosted by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England. Thousands of commemorative events, such as walks, runs, motorcycle rallies, POW/MIA flag presentations and ceremonies are being held across the country this week. The White House has not yet issued a proclamation signed by the President; however, in recent years, it has come very late in the process. For that reason, plans proceed without the proclamation in hand, knowing that it will be forthcoming.

    RECOGNITION DAY POSTERS AVAILABLE: The beautifully designed poster by Vietnam Veterans Tom Nielsen, unveiled at the League's 37th Annual Meeting, is available by request to the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) by calling Mr. Angel Beltran, 703-699-1125, or by email at [email protected]. Oly the large posters were produced this year, for the first time; however, the League is assured that the smaller-size posters will be produced again next year.

    UPDATE ON JPAC OPERATIONS: JPAC Commander BG Michael Flowers recently led a US team to Vientiane, Laos, for POW/MIA talks that included a comprehensive operational assessment of results since joint cooperation began in the mid-1980’s, as well as current and future operations. Talks with Vietnamese officials will occur tomorrow in Hawaii on past, current and future operations. Most JPAC current field operations relate to WWII, taking place in Europe and Hawaii, but planning is ongoing to return to field operations in Southeast Asia next month.

    The League is eligible for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) #117

    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
    http://www.pow-miafamilies.org

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