Report of the
Senate Select Committee
Individual POW, MIA, and KIA/BNR Cases
Committee investigators reviewed the case files of all priority
cases and the majority of all other unaccounted-for cases on the
list of 2,265 unaccounted-for servicemen.
Current Administration Lists
Since 1987, the Defense Department (DoD) has developed a list of
priority cases totalling 269, less 73 resolved, for a total of 196
cases as of August 1992.
Included in the 196 cases are 135 cases designated "Last Known
Alive" cases. These involve Americans whose loss incidents include
facts suggesting that one of the Southeast Asian governments should
have additional details about their fate. The results from U.S.
investigations in Vietnam and Laos confirm this analysis. In
September 1992, DoD added more cases to the priority list, all
cases involving losses in Laos.
Priority List Development
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr.
(USA-Ret.) to be the President's Special Emissary to Vietnam on the
POW/MIA issue. This was the beginning of a renewed effort to
resolve the fate of those unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast
In August 1987, Gen. Vessey's effort led to the preparation of a
list of 380 individuals of priority interest. This compilation,
often referred to as the Vessey I list, included 80 of DoD's
current priority cases and became the focus of U.S. field
investigations in Vietnam.
In November 1989, 39 more cases from the original Vessey I list
were added to the priority category, producing a list of 119
priority cases, referred to as the Vessey II list. The priority
cases that Gen. Vessey pursued were not developed by him
personally, but represent the overall efforts of the DoD. Each list
developed over the past five years has represented an expanding
process of contacts and cooperation.
Today, 61 of those on the Vessey II list have been accounted for:
22 through the repatriation of remains; 39 through the discovery of
compelling evidence that the man died, even though his remains have
not yet been recovered.
The Last Known Alive List
At the time of the development of the Vessey II list, the
Administration's accountability efforts were expanded -- from field
investigations only in Vietnam to include a program of expanded
cooperation and more regular field investigations in Laos. This
resulted in the selection of 47 additional priority cases in Laos
not previously included in either the Vessey I or Vessey II lists.
It also coincided with DoD's development of a list of 135
individuals last known by the U.S. to have been alive. The effort
was part of a continually expanded process that never was intended
to be an inflexible or all-encompassing list. It included 58 cases
not yet resolved from the Vessey II list, plus 77 additional
priority cases compiled after a focused, case-by-case review
undertaken by DIA early in 1990 of the intelligence files of every
unaccounted-for American; the review was similar in scope to those
in the Vessey II list (some last known alive in captivity, others
who could have been captured alive). Cases on DoD's priority case
list are investigated in conjunction with Last Known Alive cases
when they are in close proximity to a Last Known Alive case.
The Senate Select Committee staff has prepared case summaries for
the priority cases that the Administration is now investigating.
These provide the facts about each case, describe the circumstances
under which the individual was lost, and detail the information
learned since the date of loss. Information in the case summaries
is limited to information from casualty files, does not include any
judgments by Committee staff, and attempts to relate essential
facts. The Committee acknowledges that POW/MIAs' primary next-of-
kin know their family members' cases in more comprehensive detail
than summarized here and recognizes the limitations that the report
format imposes on these summaries.
On Dec. 1, 1992, Vice Chairman Smith published a compendium of 324
compelling cases. A copy of the analyses of Committee staff and the
Defense Intelligence Agency is attached.
These listings include abbreviated column headings with the
REFNO : Case reference number
LNAME : Last Name
FMN : First and Middle Name initials
NSA : Information reportedly based on correlation by
the National Security Agency
JSSA : Information from returning debriefings in JSSA
LNA : DoD Last Known Alive category
DIA79 : Information in a 1979 DIA printout obtained by
Committee staff from Senate Foreign Relations
Committee investigator Tracy Usry
JTF : Joint Task Force casualty code now obsolete
NOK : Correlation from next-of-kin
POW : Listed POW by the Defense Department at
MISC : Other sources of information