MIA Facts Site

Bat Bat Prison

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Background

Bat Bat is a prison NW of Hanoi near the old Son Tay prison, the site of the 1970 US raid.  Garwood claims that he lived at or near Bat Bat for a period of time, beginning shortly after he moved to North Vietnam in 1970.  Garwood's stories on his tenure at Bat Bat vary widely and US intelligence has yet to confirm exactly when he was there.  However, his description of the prison and the area around it are in concert with what we know of the area, thus, it appears that he was there for some time.

Garwood has claimed to have lived at or near Bat Bat  from late 1970 until 1975 and from late 1970 until the fall of 1973.   He has not been able to explain why he does not recall when he lived there.

Garwood's Claim

Garwood claims that he saw approximately 20 US POWs in the Bat Bat prison complex during the summer and fall of 1973, after Operation Homecoming, Spring, 1973.

Analysis


American POWs were held in Bat Bat.  It was the prison they referred to as Tic-Tac-Toe because of the arrangement of buildings in the shape of a tic-tac-toe field.  All available intelligence on Bat Bat and the area around it, which is extensive, concludes that all US POWs were moved from Bat Bat by early 1967.

There were Americans held in Bat Bat after 1973.  They were:
 

bulletTwo Americans, arrested while smuggling contraband into the southern coastal areas of Vietnam.  They were held in Bat Bat from some time in 1977 until their release in  December 1978.
bulletArlo Gay, an American who lived in South Vietnam for many years as a commercial fisherman, was arrested trying to flee Vietnam in April 1975.  He was held in Bat Bat, escaped on 10 July 1976, was recaptured in August, and then released on 21 September 1976.
bulletSeveral Americans who were arrested in the Central Highlands during the takeover of South Vietnam in April 1975 were held for a short while at Bat Bat then released.

Conclusion

Because Garwood lived and worked around Bat Bat in the early 1970s, it is probable that he saw or heard of the Americans who were incarcerated there after the war.  Garwood's claims to have seen Americans at Bat Bat after Homecoming may be true.  But, the Americans he saw there or knew were there were not US POWs; instead, they were various civilians who were arrested, held at Bat Bat, then later released.

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