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National POW/MIA Recognition Day

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JOINT POW/MIA ACCOUNTING COMMAND (JPAC)
Public Affairs (808) 448-1935

RELEASE NO. #08-08
September 12, 2008

JPAC TO COMMEMORATE POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY

HICKAM AFB, HAWAII – The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command will commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific [Punchbowl] at 10 a.m. on Sept. 19. Each year, a Presidential Proclamation designates the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Highlights of this year’s ceremony include a wreath laying ceremony, speeches by distinguished guests, and the playing of taps in recognition of prisoners of war and those still missing in action from previous wars.

The ceremony will be led by JPAC’s Commander Rear Adm. Donna Crisp. Keynote speaker will be U.S. Navy Capt. (Ret) Jim Hickerson, a former Vietnam War POW. The ceremony is free and open to the public. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the audience will be invited to tour the cemetery or lay wreaths at the monument.

JPAC’s mission is to conduct operations in support of achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing as a result of our Nation’s past conflicts. One American is still missing from the Gulf War, more than 1,750 from the Vietnam War, 120 from the Cold War, more than 8,100 from the Korean War, and more than 78,000 from World War II.

wwwjpacpacommil.jpg

2008
 
POW/MIA Remembrance Day
(Third Friday of September)
Thousands are still missing
From those Wars of the past
Slowly, some are coming home
To grieving Families, at last.
Some found in unmarked graves
On foreign lands across the sea
With the science of DNA
To reveal, their true identity.
JPAC was formed to find them
Around fourteen hundred, to date
And for loved ones seeking closure
It surely, never is, too late.
They think, forty thousand left
They might be able to recover
As they follow leads and tips
From, one country to another.
Some remains, may be lost forever
Like those Heroes, resting in the Deep
But, to bring those others home
Is a solemn promise, we must keep.
It's a very noble thing they do
As, they go, and search, and find
Those, who died for our Country
For, we must, leave no one behind.
Every year we have a special day
To, remember those still lost
To, renew that promise to them
No matter what, it may cost.
Del "Abe" Jones
09.18.2008
News Release
Media: For More Info: Randy Gaddo (770) 629-2613 or (770) 631-2542
For Immediate Release
Veterans/Family Groups Remember Fallen Heroes 25 Years Later
Beirut Remembrance Will Be Held Oct. 23, 2008 in Jacksonville, N.C.
Families and fellow service members will honor fallen heroes who were killed 25 years ago on October 23, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon. On that day, a terrorist truck bomb exploded in a barracks, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and 3 soldiers and injuring many others.
Thousands will attend the 25th Remembrance October 23, 2008 near Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, N.C., home of the Beirut Memorial. The memorial includes a wall with the names of American service men killed during the multinational “peacekeeping” mission in Beirut, Lebanon from 1982-84 and during the Grenada humanitarian rescue mission in October 1983. In all, 273 gave their lives in the name of freedom and peace there between 1982-84 and many others were injured, some permanently.
The city of Jacksonville, N.C. and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune have facilitated the Remembrance each year since 1984.
The Remembrance also honors the service of those who participated 50 years ago during a similar 1958 Beirut operation.
At the time of the 1983 bombing, it was the most serious terrorist act against Americans ever experienced, and a precursor of what was to come. Parallels have been drawn between it and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Some of the same terrorists were involved in both.
The 1,000-member Beirut Veterans of America is a veteran’s group formed in 1992 to ensure that the service men killed in Beirut are always remembered. The Beirut Connection is a group of families who joined together soon after the bombing to mourn their deceased men in Beirut and have stayed together since.
The 25th Remembrance will feature a candlelight vigil at the Memorial at 6 a.m. on October 23rd, where all the names on the wall will be read aloud.
“Reading their names aloud ensures that these men are remembered for their courage and their sacrifice,” says Bob Jordan, a retired Marine Corps major and the founding president of the BVA. This sentiment echoes the BVA motto, “The First Duty is to Remember.” “For just that brief moment, they walk again among us,” said Jordan.
At 10:30 a.m. on the 23rd, there will be a special ceremony held at the Memorial, featuring guest speakers, military band music and attended by hundreds of family and fellow service members.
President Ronald Reagan first sent U.S. military services to Beirut in 1982 to assist in the evacuation of 600 civilians from 2 dozen countries out of Beirut when political unrest made the area unsafe. Later, U.S. Marines helped see to the safe evacuation of Yassar Arafat and his 15,000-man PLO army from Beirut.
Marines were called in again as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force to try and keep the peace while Lebanon’s government had a chance to reform after the assassination of President Bashir Gemayel. Meanwhile, President Reagan authorized a successful military intervention to rescue American students threatened by a communist regime in Grenada. The unit that was on ships heading to Beirut to relieve the Marine unit decimated by the bombing was diverted to carry out the Grenada mission.
The Beirut deployment started quietly, but gradually hostilities among the many warring factions in Beirut drew the Marines into increasing levels of involvement. The hostilities peaked with the truck bombing and continued until President Reagan withdrew the forces in February 1984.
U.S. service members had also been sent to Beirut in 1958 on a similar mission, but one that ended without a similar deadly turn of events as in the 1982-84 deployment. The 1958 deployment is credited with delaying the Lebanese civil war for almost two decades.
Those interested in more information or photos about the U.S. in Beirut can go to the official BVA website at www.beirutveterans.org

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2007 NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY*

 

HONOR THEIR SERVICE……..FULFILL THEIR TRUST

 

 

September 21, 2007 will be proclaimed by President George W. Bush as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.  Over the past several years, all or most of the 50 states have proclaimed POW/MIA Recognition Day in conjunction with the national effort.  Please contact your Governor, ask for his/her support and for a copy of your state’s proclamation!

 

Local POW/MIA ceremonies across the country are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events across the country and the national ceremony in Washington, DC.  Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt.  America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized rather than memorialized, with the focus on the need to account as fully as possible for those still missing, alive or dead.  Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers, and now is the time to start planning for this year’s ceremonies.  The American people can make the difference.

 

Remember:  Involving the state-level Department of Veterans Affairs, plus state, district and local veterans organizations, is the key to a successful event.  Publicity must be a priority; otherwise attendance will be minimal.  To enable the League to accurately respond to media inquiries and measure national awareness impact, please send information regarding activities to League Communications Chairman for these activities, Gail Innes, by email at g.innes@sbcglobal.net, mail to her at 1360 Sandburg Terrace, Apt. 1002-C, Chicago, IL  60610, or call 312-587-8153.    

 

For guidance:  Contact your League state coordinator or check the League’s web site:  www.pow-miafamilies.org.  Additional assistance can be sought from state and local governments, military and veteran organizations, ROTC, church groups, civic clubs, etc.  A POW/MIA awareness contact should be available at each military installation, and invitations should be extended for military attendance and participation in these events.

 

To get media coverage:  Contact local and state newspapers, magazines, military, church and school publications at least four weeks prior to Recognition Day.  Send information packets, available from the League office, to editors, bureau chiefs, columnists and feature editors.  If possible, contact a journalist who has written responsible articles on the POW/MIA issue.  Write letters to the editor, outlining scheduled events and encouraging community participation.

 

Advertising:  Develop posters and/or flyers to advertise local activities in the windows of area businesses.  National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters are available from all Military Services, major national veteran organizations, the Defense POW/MIA Office (703) 699-1169) and the League.

 

 

Solicit donations of advertising space for League ad slicks in local newspapers, newsletters and magazines.  Should donated space not be available, seek assistance from local businesses or veteran groups to underwrite the cost of paid ads.

 

Invitations:  For all events, invitations may be sent to POW/MIA families in your area through the Service Casualty Offices (USA 800-892-2490; USN 800-443-9298; USMC 800-847-1597; USAF 800-531-5501), the CIA 703-874-4271, State Department for missing civilians 202-647-5470, and the League’s national office 703-465-7432.  Invitations should also be extended to area veterans organizations, local dignitaries, civic organizations, etc.  Speak to local civic clubs, veterans groups and auxiliaries, schools and churches prior to Recognition Day about the POW/MIA issue and plans for educational activities.  Get them involved!

 

Other Programs

 

You can also circulate Petitions to Hanoi as a group or individual effort for Recognition Day.  Completed petitions should be sent to your congressman and/or your two senators with a request that they be forwarded, with a cover letter, to Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, (SRV) 1233 Twentieth Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036.  This serves a two-fold purpose:  1) informing elected officials of constituent involvement; and 2) signaling Hanoi of US Congress support.  

 

Most states have memorials to honor POW/MIAs and all veterans.  POW/MIA Vigils (for 24 hours or for a specific amount of time related to the number of Americans missing in your area) are beautiful, visible displays of support for the POW/MIA issue.  Vigils can include candlelight ceremonies, reading of individual names form the state or 50 names representing one from each of the 50 states.  Congressional involvement in such events also signals support for the issue.

 

Encourage flying the League’s POW/MIA flag at the State Capitol, city hall and other local and state government buildings.  Contact fire and police departments, schools and local businesses, requesting display of the POW/MIA flag at all appropriate locations.  Check your local office of the U.S. Postal Service to ensure they have a flag and plan to display it, as required by law, on at least the six days required, if not 24/7.

 

Rededication ceremonies may also be held for flags that are already on display, an ideal event to honor POW/MIAs from all wars.  To obtain POW/MIA flags, contact the Ohio Chapter MIA-POW, Mrs. Liz Flick, 614-451-2405. 

 

Distribute POW/MIA brochures, available from the League’s national office, 703-465-7432.

7/27/07

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2006 National POW/MIA Recognition Day

POW DAY POSTER

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, U. S. Marine Corps, will host the Pentagon ceremony for National POW/MIA Recognition Day at the Mall Entrance Parade Field on Friday, Sept. 15, 2006, at 11 a.m. EDT. Congressman Rob Simmons, Chairman of the Homeland Security Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment subcommittee, will be the guest speaker.

The president is expected to issue a proclamation commemorating Friday’s observances and reminding the nation of those Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country.

Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans' facilities. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. The flag is to be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House.

Friday’s Pentagon ceremony will feature troops from each of the military service. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be canceled.


Poster - Electronic Images
For poster details and images, please click on the picture. Large quantities of the poster have been shipped to military units, veterans, and family organizations around the world.

 

Presidential Proclamation

 

Missing Man Table & Honors Ceremony

History of the POW/MIA Flag
 


Previous National POW/MIA Recognition Days - ( 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002  | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997

National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2006
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

As a Nation, we look to our service men and women as examples of courage and sacrifice. When our country and the world have needed brave Americans to advance the cause of freedom, our men and women in uniform have proudly stepped forward and selflessly endured hardships to defend liberty. We are grateful to all who have served, and on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we give special honor to the extraordinary patriots who have been prisoners of war and to those who are still missing in action. We take inspiration from their valor and loyalty and will not rest until we have accounted for them all.

On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the National League of Families POW/MIA flag is flown over the White House, the Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, U.S. military installations, national cemeteries, and other locations across our country. The POW/MIA flag is a symbol of our Nation's resolve never to forget the service and great sacrifice of the heroes who have carried out liberty's urgent and noble mission, even at the cost of their own freedom. On this day, we express our deep appreciation to each of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines and our enduring commitment to achieve the fullest possible accounting for all of our men and women in uniform who have been prisoners of war or are missing in action.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States do hereby proclaim Friday, September 15, 2006, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in paying solemn tribute to all former American prisoners of war and those missing in action who valiantly served our great country. I call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH

# # #

Return to this article at:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060914-6.html

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We pray for you each night and day, whereabouts unknown, so far away.
So much time has passed as others hopes are dashed.
We love you and miss you; our hopes forever hold fast.
We think of your plight and hold steadfast you'll continue to fight
Whatever you face till someone finds one small trace
That will lead us to you for our Faith gets us through.
We know that you're out there, stay strong as we search,
Keep looking for escape routes and rescuers, God and His church.
We will not forget you till you're home with your own kind.
Family, friends, and supporters we all do gather in candle light vigils
As we pray and discuss all the ways we might matter
In procuring your release, we will destroy this sick beast.
Those that have held you captive must pay for their actions,
The pain they have caused you and all of us who forever love you.
To those chains that bind you, SET THEM FREE is our reminder.
We're coming; we'll get you, never fail
NEVER FORGOTTEN.

ęCopyright January 2006 by Diane M. Weller

Dedicated to all POW/MIAs, with Special Outreach to Scott Speicher and family, Matt Maupin and family, and those that hold onto their Faith

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POW/MIA Update:  July 18, 2007

AMERICAN ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are now 1,780 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The identification of the remains of three Americans previously missing and unaccounted for has not yet been publicly announced; however, the statistics are included here.  Just prior to the League’s 38th Annual Meeting, the remains of LtCol Alton C. Rockett, Jr., USAF, were announced as identified.  The accounting for these four US personnel brings to 803 the number of previously missing US personnel returned since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of 1,780 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.  

PRESIDENTS OF VIETNAM & U.S. MEET:   On June 22nd, the President of Vietnam met at the White House with President Bush and members of his Cabinet, including Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.  According to US officials, the President again raised the need for increased cooperation by Vietnam, including on incidents in Laos and Cambodia, and to allow the US Navy’s hydrographic ship to participate in underwater accounting efforts.  The Vietnamese President stated agreement to increase their efforts, as did Deputy Prime Minister Khiem in a separate session, held at Vietnam’s request, with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs Ambassador Charles Ray.  That meeting was held at the Defense POW/MIA Office in Crystal City, very near the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, location of the League’s 38th Annual Meeting. 

Also during President Triet’s visit to Washington, League Executive Director Ann Mills Griffiths and Senior Policy Advisor Richard T. Childress attended a luncheon co-hosted by the US-ASEAN Business Council and the US Chairman of Commerce at the historic Willard Hotel where President Triet was staying with his 200-member, largely economic entourage.   Surprisingly, the MC at the luncheon introduced the honored guest with comments about how meaningful it had been to him, as a retired general officer, to be on Secretary of State Warren Christopher’s first visit to Vietnam that focused primarily on the POW/MIA accounting mission. His initial mention of the issue brought significant applause from the audience of prominent US corporate officials.  Unsurprisingly, the issue also figured prominently in President Triet’s remarks; the Vietnamese have long acknowledged the central role the issue played in normalizing bilateral ties with the United States, terming the issue their “bridge to normalization” of relations. 

UPDATE ON OPERATIONS:  The 100th period of Joint Field Activities (JFA) in Laos, the fourth 30-day JFA this year, began June 26th and is expected to conclude July 31st.  Again comprised of some 50 US personnel, four teams are focusing on incident excavations. A Change of Command occurred on July 2nd, during which LTC Brandt Deck, USA, replaced LTC Wade Owens, USA, as Detachment 3 Commander.  Both are Special Forces officers, as is JPAC’s Detachment Commander in Hanoi, LTC Jim Saenz, USA.  The 89th JFA in Vietnam is ongoing and will continue over a 45-day period until July 25th. The roughly 100 US personnel are dispersed among one Research/Investigation Team (RIT), one Investigation Team (IT), one Phase 2 Testing Team (P2TT) and five recovery Teams (RTs).  The last JFA, March 8th- April 21st, was extended to include an Underwater Investigation Team (UIT) that included the Navy’s Mobile Diving Salvage Unit #1 (MDSU1), operating along the coast of northern Vietnam, though without the US Navy ship as earlier agreed.

Worldwide, a survey and investigation of a WWII loss on the island of Iwo Jima took place June 17-27th, and an investigation is ongoing in South Korea June 1-30th. While conducting the investigation of a possible burial site identified by an eye witness in the Republic of Korea, the US team recovered possible remains and other material evidence; therefore an immediate recovery operation was undertaken to prevent the possibility of disturbance by nearby South Korean personnel. 

A JPAC historian recently returned to Hawaii after a brief visit to the Netherlands to observe salvage operations of a possible US aircraft and conduct interviews related to a WWII incident.  Finally, excavations on two WWII sites in Hungary and Austria are ongoing and expected to conclude on August 15th.

ARCHIVAL RESEARCH:  There is widespread disappointment – in DPMO, JPAC and the League – in responses to the US Government-funded archival research programs, especially in Vietnam.  This program has been ongoing for several years, but archival records known to exist have not yet been provided, thus the continued calls for unilateral actions by Hanoi, including by President Bush last November.  It is hoped bilateral technical talks with each of the Indochina governments that will occur over the summer will focus on renewing viable multilateral archival cooperation, among other initiatives that are or should be considered.   

WIN A HARLEY DAVIDSON SPORTSTER:  The League will receive all proceeds from a nationwide drawing to win a beautiful customized 1989 Harley Sportster that is now ongoing.  Only 8,000 raffle tickets have been printed and numbered, $10.00 each, obtainable by contacting the League office.  With a 1/8,000 chance of winning this Harley Davidson Sportster, the drawing will be held on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 21, 2007, in Washington, DC. Tickets can also be obtained through the League’s website, www.POWMIALeague.org, by clicking on Pay Pal, though handling adds an additional $2.00 to the total cost of the ticket(s).  Now is your chance to win a Harley AND support the League, a nonprofit 501 [c] 3 tax-exempt organization.

38TH ANNUAL MEETING:  The League’s 38th Annual Meeting was held June 21-24th at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington, VA.  There were two very full days of League and US Government presentations, both policy and operational, on Friday, June 22nd and Saturday, June 23rd, followed by a League business session wrap-up on Sunday morning, June 24th.   A complete report on all that transpired will shortly be distributed nationwide and put onto the League’s web site.

FAMILIES OPPOSE ANOTHER SELECT COMMITTEE ON POW/MIA AFFAIRS:  Having had many negative results from prior congressional select committees, the League is on record as strongly opposing H. Res. 111.  Introduced again this year by Representative Peter King (R-NY), the measure has slowly gained some co-sponsors, usually from Members of the House who have confidence that it will again be allowed to die in committee.  Previously disproven claims of conspiracy and cover-up are again being raised, and past investigations have completely tied up assets and resources and the accounting was put on hold to allow time and attention to responding to Congress.  The League will continue to fight against another wasteful, time-consuming special committee or commission unless and until there is nothing further that can be done constructively.  In that event, the League would then reconsider.  That time is NOT now!   

 

POW/MIA Update:  June 26, 2007

 

AMERICAN ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are now 1,783 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The identification of the remains of an American as MIA in North Vietnam on June 2, 1967, was recently announced.  The accounting for LtCol Alton C. Rockett, Jr., USAF, brings to 800 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of 1,783 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.  

UPDATE ON OPERATIONS:  The 100th period of Joint Field Activities (JFA) in Laos, the fourth 30-day JFA this year, began today and is expected to conclude July 31st.  Again comprised of some 50 US personnel, four teams are focusing on excavating incidents.  A Change of Command will occur on July 3rd, during which LTC Brandt Deck, USA, will replace current Detachment 3 Commander LTC Wqade Owens, USA.  Both are Special Forces officers, as is the Detachment Commander in Hanoi, LTC Jim Saenz, USA.   

The 89th JFA in Vietnam is ongoing and will continue over a 45-day period until July 25th.  The approximately 100 US personnel will break into one Research/Investigation Team (RIT), one Investigation Team (IT), one Phase 2 Testing Team (P2TT) and five recovery Teams (RTs).  The last JFA, March 8th- April 21st, was extended to include an Underwater Investigation Team (UIT), comprised of US personnel from JPAC and the Navy’s Mobile Diving Salvage Unit #1 (MDSU1) that completed work on May 4th.  The underwater survey was conducted in two provinces along the coast of northern Vietnam, though without participation by the USN ship as earlier agreed.  Reportedly, bureaucratic obstacles impeded inter-ministerial coordination required by Vietnam for using the US Navy’s hydrographic ship on the POW/MIA accounting effort.   

On worldwide operations, a survey and investigation of a WWII loss on the island of Iwo Jima began on June 17th and will conclude tomorrow.  An IT is working in South Korea June 1-30th. While conducting the investigation of a possible burial site identified by an eye witness in the Republic of Korea, the US team recovered possible remains and other material evidence; therefore an immediate recovery operation is in process to prevent the possibility of disturbance by nearby South Korean personnel.  In addition, one IT and two representatives of the government of Japan are on the Island of Iwo Jima to investigate and survey a WWII loss site.  That mission will conclude at the end of June.  Finally, in Hungary and Austria, one joint team advance team was working to prepare a site for excavations that begin tomorrow, this week.  Finally, a JPAC historian returned June 2nd to Hawaii after a brief visit to the Netherlands to observe salvage operations of a possible US aircraft and conduct interviews related to a WWII incident. 

US PACIFIC COMMAND (PACOM) VISIT:  League Executive Director Ann Mills Griffiths visited Hawaii May 6-9th, receiving a comprehensive briefing by MDSU1 personnel on their just-concluded Vietnam operations while there.  The trip’s primary purposes were to attend the Change of Command for US Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) and meet with ADM Tim Keating, Commander, US Pacific Command (PACOM), and his Chief of Staff, VADM Van Alford.  Griffiths reinforced the importance of retaining JPAC as a cohesive organization that includes the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL), not again separating it as long existed.  She also reinforced JPAC’s role in the issue and urged PACOM support for full funding and placing higher priority on construction of the new JPAC facility.   Significant time was also spent at JPAC, including discussions with JPAC Commander Mike Flowers, USA, Deputy Commander Johnie Webb and senior Staff Directors on issues of mutual interest and/or concern.     

 

ARCHIVAL RESEARCH:  There is widespread disappointment – in DPMO, JPAC and the League – in responses to the US Government-funded archival research programs, especially in Vietnam.  This program has been ongoing for several years, but archival records known to exist have not yet been provided, thus the continued calls for unilateral actions by Hanoi, including by President Bush last November.  It is hoped bilateral technical talks with each of the Indochina governments that will occur over the summer will focus on renewing viable multilateral archival cooperation, among other initiatives that are or should be considered.   

WIN A HARLEY DAVIDSON SPORTSTER:  The League will receive all proceeds from a nationwide drawing to win a beautiful customized 1989 Harley Sportster that is now ongoing.  Only 8,000 raffle tickets have been printed and numbered, $10.00 each, obtainable by contacting the League office.  With a 1/8,000 chance of winning this Harley Davidson Sportster, the drawing will be held on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 21, 2007, in Washington, DC. Tickets can also be obtained through the League’s website, www.POWMIALeague.org, by clicking on Pay Pal, though handling adds an additional $2.00 to the total cost of the ticket(s).  Now is your chance to win a Harley AND support the League, a nonprofit 501 [c] 3 tax-exempt organization.

38TH ANNUAL MEETING:  The League’s 38th Annual Meeting was held June 21-24th at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington, VA.  There were two very full days of League and US Government presentations, both policy and operational, on Friday, June 22nd and Saturday, June 23rd, followed by a League business session wrap-up on Sunday morning, June 24th.   A complete report on all that transpired will shortly be distributed and put onto the League’s web site.

COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN (CFC) APPROVES LEAGUE FOR 2007:  The League was just notified that all criteria were met, and our newly assigned (five digit) number is 10218, just assigned by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Washington, DC.  The League is the ONLY nonprofit organization representing Vietnam War POW/MIAs and KIA/BNR’s and their families that is eligible for donations through the CFC & United Way structure.  Despite the reality that there are many competing charities and much need, especially in a time of war, the League is proud of our CFC eligibility, knowing the tough criteria any organization must meet.

 

POW/MIA Update:  June 2, 2007

AMERICANs ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are now 1,784 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The identification of the remains of two American previously listed as MIA in Laos was recently announced.  Those identified are Major Donald E. Westbrook, USAF, from Texas, listed MIA March 13, 1968, remains repatriated September 3, 1998 and identified February 14, 2007.  The second person was Sergeant First Class John T. Gallagher, USA, from Connecticut, listed MIA January 5, 1968, remains repatriated March 15, 2002 and identified November 13, 2006.  The accounting for these two Americans brings to 799 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of the 1,784 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.  

UPDATE ON OPERATIONS:  The 99th period of Joint Field Activities (JFA) in Laos, the third 30-day JFA this year, began April 30th and is expected to conclude June 5th.  Comprised of some 50 US personnel, one of the four teams is pursuing information on ten cases, and the three other teams are focusing on excavating incidents related to a burial site, a ground loss and three aircraft losses.  The 100th JFA in Laos will take place June 26 – July 31st and consist of four recovery teams.   The 88th JFA in Vietnam took place March 8th- April 21st, a longer period of time (45 days) and with a larger team than in Laos or Cambodia. That JFA was extended to include an underwater survey and investigation team, comprised of US members from JPAC and the Navy’s Mobile Diving Salvage Unit #1 (MDSU1) that was completed on May 4th.  The underwater survey was conducted in two provinces along the coast of northern Vietnam, though without participation by the USN ship as earlier agreed.  Reportedly, bureaucratic obstacles impeded inter-ministerial coordination required by Vietnam for using the US Navy’s hydrographic ship on the POW/MIA accounting effort.   On worldwide operations, a survey and investigation of a WWII loss on the island of Iwo Jima will take place June 17-27th; and an investigation team will work in South Korea June 1-30th.  In addition, a JPAC historian returned June 2nd to Hawaii after a brief visit to the Netherlands to observe salvage operations of a possible US aircraft and conduct interviews related to a WWII incident. 

POW/MIA Update:  May 24, 2007

AMERICANs ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are now 1,784 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The identification of the remains of two American previously listed as MIA in Laos was recently announced.  Those identified are Major Donald E. Westbrook, USAF, from Texas, listed MIA March 13, 1968, remains repatriated September 3, 1998 and identified February 14, 2007.  The second person was Sergeant First Class John T. Gallagher, USA, from Connecticut, listed MIA January 5, 1968, remains repatriated March 15, 2002 and identified November 13, 2006.  The accounting for these two Americans brings to 799 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of the 1,784 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.  

POW/MIA Update:  May 15, 2007

AMERICAN ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are 1,786 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The identification of the remains of one American previously KIA/BNR was released on April 11th.  LT Michael R. Newell, USN, Ellenville, NY, was reported killed in action on December 14, 1966, in an F8E on a mission over North Vietnam.  His remains were repatriated August 15, 2005, identified November 27, 2006, and announced on April 11th.  The accounting for LT Newell brings to 797 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of the 1,786 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.    

POW/MIA Update: April 13, 2007

AMERICAN ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR THIS WEEK: There are now 1,786 US personnel listed as missing and unaccounted for by the Department of Defense. The identification of the remains of one American previously KIA/BNR from the Vietnam War was released on April 11th. LT Michael R. Newell, USN, from Ellenville, NY, was reported killed in action on December 14, 1966, in an F8E on a mission over North Vietnam. His remains were repatriated August 15, 2005, identified November 27, 2006, and his name was released April 11th. The accounting for LT Newell brings to 797 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Over 90% of the 1,787 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.

U.S. NAVY SHIP NOT PARTICIPATING IN UNDERWATER OPERATIONS: After more than a decade of consistent League efforts, reinforced by former Commanders of the US Pacific Command, Vietnam’s leaders approved using US Navy vessels just before the President’s visit last November. The detailed process required for approval is reportedly still being worked, but was not completed in time for the underwater survey/investigation now ongoing. This US Navy asset was not required for the current operations or even most shallow-water recoveries, but commitment from both governments to support the process was a significant and welcome policy change by Vietnam’s leadership. The League was pleased that ADM Gary Roughead, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, raised the issue during his January visit to Vietnam as part of the improving military-to-military relationship, as did Ambassador Charles Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for POW/MIA Affairs. Comment: Despite high level emphasis and agreement, including during Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Khiem’s recent visit to Washington and talks with Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Vietnam’s bureaucracy was reportedly unable to move quickly enough to implement the high level agreement, at least on the POW/MIA accounting agenda. Perhaps by the time Vietnam’s President Triet visits Washington in early summer bureaucratic hurdles will have been removed.

MEMBERS OF HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE VISIT VIETNAM: A delegation of US House Members, led by Representative Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Readiness, visited Vietnam April 5-7th. Reportedly, the delegation discussed matters relating to bilateral relations, the “search for Americans Missing in Action (MIA), economy and trade." The delegation also met with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Detachment II in Hanoi and counterpart officials in the External Relations Committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly. During the meetings, the Vietnamese were positive concerning recent development of bilateral relations with the US, including improved military to military relations. This was the first delegation to Vietnam from the new Democratic-led 110th Congress, and its House Armed Services Committee.

UPDATE ON OPERATIONS: The 98th period of Joint Field Activities (JFA) in Laos, the second 30-day JFA this year, took place March 6th to April 8th. Two members from the League-organized POW/MIA family delegation visited incident sites in Northeastern Laos on March 23rd. Semi-annual POW/MIA consultations were conducted in between the two JFAs; the Lao reportedly responded with flexibility to US requests, urging expanded efforts to build on successes and a review of the past several years’ cooperation.

On March 21st, two family members visited one area of the 88th JFA in Vietnam that began March 8th and is scheduled to conclude about April 21st. Such operations in Vietnam are on a much larger scale and for a longer period of time (45 days) than in Laos or Cambodia. The underwater survey/investigation team, comprised of US members from JPAC and the Navy’s Mobile Diving Salvage Unit #1 (MDSU#1) began work this week along the coast of North Vietnam and plan to conclude in early May, though as noted above, without participation by the USN ship.

There is widespread disappointment – DPMO, JPAC and the League – in responses to the US Government-funded archival research programs, especially with Vietnam. This program has been ongoing for several years, but archival records known to exist have not yet been provided, thus the continued calls for unilateral actions by Hanoi, including by President Bush last November. It is hoped bilateral talks with each of the Indochina governments that will occur over the summer will focus on renewing viable multilateral archival cooperation, among other presumed initiatives.

AMBASSADOR BILL RICHARDSON’S TRIP TO NORTH KOREA: Former US Ambassador to the United Nations (Clinton Administration) and current Governor of New Mexico and declared presidential candidate Bill Richardson (D-NM) led a bipartisan delegation to Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK) for the stated purpose of accepting six remains that are believed to be those of US servicemen who died during the Korean War. Reflecting the bipartisanship of the delegation was former head of the Department of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, accompanied by various US officials, including an Asian specialist from the President’s National Security Council staff and Col Dave Ellis, USAF, Principal Director of the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO). A welcoming repatriation ceremony was held yesterday at Hickam AFB prior to transfer of the remains, unilaterally recovered and turned over by the DPRK, to the JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory.

POW/MIA LEAGUE UPDATE:  FEBRUARY 20, 2007

 U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR:  There are still 1,787 US personnel listed as missing and unaccounted for by the Department of Defense.  The identifications of four Americans previously missing/unaccounted for from the Vietnam War were recently announced:   

Colonel Norman D. Eaton, USAF, OK, MIA 1/13/69, Laos, RR 12/16/05, ID 11/20/06

Lt Colonel Paul E. Getchell, USAF, ME, MIA 1/13/69, Laos, RR 12-16-05, ID 11/20/06

Major Benjamin F. Danielson, USAF, USA, MN, MIA 12/5/69, Laos, RR 11/12/03, ID 8/6/06

Sergeant First Class Lewis C. Walton, RI, MIA 5/10/71, SVN, RR 10/19/04, ID 10/23/06

The League extends best wishes to the families and friends of these men and hopes that these final answers bring long-awaited peace of mind. The accounting for these Americans brings to 795 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of the 1,787 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnamese wartime control.  

VIETNAM APPROVES USE OF U.S. NAVY SHIP FOR UNDERWATER RECOVERIES:  After more than a decade of consistent League efforts, reinforced in more recent years by former Commanders of the US Pacific Command, ADM Tom Fargo (now retired) and ADM William J. Fallon, now Commander of the US Central Command, the Vietnamese leadership approved using US Navy vessels.  The detailed approval process utilized for recent official USN port calls will be required, as will details of the specific mission proposed for such a recovery.  Utilizing this US Navy asset won't be necessary for most shallow-water recoveries, but commitment from both governments to support the process is a significant policy change by Vietnam, deeply appreciated by the League.    We were pleased that ADM Gary Roughead, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, raised this issue during his recently concluded visit to Vietnam as part of the evolving military-to-military bilateral relationship, as did Ambassador Charles Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for POW/MIA Affairs.

DASD CHARLES RAY RETURNS FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA:  Ambassador Ray recently completed his first visits to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam since being appointed DASD late last year.  Southeast Asian government officials, US Ambassadors and JPAC were known to be eagerly anticipating his involvement and leadership on the issue.   Ambassador Ray plans to hold a briefing on his trip in mid-February for family and veterans group representatives.  Late last year, he visited Moscow to reinforce to the Russian Government the importance of naming a Russian Chairman as counterpart to US Chairman General Robert H. Foglesong, USAF (Ret). 

FAMILY MEMBER DELEGATION READIED:   A League-organized family member trip to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will take place March 19-27th.  The group will be led by League Chairman of the Board Jo Anne Shirley, sister of Major Bobby M. Jones, MD, USAF, MIA in SVN since 11-28-72.  Participating will be Sue Scott, Board Secretary and sister of Captain Douglas D. Ferguson, USAF, MIA in Laos since 12/30/69; Pam Cain, VA State Coordinator and daughter of Colonel Oscar Mauterer, USAF, MIA in Laos since 2-15-66; and Karoni Forrester Gonzales, TX Assistant State Coordinator and daughter of Major Ronald W. Forrester, USMC, MIA 12/27/72 in NVN.  Participants have been encouraged to raise funds from local citizens, churches, veterans and other interested friends and neighbors to help defray the estimated $10-12,000 cost per person, so try to help if you can, and clearly mark your donation.   The League is a nonprofit, 501 [c] 3 humanitarian organization, Federal Tax ID #23-7071242. 

UPDATE ON JPAC OPERATIONS:   The 37th joint recovery operations in Cambodia recently concluded, and an extended period of joint investigations has now begun.  For the 97th time, joint operations in Laos, begun on January 9th recently concluded, and the 98th will begin in early March.  The 87th joint operations in Vietnam will also begin in early March.  Such operations in Vietnam are on a much larger scale and for a longer period than the other two Indochina countries.  At long last, the US completed action on a two-year assignment cycle for Commanders of JPAC Detachment III in Laos.  This step was long ago approved by the Lao Government, but slowed by the Pentagon bureaucracy.  POW/MIA Consultations in Laos were held February 19th, and the Lao Government responded very positively to US proposals for upcoming field operations in the northern provinces of Xiengkhoang and Houaphan.  Technical talks in Vietnam were held last week, resulting in some positive movement, in particular preliminary steps to implement recent high level agreement to use a US Navy ship for underwater survey/investigation operations along Vietnam’s coastline.   

Field operations related to WWII are now ongoing in Thailand and are continuing in Papua New Guinea and Palau.  A DPMO-led team recently completed talks in Beijing focused on pursuing an archival research program and restoring field operations there.  There was little to report on specific results; however, the PRC agreed to consider all issues raised by the US, and it likely will take talks at a higher level to get a more positive reaction.  Finally, a JPAC team recently returned from South Korea and discussions on renewed joint operations to begin later this year, plus discussions are ongoing for agreement with Japan to pursue remains recovery at a highly visible site on Iwo Jima.

The above clearly demonstrates the breadth and scope of US accounting efforts around the world.  It would be most helpful and facilitate the accounting if all allocated personnel billets at JPAC were filled to help deal with the backlog of identifications to be made and sites to be investigated, surveyed and excavated.  It is difficult to pursue expansion with foreign governments if the US has insufficient personnel to handle the diverse requirements. 

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San Diego Sailors Honor POW/MIA Recognition Day with a Race
Story Number: NNS060918-03
Release Date: 9/18/2006 7:50:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cale T. Bentley, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Thousands of Sailors ran or walked five kilometers at Naval Base San Diego Sept. 14. as part of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The event recognizes the sacrifices of this countrys service members who were prisoners of war or are still listed missing in action.

This is just an incredible event; said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Thomas Shields of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station San Diego. We are all here to remember those who were, or are still POW/MIA, such as my uncle who is still listed as missing in action from the Korean War, while incorporating physical training to create an overall healthy environment.

The first time this event took place 20 years ago, only 50 people participated. This year there were approximately 2,500.

It means so much to me to see such a big turn-out here today; said Damage Controlman 2nd Class (SW) William Julian of the Fleet Aviation Specialized Operational Training Group, Pacific. As a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) instructor, I honor prisoners of war and those who are missing in action on a daily basis, and its really nice to see all the Sailors here today honoring them with me.

Jim Bedinger, a retired naval pilot who served in Vietnam and was a prisoner of war from Nov. 22, 1969, until his release in 1973, was the first off of the starting line, signaling the beginning of the event.

All these people we are honoring today have done a lot for our country, as well as for me and my family," said Seaman Nancy Loethen from Amphibious Construction Battalion 1. "So coming here today and running is the least I can do."

For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.

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Naval Base Kitsap Sailors Run in Honor of MIAs, POWs
Story Number: NNS060917-02
Release Date: 9/17/2006 2:03:00 PM

By Mass Commmunication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Hodges Pone III, Northwest Region Fleet Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Approximately 120 people participated in Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton’s annual POW/MIA Remembrance run held at Concourse West Fitness Center, September 15.

The 5k run was held to honor service members who have been taken as prisoners of war or have been designated missing in action.

“Events like this keep the memories alive,” said Stan Everett, former POW. “When we watch programs about 9/11 or other things of that nature, it brings the point home that we should pay attention to our history. If we don’t remember things of the past and learn from history, we are going to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

The runners gathered in front of the fitness center to hear Everett’s stories of the turmoil he endured as a prisoner during World War II, as well as the joy he felt after his release. The participants of the race, composed of service members of various branches, gave the U.S. Army veteran a standing ovation before heading toward the starting line.

“I am participating in this run because there is a lot of camaraderie amongst the runners,” said Hospitalman Jonathan Barraza of Naval Hospital Bremerton. “There are a lot of people, whether Sailors, Marines and civilians; here for a good cause. I am showing my support because I would like to not be forgotten if I were ever in the same situation.”

Barraza, a Tulsa, Okla., native, and the other runners ran the course which took them throughout the base. Though there was a trophy for the first runner across the finish line, many of the participants run for the exercise.

“We’ve coordinated this run for the past five years to honor those who have given and sacrificed for us,” said Steve Watland, NBK fitness coordinator. “It is good to have the new generation of service members interacting with the older generation to hear some of the war stories and experiences.”

“I’ve been involved with events like this before and I feel good now that I have finished,” said Senior Chief Engineman Benjamin Rivera of Naval Brig/Correctional Custody Unit, Puget Sound. “We are showing that we still remember, but we are coming together and having a good time, as well.”

For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.

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POW/MIA Recognition Day Reaffirms Commitment to Nation’s Missing
Story Number: NNS060915-01
Release Date: 9/15/2006 7:54:00 AM
Top News Story - Editors should consider using these stories first in local publications.

By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- As Americans pause to observe POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 15, teams of military and civilian experts will be excavating sites in Europe, South Korea, Solomon Islands, Alaska and Hawaii, looking for remains to help identify service members still missing from past wars.

Teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), based at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, will be on the job, working to provide the fullest possible accounting of America’s missing and living up to their command’s motto, “Until they are home.”

Additional teams are preparing for similar missions next month in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, said Army Maj. Brian DeSantis, a JPAC spokesman.

POW/MIA Recognition Day honors the sacrifices America’s missing service members and their families have made for the country, Army Brig. Gen. Michael C. Flowers, JPAC’s commander, told American Forces Press Service.

But the day also offers an important reminder that the United States is committed to bringing its fallen service members home so they can be returned to their families -- and it won’t give up, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it might be, Flowers said.

The joint POW/MIA command is among four military organizations committed to accounting for about 88,000 U.S. service members missing from the nation’s wars. They include about 78,000 missing from World War II, more than 8,100 from the Korean War, 1,801 from the Vietnam War and about 125 from the Cold War, Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office here, said.

In addition, Capt. Scott Speicher, a Gulf War pilot, remains missing since his plane was shot down in Iraq in January 1991.

Army Reserve Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin is the only U.S. service member missing in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Insurgents captured Maupin April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy came under attack at Baghdad International Airport.

In addition to JPAC, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office here, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Md., and the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory in San Antonio, actively contribute to determining the fate of these service members and returning them home, Greer said.

Each service also has an office that works directly with families of the missing throughout the accounting process, however long it takes, he said.

Flowers said his command is committed to a mission that dates back to World War II and is now embodied in the U.S. military Code of Conduct. While most countries around the world bury their war dead where they fall, the United States promises its service members that it will do everything in its power to bring them home.

Working to fulfill that promise sends joint-service teams from JPAC to potential crash and burial sites around the world.

“We go out worldwide to recover those who are missing or to find those who are missing, so that families can have closure and so we can keep our promise to our Soldiers and Airmen and Marines and Sailors that they will come home,” Flowers said.

Once remains are repatriated to Hickam Air Force Base, experts at the command's Central Identification Laboratory -- the world's largest forensic anthropology lab -- use the most advanced science available to match them to a specific missing servicemember. New breakthroughs, including the use of mitochondrial DNA in investigations, is helping the staff make identifications once not considered possible.

So far, they’ve been able to successfully identify more than 1,000 missing from World War II, about 200 from the Korean War, 841 from the Vietnam War and 25 from the Cold War. Next week, JPAC expects to announce its first successful identification of a missing World War I service member, Greer said.

Flowers said the resolve demonstrated in making these identifications sends a strong message to the nation’s military members.

“They can rest assured that as they go out to fight our nation’s conflicts, that no matter what happens to them, if they were to fall in battle and not be recovered by their comrades, that someone will continue to look for them and not rest until we can bring them home,” he said.

For more Department of Defense news, visit www.defenselink.mil.

For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.

 
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