MIA Facts Site

Click on the link in the list below to go to the detailed table of contents.  WARNING:  This Table of Contents is not well-organized.  I keep trying to figure out how to organize it but each time I try to re-organize, I give up.  If you don't find what you are looking for immediately, scroll slowly down the page and read the description of each article -- there are almost 100 articles do it will be tedious.  Maybe I can get it better organized one of these days.  Meanwhile, thank you for visiting and for your patience. 

Click here to go to the What's New? page; a listing of recent articles. 

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How many Missing In Action?

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As of 31 October 2010, it's time to stop.
 

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General background on the Vietnam War MIA issue

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Complete report of the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs
 

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Current Events -- some may not be all that current

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Maps on the MIA Facts Site
 

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The Case of Robert R. Garwood

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A Collection of Phony Stories, Misinformation, Pseudo-History, Misrepresentation, and Other Mythology

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Spreading the Big Lie:  Billy Hendon and Bob Smith

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LTC James "Bo" Gritz:   A Legend in His Own Mind
 

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Links to other MIA sites

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A challenge to the "MIA activists"

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Links to sites of interest to Vietnam Veterans
 

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Link to "Three's In -- The Vietnam POWs Home Page."   Maintained by US POWs who returned from Vietnam
 

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My  book recommendations on the MIA issue.

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Read this book:  Stolen Valor:  How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of its Heroes and its History.
 

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Sign the Guest Book. 
 

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Sources for the MIA Facts Site
 

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Search the MIA Facts Site
 

Table of Contents

The following list  is linked to each article.  Click on the link to read the article. 
Sorry, but this Table of Contents is not very well-organized.  If you
looking for a specific item, browse around or use the
site search engine.

Table of contents last updated:  November 27, 2011

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How Many Missing In Action?

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How Many Missing?  : Historic and current numbers of missing men.

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The "5,000 POWs"This article provides the facts about a false claim in a Senate report that the US expected 5,000 POWs to be returned in 1973.

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Statistical reports on US personnel missing from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the Cold War.  The Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office has  on their web site several useful reports on men who are missing from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and Cold War.  Most of these reports are in .pdf format requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them -- Adobe is available free and the DPMO site has a link to download Adobe.  Some of the reports are in HTML or ASCII format.  This page has links to the DPMO site where you may download these reports.

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Read this book

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The best book about the experience of US POWs in Southeast Asia is Honor Bound:  American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961 - 1973, by Stuart I. Rochester and Frederick Kiley.  I strongly recommend this book.  It is not easy to read -- it's 596 pages long, is detailed, and contains graphic descriptions of the tortures and deprivations inflicted on US POWs in SEAsia.  It is also a soaring tribute to human courage and compassion.  By clicking on the link, you will go to Amazon.com where you can read a review and order the book if you wish.

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General Background

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The Identification ProcessHow remains are identified.

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In late May 2000, the Department of Defense approved a policy on the recovery and identification of remains of missing personnel.  Read the policy here.

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The U. S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii.  The scientists and soldiers in this laboratory are responsible for the scientific work that leads to identifications.

bulletDoD procedures to account for missing servicemembers.  On January 31, 2000, the Department of Defense approved a new instruction governing the process of accounting for missing service members.  The Defense POW-Mission Personnel Office (DPMO) has on their web site a link to the DoD site where readers can find the DoD instruction and the forms associated with it; here is a link to the DPMO page: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/special/dodi2310_5.htm   My artilce reproduces the DPMO page, which includes a link to a Washington headquarters Service site where readers can find the full directive. The DoD Instruction (2310.5) is long and detailed but I recommend that intersted people read it. 
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AbbreviationsHere is a list of abbreviations that commonly appear in discussion of the MIA issue.

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LTG Tighe:  The MIA cult activists are fond of quoting statements by former DIA Director LTG Eugne Tighe to the effect that he believed there were US POWs abandoned at the end of the Vietnam War.  This article addresses LTG Tighe's unfounded allegations.

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"The Secretary of Defense said . . . ":   One often hears the MIA cultists claiming that a former Secretary of Defense, or an Assistant Secretary of State, or a similiar senior official stated that US POWs were left behind in SEAsia.  Read this article to put things in perspective.

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The "Nixon letter."   On February 1, 1973, after the Paris Peace accords ending the war were signed on January 27, Richard Nixon sent to the North Vietnamese Prime Minister a letter outlining the terms under which the US would help pay to rebuild North Vietnam.  The MIA cult points to this letter as "proof" that Nixon offered to pay ransom for the release of US POWs.  They further argue that the Vietnamese kept a few US POWs back for "insurance" and that, when the US reneged on our "promise," they simply kept the POWs.  Here is the Nixon letter.  You read it and decide.

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The French experience.  The MIA "activist" cult claims that for many years after the end of the French Indochina War, thousands of French POWs were held by the Vietnamese and finally relased.  I have read claims on "activist" websites that the French government paid millions of dollars in ransom to free thousands of French POWs years after the end of their war.   None of these claims are true, not even remotely.  The French experience was the same as our experience:  At the end of the war, all POWs were released.   This article describes the French experience.

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Vietnam's Collection and Repatriation of American RemainsFor years, U. S. analysts and policy makers knew that the Vietnamese had in place a process of burying Americans who died in captivity or whose remains they recovered.  We also knew that the Vietnamese recorded the condition of recovered remains and the location of burial sites.  There was unmistakable evidence that the Vietnamese recovered American remains, processed the remains (cleaned and in some cases treated with preservatives), stored them, and eventually returned the remains to us.   One individual who has become known as "The Mortician" -- provided a detailed report on his involvement in this process.  The major question regarding Vietnam's collection and repatriation of American remains was how many remains had they collected and had they returned all of those to the U. S.  In June 1999  The Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office published the results of a three-year study done by analysts in DPMO, the Central Identification Laboratory, and the Joint Task Force - Full Accounting.  The study is long -- 47 pages, single spaced and double sided.  I have a copy of the study and this article is the summary from the study.  To produce this article, I sat at my computer keyboard and typed in the summary.  This article is a direct quote of the  summary of the DPMO study Vietnam's Collection and Repatriation of American Remains, June 1999. (Posted to the MIA Facts Site on July 23, 1999.)

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What the Returnees Knew About Other POWs:  The Pink, Blue, and White PagesWhen US POWs returned in Operation Homecoming, Spring 1973, they were debriefed as to what they knew about other Americans.   This article describes the results of those debriefs.

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Where to find information.   I often receive e-mail from folks seeking information on missing men or on current operations.  This article is a listing of sources of information that may be helpful.

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Accounting for the MissingA review of the history and activities of US agencies working to account for missing men in Southeast Asia.

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What to do now?  As required by law, on May 11, 2001, President Bush issued a certification that Vietnam is cooperating fully  in our efforts to account for our missing in  SEAsia.  In 1999, when Bill Clinton issued the same certification, the National League of Families stated that they "reject as invalid" Clinton's certification.  The League is openly pro-Republican.  Now that a Republican president has issued the same certification, the League is in an interesting position.

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Deserters Among the Missing?  One of the many enduring questions that surrounds the MIA issue is that of deserters and their presence on the list of the missing from Vietnam.  This article lays out what I know about the MIA-deserter questions.  I do not present myself as an expert on the topic nor do I claim that this article is the definitive word on the topic.  This article is my recollections, supplemented with material that I have picked up from FOIA requests that I have submitted, press articles from sources that I trust, and material passed to me by qualified, reliable researchers.  This article contains information on:   Mateo Sabog, Earl Weatherman, and other individual stories.

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What Can We Expect ?  :  Not every missing man will be found.  This article is the full text of the most exhaustive review ever done of the cases of every American missing  in Southeast Asia.   It provides an excellent analytic statement  as to what we can expect.

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The Facts Don't Change. While on active duty, I was attacked by the MIA "activists" because my answers did not square with their claims.  So was Chuck Trowbridge, long-term deputy in the MIA Office.  Jim Wold, DASD for POW-MIA Affairs had a six-month honeymoon then they tore him apart.  Now, Bob Jones is DASD and the "activists" are welcoming him.   Give them a few months then he, too, will become the "enemy."

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The Earth is Not Flat.  Once upon a time, the most advanced, wise, and learned scientists believed that the earth was flat and that the earth was the center of the universe -- the sun and stars revolved around the earth.  This belief held on until well into the 17th century and later in some places.  The MIA activist cult practices the "earth is flat" belief system -- they dust off old reports, letters, and what not and proclaim they have discovered a deep, dark secret.  This article deals with some of the activists' favorite flat-earth beliefs.

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The Mortician's StoryIn 1979, a Chinese - Vietnamese refugee from Hanoi entered a refugee camp in Hong Kong.  His story is one of the most important elements of the entire MIA issue.  Read the facts here.

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Selling the BonesWritten by Sedgewick Tourison, this article is a tour-de-force based on Wick's long involvement in the MIA issue.

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The Categories:  What They Are and Are NotOn many of the MIA websites, one sees references to a missing man being a "Category 1 confirmed POW."  Not true.  Read here the facts of the categories.

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The Live Sightings.  Since 1975, US intelligence has collected nearly 2,000 reports in which a source reports having seen one or more people, believed to be American(s), in prison in Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia.  The MIA "activists" like to point to these reports as proof that US POWs are still there and they like to claim that we government cover-up artists only "debunk" the reports.  In fact, most of these reports are true and accurate, they just are not reports of US POWs.

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The Trust:  Vietnamese Intelligence Services At Work.  This article describes a little known aspect of the MIA issue.  In fact, the topic of this article is unknown outside a few US intelligence folks and some historians.  Following the end of the Russian Civil War, the "Reds" (The Russian Communists) had a problem on their hands:  The fledgling Soviet Union was under attack by "White" forces and organizations inside Russia, supported by anti-Communist Russian emigre organizations around the world.   Furthermore,  the Western democracies were hostile to the new Communist regime and they collaborated with the "Whites" to oppose the new "Red" regime.  What to do?  The Soviet intelligence agencies put together a very successful operation -- "The Trust" -- that eventually cut off the opposition at the knees -- it was brilliant.  After the Communist unification of Vietnam in 1975, the intelligence services of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) ran an operation based on the Soviet "Trust." 

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"Show Me The Money."   One of the little known facets of the MIA issue is that of individuals and groups who use the MIA issue to raise money.  Groups who do this fall into two categories: (1) Grass-roots organizations who really are working to keep the MIA issue in the public eye, and (2) those who are making money off the issue.  This article reproduces the relevant sections from the final report of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs (the SSC).   I recommend strongly that interested folks read the book by  Susan Katz-Keating, Prisoners of Hope.  Ms. Keating started off supporting the "activist" point of view.  She became known to several of them and they talked with her.  She soon realized that their views were not in accord with reality so she produced an investigative work that spilled the beans on many of them and that was documented.  She has been attacked by the "activists" for fabricating portions of the book but none of them dare sue her because they know that she has the documents.

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The "Cuban Program."  Between July 1967 and August 1968, nineteen US POWs in Hanoi were separated from the other US POWs and were subjected to interrogation and torture by a group of Caucasians.  These Caucasians spoke English well but with an apparent Spanish accent.  They seemed to have excellent knowledge of Central America and at least one of the men seemed to have spent some time in the southeastern United States.   One of the US POWs subjected to this treatment died of the torture.  US intelligence learned of this event as soon as US POWs returned in Operation Homecoming, spring 1973.  The US POWs who were forced into this nearly year-long interrogation and torture believed that the Caucasians were Cubans, thus, this has become known as "the Cuban program."  Beginning in 1973, US agencies -- FBI, CIA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency -- made numerous attempts to identify the "Cubans" -- with inconclusive results.  Now (November 5, 1999) there is a resurgence of interest in the "Cuban program," spawned by an article that appeared in the Miami Herald in August 1999.  That article was initiated by one CDR William "Chip" Beck who -- for reasons that I cannot discern -- is trying to prove that the US government, and one individual in particular, covered up this hideous treatment of US POWs.  This is a twisted tale; if you can sort it out, let me know.  Meanwhile, to understand this affair, you need to read three articles; start here so you start with the facts.

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Beck Returns to Cuba.   Former Navy LCDR "Chip" Beck has returned to Cuba. He claims in a December 1999 letter to the editor in the Washington Times that he was going there to seek the truth about Cuban contact with US POWs during the Vietrnam War.  According to the Cuban report on his visit, he was one of 37 journalists who visited Cuba for a major non-event.  I can hardly wait to read Beck's claims about this visit. (1/19/00)

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Recurring MythologyThere are stories, claims, and reports related to the MIA issue that surface again and again.  They take various forms, deal with a number of topics, and some of them have taken on the stature of near-gospel.   On the other hand, from time to time, new tales are invented (such as the current bogus claim by MIA "activists"  that "the government spent more to find JFK, Jr. than they are spending to find our missing men").  The purpose of this article is to accumulate in one place these commonly repeated or newly-introduced tales  and comment on them.  In some cases, I have placed a link to an article that provides more detail about the matter under discussion.  These are listed in no particular order and I will add new items as they pop up.

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"My Adopted POW." One has only to surf the worldwide web for a few minutes before encountering a "POW-MIA remembrance site" featuring "my adopted POW-MIA."   On several of these sites and other sites sponsored by MIA "activist" groups one sees messages to the effect that "I have adopted (a missing man's name) and would like to contact his family."  These "remembrance sites" and attempts to contact families are, in my view, very bad ideas.

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Laos.  One of the enduring myths of the MIA issue, and a favorite of the "activists," is that Americans were lost in and did not return from Laos in numbers that are out of all proportion to losses and returnees from North and South Vietnam.  This "fact" -- which is not a fact at all -- is supposed to "prove" that men missing in Laos were spirited away, never to be seen again.  These two articles deal with the myth of the missing in Laos.

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Americans missing in Laos:  No mystery here   :  One of the  favorite refrains of the MIA cult is that only nine Americans captured in Laos returned.  With over 500 still missing in Laos, the discrepancy in numbers between returnees and missing proves that vast numbers of Americans were left to rot in jungle prisons in Laos.  The facts tell a decidedly different story.  There is no mystery in Laos.

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The Over Water Losses.  One of the continuing myths that plagues the MIA issue is the refrain that, because so high a proportion of the men lost in Laos were declared Missing In Action (MIA) versus Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR), this must mean that men survived and were captured in large numbers, never to be returned.  One element of this myth is dealt with in the preceding  article.  There is another factor that presents a false picture of the losses in Laos as compared to those in North Vietnam and South Vietnam :   The overwater losses.  A number of men lost in North and South Vietnam were lost overwater; no one in Laos was lost overwater.  Most of the overwater losses were declared KIA/BNR, thereby skewing the statistics to make it appear that proportionally more men were MIA in Laos than in Vietnam.  This article illustrates the effect of the overwater losses.

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Amputees and Back-seaters:  Another myth down the drain Another of the favorite myths among the MIA cultists is the claim that no amputees, no one with disfiguring burns, or no one with other disfiguring injuries returned from captivity.  They go on to explain that   the Vietnamese did not release these unfortunate US POWs because to do so would reveal that men were injured during torture or would reveal the deficiencies of the Vietnamese medical system.  This same myth alleges that no US POWs who had been driven insane by their treatment were released, for the same reason.  And, the myth goes on, no US POWs with specialized technical knowledge were released; they were all traded to the Soviets for equipment.  Now, on the surface of things, these stories sound reasonable.  I have even heard several MIA activists spouting these claims before an enthralled audience.  This entire myth is false.  Read this article for some facts.

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Phony POWs  :  Spread throughout the land are several low-life individuals who portray themselves as having been prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.  Their stories vary, they pop up at veteran's organizations, MIA family meetings, and in one case a phony POW is used as a source in a book. 

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In early October 2002, a British publisher released a book titled The Cage by an individual named Tom Abraham.  Abraham claims to have been a platoon leader with the 1st Cav Division in Vietnam; he also claims to have been captured and escaped.  His claim to have been a prisoner is bogus.  Read about him here.

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What to do if you suspect a person is a phony POW.  Follow this link for an article that has some recommendations as to what to do if you think you have encountered a phony POW.

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1?73 TH:  Real markings on the ground :   On 10 May 1973 a US reconnaissance drone operating over the Plain of Jars in northern Laos photographed a group of letters and numbers in an area of tall grass.  A lot of  misinformation  has grown up around this photograph.  There are persistent claims that these symbols were stamped out by Americans from a C-130 gunship, lost several months earlier.   Instead, the best available information suggests that the symbols were made by  Thai Special Forces personnel who were evading capture.

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The Double Standard.  Major Mark A. Smith, US Army (Retired) claimed in July 1994 that he was working on gaining the release of 572 US POWs.  In October 1992, Senator Jesse Helms announced that in "thirty to sixty to ninety days" a US POW would be freed.   Neither of these individuals delivered so much as a bone fragment.  What would have happened to me or any other government official who had made such a claim?  Why the double standard?  I'm confused.

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Identified in a PhotoOften, especially from the MIA activists, one hears the claim that a missing man was identified by a family member in a photograph, thus, he must be alive and the US government must be lying to the family.  Neither of these claims is correct.  During and after the war, the US collected scores of photos of US POWs during Vietnam.  Every single one of these has been identified.  Anyone who tells you that ". . . two family members identified him and he is still missing . . ." simply is not correct.

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A Proposal   :  This is my proposal to bring reality to the MIA issue.

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Origin of the POW-MIA BraceletsAnyone who has been around the MIA issue for a few minutes is aware of the POW-MIA bracelets.   The bracelets come in various finishes -- I have seen aluminum bracelets as well as bracelets of gold, silver, stainless steel, colored aluminum, copper, and brass.  On each bracelet is engraved, at a minimum, the name, rank, service, loss date, and country of loss of a missing man from the Vietnam War.  From time to time I have been asked where the bracelets originated.  The first bracelets were made by a young lady named Carol Bates, who now works for the Defense POW-Missing Persons Office (that is, she, Carol, was younger then than now, as we all were).  Here is Carol's  article on the origin of the bracelets.

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Identifying Unknowns From KoreaA little-known fact about the over 8,000 men "missing" from the Korean War is that 864 of these men are buried in the Punchbowl National Cemetery, Honolulu, as unknown -- their remains were recovered but could not be identified.  Now, with advances in DNA testing, the Department of Defense has announced that remains of unknowns from Korea will be disinterred and identified, if possible. This article includes the text of a May 21, 1999 Defense Department announcement regarding identifying the Korean War unknowns.

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Code Name:  Bright Light.   Few folks realize the effort that was put forward during the war to find US POWs and, if possible, to rescue them.   Drawing on previously classified documents -- and some documents that were not classified but that simply had not been reviewed -- former Army Captain George J. Veith has written a book detailing the history of the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC; later the Joint Casualty Resolution Center, JCRC).  This book is a good history of the JPRC and I recommend it for that reason.  I do not recommend that the reader accept the conclusions of the book as regards intelligence reports and sources that the author cites.   In several cases, he has made analytic conclusions that are not supportable, mainly because he accepted the word of unreliable sources or he accepted unreliable reports.   The JPRC history is good, the intell analysis is shaky.  Two more criticisms:   (1)  The book reads a lot like detailed research notes and could have used a serious edit.  (2) There are no lessons learned from the JPRC experience.  We need to recognize the problems cause for JPRC by inter-service competition, and political constraints because we operate in a joint, allied, multi-national environment today.

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Report of the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs. This link takes you to a copy of the SSC report.

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This link takes you to my article on the SSC report. In January 1993, the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs adjourned (had been in session since summer 1991) and published their final report.  The final report comments on nearly every aspect of the MIA issue.  I was disappointed that they did not spend much time  on  what the Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodians (especially the Vietnamese) could tell us.  Still, the report is useful.  Not surprisingly the SSC Final Report is  misrepresented by the MIA "activist" cult.  This article features several of the major points of the SSC Final Report.

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1991:  What a year.  1991 saw a consolidated effort by the MIA cult to influence US policies toward Vietnam -- it almost worked.

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The Japanese Monk's StoryIn 1989, the Vietnamese released a Mr. Ganshin Yoshida, an old Japanese Buddhist monk who had been in Vietnam for 25 years.  Yoshida's story -- actually, his lack of a story -- has been falsified and misrepresented by the MIA activists.  This article contains the facts about Yoshida.

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Charles Duke and Kit Mark:  A Serious Analysis.   In May 1970, two US civilian employees of Dynalectron Corporation disappeared in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.  The US Embassy, US forces, and ARVN forces immediately launched search operations to find these men or to determine what happened to them.  Within a few days, information was received from several sources making it clear that both men were killed in a surprise encounter with Communist guerrillas and buried west of Pleiku on 30 May 1970.  The Duke-Mark case has become one of the bits of mythology used by the MIA "activist" cult -- the incident is misrepresented, and, inaccurate and untrue information is spread about this incident.    Former MIA investigator Bill Bell wrote an article on this incident that was published in the April 2002 issue of Vietnam magazine.  Bell's article is typical of his sloppy analysis and wishful thinking.  The article also is a compilation of the inaccurate, misleading, and untrue information spread by the MIA cult regarding this incident.  Read this article for a serious analysis of this loss incident.
 

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Maps

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Communist Military Organization of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).

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The Ho Chi Minh Trail, 1968-1972

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Regional Map -- Republic of Vietnam
 

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Current Events (sort of)

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9 January 2006.  Almost one year ago (12 February 2005) the "National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing" (at least, that's what they were calling themselves then) announced in their newsletter that the US government had evidence of "hundreds" of US personnel imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag -- "hundreds"  -- that's their words.  Well -- folks, it's been a year -- where are they?  What are their names?  What is being done to bring them home?  Where is any more information?  Could it be that this is just another crock generated by incompetent "researchers" in DPMO?  I'll report, you decide.

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12 December 2005.  On 2 December 2005, DASD Jerry Jennings wrote to the DPMO staff a letter informing them that he was retiring from Federal service and stepping down from his position as DASD/POW-MIA Affairs.  I won't go into the details -- mainly because I don't know most of the details -- but -- Jennings had been under attack by the family organizations for some time.  While the family organizations will give long, involved explanations for their opposition to Jennings, in my experience, their attack on him comes from their not being able to control him and comes from Jennings telling people the truth and not telling them what they want to hear.  A short notice of Jennings' retirement is posted on the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/

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Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Director of DPMO Jerry Jennings recently made statements relative to the possibility of US POWs being transferred from Vietnam to the USSR that are, in a word, nonsense.  I don't know who Jennings is trying to impress but he would do better to stick with the facts -- which do not support his claims.  Read about it here.

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The National Alliance "Inside Source" Revealed.  This article will be of interest only to a few who are "insiders" to the issue of Americans missing in SEAsia.  Beginning on 11 September 2004, the National Alliance of Families started publishing claims made by an "inside source."  I know the source and in this article I reveal his name and discuss the phony claims he makes.  He is a good guy; I don't know what has happened to him; it's a shame that he will be used, abused, and tossed aside. 

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Why are we displaying the "POW-MIA" flag?  Excellent article by a Chicago Sun-Times columnist.

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Censored, again. One of the "activist" POW-MIA organizations is a group calling themselves "Minnesota Won't Forget POW/MIA."  Once made up mainly of MIA family members, the organization long ago became more "activist" and less "family."  One of their members is an individual named Rich Daly -- Daly claims to be a "researcher" for MN Won't Forget; he may be the executive director now.  Regardless, I had several articles on this site detailing some of the activities of MN Won't Forget.  On October 3, 2003, I received a letter from their attorney accusing me of defaming MN Won't Forget.  I have removed from this site the articles dealing with Daly and MN Won't Forget.  Go to this link for a copy of the letter from their attorney.

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Gulf War:  On 11 October 2002, the Secretary of the Navy directed that the status of CAPT Michael Speicher, lost on the first night of Desert Storm in 1991, be changed to Missing/Captured.  I retired before most of the work on the Speicher case was done and I am not familiar with the details.  This link takes you to a copy of the SECNAV letter -- the letter contains a brief description of evidence in the case.

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Abandoned in March 2000?  On the evening of September 7, 2000, I opened my e-mail inbox to find the usual stuff -- messages from friends and family, spam, and then I found the most amazing message titled "Were 2 Americans Abandoned in March 2000?"  The message came to me from an anonymous mailer; it was a LONG message from "MIA activist" Steve Golding in which he described a truly bizarre chain of events, including quotes from e-mail messages to/from three other people.  You must read it to believe it -- no one could make up something as loony as this.  Caution:  This is a BIG file -- it will take a minute to load.  UPDATE: (October 2000) There's more!! It seems that Bob Necci, chair of the VVA POW-MIA Committee, hauled himself off to SEAsia in March 2000 where he chased around, following scams about "Americans."   Now, a small war has broken out involving Necci, Golding, and a few others from the MIA cult.  That's what happens when you are committed to mythology.

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Glory Hallelujah !! It's happened !! The truth about the MIA issue has slipped out.   Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW-MIA Affairs Bob Jones was quoted speaking the truth.  Here it is. (August 18, 2000)

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The Sky is NOT FallingIn the normal course of events, Pentagon offices undergo reviews to see if they are operating the best way possible.  These reviews go by different names but a common one is "Mission Area Analysis," or, MAA.  The Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office is undergoing a MAA (as of March 2000).  The National Alliance of Families has sounded the alarm, claiming that this MAA means that DPMO will essentially stop looking for missing from Vietnam in 2004.  Nonsense.  Read the facts here.

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ResponseOn the Guestbook page of this site is an entry from the family member of an individual who was lost in a shootdown over Laos.   The author asks that I comment on her message.  I am not familiar with this loss and, thus, am not able to comment on details but I have provided some general comments. (2/9/00)

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Response re:  Korean War MIAs.   This article is in response to a question left on the MIA Facts Site Guestbook. (7/22/00)

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On July 23, 2000, the Washington Post published an article about the continuing gamesmanship between North and South Korea involving old men from each side that the other sides still hold, 50 years after the war.  It's not as simple as unrepatirated POWs -- and it has nothing to do with US personnel missing from Korea. (7/23/00)

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The Case of Robert R. Garwood

USMC Private Robert Garwood disappeared from the Da Nang Marine Base, Vietnam, in 1965.   Later, Garwood was with US POWs in jungle prison camps in South Vietnam.  But, Garwood was not in these camps as a POW -- he was, instead, an active member of Communist forces.  When US POWs were released in 1973, Garwood remained in Vietnam, living freely, until 1979 when he asked to come home.   He was convicted of collaboration and of striking an American POW.  Read the entire Garwood story in these articles.  These articles are the text of a report prepared for the Asst. Secty. of Defense, C3I, reproduced here in its entirety.  Note This report is long.  I have reproduced it here in sections to make it load faster. 

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Index to articles about Garwood.  This page is an index to articles about Garwood both on this site and on other websites.

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Section I:  1965 - 1969

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Section II:  In North Vietnam, 1970 - 1979

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Section III:  The Return, 1979

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Section IV:  Court-Martial Proceedings and Afterward,  1979 - 1985

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Section V:  The Court-Martial Aftermath,  1986 - 1993

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Section VI:  The Alleged "Live-Sightings" of US POWs:  An Analysis and Opinion  This section is not part of the ASD/C3I report; it is my own article.

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Book about Garwood is libel and slander.  The author of the book Spite House, purporting to be the true story of convicted Vietnam-era collaborator Robert Garwood, has now admitted that the book is libelous and slanderous and is based only on "Garwood's recollections.Spite House author Monika Jensen-Stevenson claimed that she conducted extensive research and determined that Garwood was an abandoned POW, framed by the US government.  Spite House included statements by Garwood in which he charged US POWs who had witnessed his collaboration with reprehensible -- if not criminal -- actions while in captivity.  One of these men read the book and sued for libel and slander.  In late 1999, Jensen and her publishers agreed to a settlement.   As part of the settlement, she published an admission that Garwood was her only source.  Read all about it here.

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A Collection of Phony Stories, Misinformation, Pseudo-History, Misrepresentation, and Other Mythology

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DirtbagsThe MIA issue is dogged by any number of people who spread untrue, inaccurate, and misleading information.  There are others who prey on families and on unsuspecting veterans and the general public.  Some of the people in these categories do so because they themselves are simply misinformed or uninformed.  Others do what they do out of honest but misplaced zeal.  Then there are a few who are true dirtbags -- they care not a whit for truth or for whom they hurt.  Here is a list of foks who have made my list of MIA dirtbags.

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Jerry Mooney -- NothingFormer USAF Master Sergeant Jerry Mooney is a hero of the MIA activist cult.  Mooney was an Air Force Security Service analyst who analyzed intercepted radio communications.  He has made numerous claims, most of them revolving around his claim that he saw intercepted communications proving that US POWs were taken to the Soviet Union -- "MB - Moscow Bound" as he put it.   The facts are quite the opposite.  When given a chance to show what he knew to the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs, Mooney had nothing -- which is exactly what he has always had -- nothing.  Jerry Mooney is just another charlatan and liar, making a name for himself at the expense of MIA families.

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Operation Wild Fire:  Another MIA Scam:   On 10 May 2002, an individual signing the name "Richard Barker" left a message on the Guestbook.  Barker was part of a scam alleging that the people running the scam knew of US POWs and would free them -- but they needed a bit of financial help.

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SPECTRE 17In December 1972, a USAF AC-130 gunship was shot down in Laos.  Two crewmembers were blown out / jumped from the rear ramp and were rescued.  The remaining crewmembers died in the explosion, crash, and fire.  This incident is seriously misrepresented on MIA activist websites.  Read the facts in this article.

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Another  amateur at workThe matter of Americans "missing in action" from previous wars continues to be plagued by the work of amateurs whose flawed "analysis" tends to find it's way into general circulation where it becomes final truth.  Several hundred unknowns from the Korean War are buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also referred to as the Punch Bowl Cemetery.  At the end of the Korean War, the Chinese and North Koreans turned over to the US 4,167 containers of remains.  A "researcher and author," Larry Jolidon -- I have no idea what he has written -- compared names resulting from forensic work on the returned remains, then compared the names of missing from Korea and determined that 239 of the missing were buried in Punch Bowl.  It's not that simple.  A review of ALL THE FACTS shows that Jolidon's "analysis" suffers from the fatal flaws of most amateur analysis:  simplicity and blind acceptance of lists.

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All the bad actors in one place.  In late 1985-early 1986, a "POW rescue" caper developed around claims made by Mark Smith, Major, US Army (retired) that he had a videotape showing several live US POWs.  Before this phony story ended, it involved a large group of bad actors and fools, including Smith, Senator (then representative) Bob Smith, Billy Hendon, Ted Sampley and an international criminal, Robin Gregson.  This is a long and bizarre story -- here it is.

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Tilting at windmills.  In the finest tradition of Don Quixote, self-appointed MIA researcher Roger Hall has identified windmills posing as giants -- or is it the other way around?  Either way, Hall filed a frivolous and ignorant suit against the CIA -- he keeps plugging away.  This article contains an article written by Hall with the facts inserted.

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More on Roger Hall.   One of the vestiges of the Vietnam era MIA issue is a long-standing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit by one Roger Hall of Silver Spring, MD against the Central Intelligence Agency in which Mr. Hall alleges that the CIA is holding documents that prove US POWs were not released by the Vietnamese at the end of the war and the US government has covered up this fact.  He is suing the CIA to force release of these alleged documents.  Mr. Hall formed a not-for-profit, tax exempt organization to pursue his suit.  Tax returns filed by not-for-profit organizations are public documents and, in April 2003, I requested from Mr. Hall copies of the last three years' of his organization's tax returns.  The returns reveal some facts about his organization's finances that perhaps he does not want to be public knowledge.

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Bogus claims by Task Force Omega.  This article contains claims made by "Task Force Omega of Kentucky" that are typical of the bogus claims and misrepresentations common in MIA activist cult circles.  The article also contains the facts of these claims.

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Shredding Documents.  A favorite story of the MIA cult claims that General Tom Needham, the first commander of Joint Task Force -- Full Accounting, shredded thousands of valuable documents in the US Embassy in Bangkok.  They even claim that Needham pulled his pistol on the Ambassador when he attempted to stop the shredding.  The story is horseshit, though it is based on a real event.

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No Manchurian Candidate.   For some years now there have been steady attacks on the valor and patriotism of Senator John McCain (Republican, Arizona).  McCain was a Navy aviator, shot down over North Vietnam on 26 October 1967 and released at Operation Homecoming in March 1973.  He was severely injured in his ejection and landing and endured unspeakable tortures.  The attacks on McCain originate almost entirely from  Vietnam veterans and many of his attackers accuse him of collaborating with his Vietnamese captors, in spite of testimony from other POWs as to his bravery, leadership, and valorous conduct.  Why and from where come the attacks on McCain?  The source of the attacks on McCain is, mainly, one certain MIA "activist" who is himself the source of enormous fabrications, misrepresentations, and nonsense and who has made a nice living off the MIA issue.  This individual has fabricated a tale in which he accuses McCain of treasonous activities; his accusations are based on misquotes, misrepresentations, fabrications, and Vietnamese wartime propaganda.  Yet, this story has gained the status of gospel among the McCain haters and the MIA "activists."  Read here for the rest of the story.

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Mythology Galore.    During my tenure in the MIA offices in the Pentagon, we occasionally received letters from one Paul Rifenberg from Michigan.  Mr. Rifenberg was filled with the usual cover-up-and-conspiracy stories and he apparently believed them all.  Now, Mr. Rifenberg has found the MIA Facts Site and he has been leaving messages on the Guestbook.  One of his messages reveals an enormous load of mythology.  Here is a reply -- though I don't know why I bother.

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Another Myth in the MakingPlease deliver me from true believers.  Mr. Rifenberg strikes again.  Now he has left a message on my Guestbook claiming that downed US airmen sent distress signals by using air-dropped remote sensors to punch in their authenticator codes.  Never happened -- read about it here. (July 5, 2000)

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Bring 'em Back Alive.  Would you like to rescue a US POW who is still imprisoned a quarter-century after the end of the war?  Sign up here, send lots of money, and go get 'em.  Don't be surprised if you come home empty-handed and broke.

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A Sad Story:  This article is being written in early September 1999.   It is the result of some research that I have been working at for some time.   I am not happy writing this article and wish that it were not necessary.   However, this article reveals the level to which even members of the US Congress are willing to sink to prove some point that totally escapes me.  This article is a complicated story so please read carefully.  The articles listed below must be read in conjunction with A Sad Story.

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Substantial Misrepresentations of FactThe MIA issue is cursed with a number of bullshit artists.  I thought that I had seen them all but then appeared  USN Reserve Commander  Chip Beck.  This article provides some background on Beck's sojourn in the Defense POW-MIA Office and reproduces a letter from Beck to a Miami newspaper that reveals this man's ability to spread it around.   His letter  is a piece of work unequalled in its dumbness.  This article is related to the one above, A Sad Story, and to the following article, The Official Record.

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The Official Record. This article is a collection of official documents that bear on the two articles above.  Read the two articles above before reading the official record documents.

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The Russian "41" List:   Worthless.  In 1992, the Russians turned over to the US a list of names.  They had gone through namelists of people who were arrested in the USSR between 1922 and 1968 and tried to match the names on that list to names of US MIAs.   They came up with 41 matches.  The MIA activists crowd has seized on this list as proof that US POWs were hauled off to the USSR.  The problem with this claim   is that, while the Russians tried to match the names of missing Americans to the names of people in their prison system, the resulting list is almost 100 percent wrong.   The names that they matched are names of Americans who returned at Homecoming; whose  remains have been returned; whose  bodies were recovered at time of loss; who were lost after the cutoff date for the list; or, were names of foreigners lost in Vietnam.  The list is worthless.

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"informed Americans"  This article takes a close look at a recent bit  of nonsense that is being promulgated on the MIA activist circuit.  On November 10, 1998, Steve Golding, whose site is filled with phony stories and myths, posted on the newsgroup alt.war.pow-mia an "alert" to the faithful.   The message claimed that a Russian document had been found that ". . . points toward a KGB-planned transfer of captured US Personnel to the then Soviet Union . . . "  Recipients of Golding's message  are urged to  ". . . give this widest possible distribution and take the appropriate action accordingly." This Russian document contains a reference to an alleged KGB operation that was intended to move "informed Americans" to the USSR for intelligence purposes.  The activist community insists that this is the smoking gun they have been looking for.   Not quite.  In fact, there was a KGB operation aimed at moving Americans to the USSR for exploitation but it had nothing to do with US POWs.  Read all about it here; read "informed Americans" in conjunction with the next article, "Low Beams.".  (Article added to the MIA Fact Site on March 14, 1999.)

bulletBarry Toll -- More TalesAnother of the heroes of the MIA cult is former US Army sergeant Barry Toll.  Toll appeared on the scene during the Senate Select Committee hearings, 1991 - 1993.  Toll had served as an intelligence sergeant in the detachment that supported the national airborne command post at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.   He claimed that while in this assignment -- 1973-1975 -- he saw briefing material for the Nixon and Ford White Houses and for senior military commanders.  Toll claimed that these briefings told of US knowledge that 290 to 340 US POWs were being held in Laos or North Vietnam.  He further claimed that US intell had tracked Soviet flights carrying US POWs from SEAsia to the USSR or to Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe.  Toll's claims are lies.
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 Not That SimpleThe December 1998 issue of Harry Summers' magazine Vietnam carries an article by Bill Bell on the loss of Army PFC Donald Sparks.  In this article, Bell makes that case that the Vietnamese can tell us a lot more about Sparks's loss than they have to date.  Maybe, maybe not.  It's not that simple. 

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Baron 52In February 1973, an EC-47Q electronic reconnaissance aircraft was downed over Laos.  The crew died in the crash but a vast body of misinformation has been built up around this incident.   Read this article by Mr. Robert Destatte for the facts.

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False and Misleading ReportingThis article by Sedgewick Tourison lays out the sorry story of phony POW - MIA reports.

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Greer and Schreckengost:  Two Marines and the Lies Told About Them : Two Marines, Fred Schreckengost and Robert Greer, disappeared in 1964.  All information about their disappearance indicated that they were killed 24 - 48 hours after being captured.  The facts did not stop a vast myth being constructed around them.

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The Case of CDR Donald HubbsThis story provides the background of one of the  MIA myths.

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The Case of Major Hugh Fanning.   This article provies background on another favorite story of the "MIA activists."

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"Evader Symbols"An enduring claim by the MIA cult is that the name and "secret evader codes" of missing Americans were seen in early-1990s satellite imagery in Vietnam.  Not so.  This article lays out the whole story. 

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Statement by Duane AndrewsOn October 15, 1992, Mr. Andrews,  Asst. SECDEF for Command, Control,  Communications and Intelligence testified before the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs regarding the topic:  "Did US POWs Leave 'Symbols' in Southeast Asia."  His testimony is a succinct review of the "symbols" that the MIA activists allege prove the presence of abandoned US POWs in SEAsia.

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How A MIA Myth is Born:  The Somdee Phomachan StoryOne of the favorite stories of the MIA cult is that told by a Laotian refugee, Mr. Somdee Phomachan.  Somdee left Laos in late 1984 and told an interviewer that he had never seen an American in prison in Laos.  Later, he changed his story.  This article details Somdee's phony story and the facts that refute his claim.

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LTC Phillip Corso:  UFOs and POWs, or, Dingbat Extraordinaire.  A hero of the MIA cult is retired Army LTC Phillip Corso (who died in 1998 at age 83).  Corso claimed that he personally briefed Eisenhower on reports of US POWs taken from Korea to the USSR.  Each time Corso spoke, his story became more grand.  His story is nonsense.  The best way to judge Corso's credibility is to look at another of his avocations:  UFOs.  In 1996, Corso published a book, The Day After Roswell, in which he claimed that the US reverse-engineered technology recovered from a UFO crash in Roswell, NM, in 1947.  He claims that we developed transistors, integrated circuits, kevlar, and other marvels from alien technology.  Read all about it here.  Corso is just another of the dingbats who haunts the MIA issue -- his mind left the planet long before he did.

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The "1205 Document"  : In January 1993, a researcher working in archives in Moscow discovered a document that purported to be a report made by a senior Vietnamese military officer to the Vietnamese Communist Party.  The document claimed that, in September 1972, the Vietnamese were holding 1,205 US POWs, five months before Operation Homecoming in which 591 US POWs were released.  If accurate, this document would prove that the Vietnamese did not release over 600 US POWs.  That's the rub -- it is not accurate, and, it may be a forgery. 

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General Jan Sejna's StoryIn the early 1990s, Gen. Jan Sejna, who had defected from Czechoslovakia in 1968, claimed to know of an operation that took US POWs from Korea and Vietnam through Czechoslovakia into the USSR for medical experiments.  Sejna's story is compelling -- it is also phony in the extreme. 

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ILT Earl Hopper, Jr., USAF: The Facts?  :  This is a sad story about an MIA father who insists on spreading falsehoods about his son's loss.  1LT Earl Hopper and CAPT Keith Hall were the crew of an F4 shot down in 1968.  Hall was able to eject; Hopper cold not eject, probably due to damage to the ejection system when the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile.   Hopper's father, Earl, Sr., has spread a huge lie about his son's loss for years.   Now, the crashsite has been excavated; human remains and a large quantity of crew-related equipmetn were recovered.  Read about it here.

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Operation Duck Soup:  MIA Mythology Run Amuck   :  One of the worst lies told by the MIA cult has to do with "Operation Duck Soup."  It never happened, but, according to the MIA mythology, a secret US agency ran a rescue operation into SEAsia some time after the war ended and actually rescued two US POWs.  Then, according to the cultists, we gave the POWs back to their captorsThat's right, rescued them then gave them back;  I don't make up this stuff , I just report it.  Read this article for the details.

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Mr. Cuong and The Mortician's Check   (Warning:   This story is wackier than most. )  This article may not mean much to the casual reader.  Here is the background:  One of the regulars on the newsgroup alt.war.vietnam is an individual using the name Paul Bylin.   Mr. Bylin purports to have some sort of expertise on the MIA issue.  He regularly attacks Mr. Bob Destatte, long-time Department of Defense analyst on MIA affairs, a retired US Army warrant officer who served several years in Vietnam, mainly as an interrogator and translator.  Bob is one of the top two or three Vietnamese linguists in the US Department of Defense. Bylin claims that Destatte uses an alias, Mr. Cuong, and that Bob took money from the mortician.  Neither of these claims is based in fact.  Mr. Bylin's claims are rooted in a rambling, unprofessional, and essentially useless deposition taken  from the  mortician during the tenure of the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs. Read on for this sad story of another fantasy generated by  the MIA cult.

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Much ado about nothing.  One of the many "POW-MIA" sites on the web is the "POW-MIA Freedom Fighters" site.  These folks are an inconsequential collection but they do like to give themselves credit.

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Kiss the Truth Good-bye   :  Several books have been written on the Vietnam War POW-MIA issue, most of them trash.  Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POWs in Vietnam, by Monika Jensen-Stevenson, is particularly bad because it is referred to in reverent terms by  many MIA "activists."  Read this article for the facts about Kiss.

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LTC James "Bo" Gritz (US Army, Retired):  Huckster. Retired Army lieutenant colonel (not colonel) James "Bo" Gritz is a huckster and a fraud of the highest order.  Gritz has produced a vast array of stories in which he claims that he was on officially- sponsored POW rescue missions.  Every one of his tales is nonsense.  Oh, yes, Bo did travel to SEAsia in the 1980's with some folks who fell for his bullshit but he was not on any official missions and he rescued no one.  He never even crossed a border.   Instead, Bo raised money from unsuspecting people -- he scammed one MIA family out of $40,000 and got $25,000 from an Oklahoma church -- rounded up a few gullible folks, and had himself a grand time chasing around NE Thailand.  If you can ever get your hands on a copy of the Spring 1983 Soldier of Fortune magazine Special POW-MIA issue, read it from cover to cover.  There you will find the facts about Bo's phony claims.  Meanwhile, here  are  some articles to keep you entertained and informed.  

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The mission he never went on.  In January 1966, seventeen Special Forces soldiers went on recon missions in the An Lo Valley of South Vietnam.   One team encountered heavy PAVN contact and the others came to their aid.  Of the 17, five were killed, two are missing in action, and three were wounded.  Gritz was not on the mission; he was not even assigned to the unit and was in another part of the country.  Yet, on 29 May 1981, Gritz made a speech to a Vietnam Veterans luncheon at the Statler Hotel, Buffalo, NY, in which he claimed to have been on the mission.  Read all about it here.

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. . . medals rained from the heavensTo hear him tell the story, Bo is the  true, grand hero of the Vietnam War.  Don't believe it?  Then, just look at his medals.   This article relates the details and the facts of some of Bo's claims.   If you visit   his web site, you will see a photo of Bo decked out in his chest full of medals.  The problem is that there are serious questions as to how Bo received those medals.  Read this article to see a report  by the adjutant of the 5th Special Forces Group regarding Bo's medals.

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A Legend in His Own Mind. One of the enduring myths of the MIA issue is Bo's  "POW rescue operations".  His "POW rescue operations" are legendary -- legendary and phony.  Bo's tales of POW rescues are total bullshit.   Read about it here.

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Another who is a legend in his own mindMajor Mark A. Smith, US Army (Retired) is a hero of the MIA activist crowd.  Smith lives in Thailand and for many years he ran a "POW search organization," complete with "sources," "agents," and "operatives" -- he may still be running the "operation," though I haven't heard from him in years (as of July 2009).  Regardless, it was all bogus.

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Phony Photos  :  In the summer of 1991, three photographs surfaced, each of which was alleged to be of US POWs alive, right now, in Southeast Asia.  The photos were phony.  Yet, in some MIA cult circles, these photos continue to be sacred relics.  I am working on getting copies of these photos on this page.  Until then, please be content to read about them.

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Photo Examples.  Occasionally, a source would produce a photo that was of a real person.   Here are two examples.

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Amateur AnalystsIn June 1967, Captain Victor Apodaca and 1LT Jon Busch were shot down in an F-4C over North Vietnam.  In 1973, US intell interrogated a source who described having seen aircraft wreckage and a dead American.  Given the date and location, we equated this report to the Apodaca-Busch loss.  However, a retinue of amateur analysts in the "activist community" have tried their hands at analyzing this report. 

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The Case of SGT James Ray :  This article relates the facts of a case in which a simple clerical error has been portrayed as proof of a conspiracy.

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The bus ride to nowhereWhile the focus of the MIA Facts Site is on US MIAs from the Vietnam War, let us not forget that Americans remain missing from other conflicts, too.  Spurred on by the success achieved by those who claim that US POWs were abandoned in Vietnam, there is a growing crowd of MIA enthusiasts who claim that US POWs are still being held in North Korea.  Mr. Serban Oprica, a Rumanian electrical engineer who worked for a while in NKorea, immigrated to the US and told a story about a chance encounter with people he believed to be US POWs in a village in NKorea.  It's a great story but it does not stand up to even cursory scrutiny.

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Censored   :  Avoiding the truth does not change it.

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The Mailbag :  I get fan mail.  Here are some of my favorites.

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This is an Honor?  Makes me puke.

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Spreading the Big Lie:  Billy Hendon and Bob Smith

Former Congressman William ("Just call me 'Billy' " ) Hendon and Senator Bob Smith are responsible for some of the most reprehensible actions affecting the MIA issue.  Under the guise of seeking truth and facts, these two   continue to mislead, confuse, misinform, and lie.

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Former Congressman Billy Hendon: Mendacity Without Shame   :  One of the heroes of the MIA "activists" -- possibly the supreme hero -- is former Congressman Billy Hendon.  Hendon  is a persuasive speaker and has been at the center of almost every MIA caper for over a decade.  Hendon and his claims are phony.  The man is a shameless demagogue.

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The "Island Fortress" : In a highly-publicized trip to Vietnam in 1993,  Senator Smith and Bobby Garwood "found" a spot where Garwood claimed to have seen US POWs in the late 1970s.   The whole show was a charade staged by Hendon and Smith. 

bulletSenator Smith's Cowboy :  In early 1986, then-Representative (now Senator) Bob Smith produced a source who told a most bizarre story about US POWs in Vietnam. The story was, on its face, nonsense. Still, we investigated it with due diligence. When we finally faced reality and determined the story to be a fabrication, Smith, as usual, accused us of debunking.  Representative Smith, we learned later, was less than forthcoming in his dealings with the Defense Intelligence Agency.  How about you read the details of this caper and make up your mind.
bulletSenator Smith Debates Reality  :  For some time, Senator Smith pressured the intelligence community -- specifically, the CIA -- to produce an estimate of Vietnamese cooperation on the MIA issue and an analysis of the "1205 document."  In August 1998, the CIA released their National Intelligence Estimate on those two topics.  Smith, of course, did not like the results so he has decided to do his own analysis.  I can hardly wait.
bulletBeneath the Streets of Hanoi.  In the early 1990s, Senator Bob Smith seized on some reports from a number of refugees who claimed that they know of American POWs being held in an underground prison, in downtown Hanoi, underneath Ho Chi Minh's tomb.  Several of these reports surfaced but, when we tracked them down, we found that they were the invention of one source who had started the rumor and it spread, taking on a life of its own.  Senator Smith did as he normally does:  He claimed that there are XX reports from YY sources, therefore, it must be true.  There are and there were no US POWs held in underground prisons beneath Hanoi, and certainly not in or under Ho's tomb.   Reuters news service carried two stories, one a report of Smith's claims and the other an interview with the Russian ambassador on the topic of US POWs underneath Hanoi.   On a few occasions, I have heard Smith or his supporters claiming that the Russian ambassador admitted that the area under Ho's tomb was secure, thereby supporting their claim.  Read the documents on this page and make up your own mind.
bulletThe Attack of the PrimitivesAs of this writing -- February 14, 1999 -- two activities are underway revolving around former USMC PFC Robert Garwood, the only American to have been convicted of collaborating with the enemy in Vietnam.  First, a major attempt is underway to overturn the conviction of former US Marine Corps PFC Robert Garwood.   Second, there is a vicious attack building on a small group of former US POWs who testified against Garwood in his court-martial.  In 1997, former (fired) Sixty Minutes producer Monika Jensen published a book entitled Spite House.  This book is part of the attempt to rehabilitate Garwood.  Based on the claims of a former USMC lieutenant colonel, Tom  McKenney, Spite House attempts to prove that Garwood was innocent, framed by a spiteful government.  The book is total trash.   The author NEVER interviewed other US POWs who were held with Garwood, made no attempt to review the trial transcript, and essentially did nothing but accept at face-value McKenney's falsehoods.  Passages in Spite House are slanderous toward US POWs held with Garwood and one of them has now filed a libel suit against Monika Jensen and her publisher.  The MIA activists have now commenced a maddog attack on this man and on the other POWs held with Garwood.  Ross Perot has hired an individual to "look into" Garwood's conviction.  My concern -- and this should be the concern of every other veteran who served honorably in Vietnam -- is that with Perot's money and connections, with Senator Bob Smith's position, and with former Congressman Billy Hendon's scheming, enough noise will be made to generate sympathy for Garwood and possibly have his case re-opened.  There is already talk of a movie based on Spite House.  This is serious.  (Addendum, May 19, 2000:  One of the returned POWs who was slandered in Spite House sued the author and publisher and won.  Read about it here.)
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Links to other MIA sites

bulletJoint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).  This organization is a result of combining the U. S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, and Joint Task Force - Full Accounting.  Go to the website where you will find an excellent description of their mission and operations.  It is the JPAC that is doing the real work of accounting for missing men.
bulletThe Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL)AFDIL is recognized as a world leader in DNA research and in the use of DNA as an identifying tool.  Their site is quite informative.
bulletThe Real Work  :  Want to read about what is REALLY going on in the search for missing Americans? Here is a website that is maintained by a gentleman who is one of the dedicated folks working everyday to find answers about missing men.
bulletThe Defense Prisoner of War / Missing Persons Office (DPMO)
bulletSearch the DPMO POW-MIA database.
bulletSearch the Library of Congress POW-MIA Database   This link takes you to the Library of Congress Federal Research Division (FRD) POW-MIA database.  You click on a letter and go to the names of men who were prisoner or missing in SEAsia.  After clicking on the letter, you have to scroll around to find he name you are looking for.  Each man is listed with his date of loss, service, rank, date of return (if returned), and some other info.  A link on the database page takes you to a page with the abbreviations explained.
bulletsoc.history.war.vietnam (Note:  As of December 2005, this newsgroup is empty, although it still appears as an active newsgroup.  This is a real shame as SHWV was a good place for discussions related to the Vietnam War.)
bulletFor an excellent place to find discussions of the Vietnam War, go to the newsgroup:  soc.history.war.vietnam . This is a moderated newsgroup that provides a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas on any aspect of the Vietnam War you may wish to discuss.
bulletThis newsgroup also has a treasure trove of documents, bibliographies, and FAQs on the Vietnam experience at:  http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/shwv/shwvhome.html   
bulletThe National League of Families of Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia  The League is the oldest family organization.  It is unique in that its voting membership is limited to family members only, whereas other family organizations permit anyone to be a voting member.
bulletAdvocacy and Intelligence Index.   Mr. Bob Necci publishes news releases and official documents on this site; articles are then archived for future reference and retrieval.  However, visitors to this site   need to know that most of the unofficial articles that Mr. Necci posts support the cover-up-and-conspiracy crowd, in spite of his claims to be a neutral provider of information.  Here you will find, not only  government news releases and articles, but also articles by MIA "activists" who attack anyone who disagrees with them.  Except for the factual news release and announcements, this site has very few articles that provide a balanced, factual view of the MIA issue.   (NOTE: As of 14 December 2005, this site had not been updated since 6 November.  In fact, throughout 2005, updates to this site were rare.) (FURTHER NOTE:  As of late November 2011, this site appears to be non-existent.)
bulletA Challenge to the "MIA activist" Webmasters.   The WWW is overrun with POW-MIA sites, each of them proclaiming that US POWs were abandoned in SEAsia, that the "government" is covering up these unfortunates and lying to us about the fact, etc., etc., etc.  Many of these sites are linked to one another.  From time to time, I have asked the webmasters of various sites to link to my MIA Facts Site.  Is anyone surprised to know that not one of them has the intellectual honesty to link to my site so that their readers can see the facts?  This article is a challenge to them.  In this article, I have links to their sites.  Will they link to mine?  Don't hold your breath.
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Links to sites of interest to Vietnam Veterans

bulletThe Three Walls Behind the Wall:  The Myth of Vietnam Veteran  Suicide.    The title says it all.  The claim that Vietnam veterans commit suicide at some exorbitant rate is nonsense.  Read this for the facts.
bulletThe South Vietnamese View.  We Americans tend to forget that we were not the only soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fighting in Vietnam.  We came home at the end of a year.  The armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam -- the ARVN -- fought on and on and on.  And, in spite of a lot of bad press, they did a damned fine job of it.  They lost only after we deserted them.   Here are some links to web sites that feature the ARVN and their stories.
bulletThe Vietnam Veterans Wall Washing VolunteersThat's right.  These folks wash the Wall.  
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The MIA Facts Site

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Whose Site Is It, Anyway?  There is a steady rumor floating around the MIA "activists" circles that my MIA Facts Site is not my own creation, that it is a front for DPMO analysts, and other nonsense.   Horse puckey.  The MIA Facts Site is my creation.  Where I have borrowed from someone else, I acknowledge such.  Read this article to learn the sources of the MIA Facts Site.   (Posted to the MIA Facts Site on July 30, 1999.)

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If you would like to read books that deal with facts of the MIA issue, go to my selections on the Vietnam War POW-MIA Issue at my

Home Page Bookstore.