POW/MIA STATUS REPORT
This past June 21st to the 24th I attended the POW/MIA meetings in D.C. I had the great pleasure of attending not only the National Alliance of Families’ meetings but the National League of Families also. I got to meet the Honorable Gordon England , Deputy Secretary of Defense, Robert Newberry, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs and General Robert H. Foglesong, US - Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs.
The one thing to come from these meetings is that our government is going to give Vietnam WTO status and we can't let that happen. We can’t let this happen as Vietnam has not been fully cooperating . If Vietnam gets this then we can WRITE off the rest of our POW/MIAs. THAT IS WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP. Please read the following pages and then contact your Congressmen and Senators. Tell them that Vietnam does not deserve WTO status as they know where these 17 men are and they have not given us that information. That Vietnam has not been forthcoming and therefore does not deserve this status.
After you have read this go to the Alliance website or to vvnw.org and look for the Call to Action Message and just read the instructions and this will hook you up to your Congressmen and Senators. If we don't stop this then we will never get any more information on these men and everything that we as Veterans has fought for will be lost. Please help these men and their Families get final closure on their Loved Ones.
National POW/MIA Coordinator
Information received from the
National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s
Missing Servicemen – World War II – Korea – Cold War – Vietnam – Gulf Wars.
For more information contact Dolores Alfond at 425-881-1499 or Lynn O’Shea at 718-846-4530.
Please read and react:
19 NEW POW CASES
“My review of JCRC casualty files has surfaced several messages which list a total of nine American servicemen Vietnam has acknowledged were captured alive, all of whom are listed by DOD as having been declared dead while missing. None are officially listed as ever having been a POW. This information has come from Vietnamese officials a piece at a time over the past two years. I suspect we will learn about more such cases as time goes on. While the precise fate of the nine is not clear, it appears likely they died in captivity in southern Vietnam and this is the first admission from Vietnam that these nine were captured alive.” So reads a memo titled “Vietnamese reports about U.S. POWs not previously known by the Defense Department,” and dated July 22, 1992, prepared by Sedgwick D. Tourison, Jr. during his tenure as an investigator with the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA affairs.
In the memo Mr. Tourison speculates on the reason this information was not discussed during the 24-25 June 1992 hearing before the Senate Committee in which General John Vessey, along with representatives of DIA and JTF testified. Mr. Tourison offers the following: “… two obvious explaination (sic) could be that (a) it would be irresponsible to discuss such information prior to investigating it fully, (b) they do not want to publicly discuss active cases still under investigation, and (c) they may not believe Vietnamese assertions.”
The memo continued: “A fourth explanation is that the Administration is too embarrassed at this point to even want to have this information made public. After all, it must be clear to the Administration that the Vessey/DOD-ISA “lists” have led to a relatively inflexible investigation schedule which is being directly controlled from Washington and with little seeming flexibility on the part of those on the ground to react to changing conditions. This is a direct repeat of the criticism levied at DOD/JCS/White House in its inept prosecution of the war two plus decades ago and it is evident that Viet Nam is well aware of these modalities and these new “POW” reports could well represent Viet Nam’s own effort to tie up the Administration.”
The nine servicemen acknowledged by the Vietnamese as “captured alive” are: Carlos Ashlock, James T. Egan, Jr., Robert L. Greer, Roger D. Hamilton, Gregory J. Harris, Donald S. Newton, Madison A. Strohlein, Robert L. Platt and Fred Schreckengost. Remains for both Greer and Schreckengost were recovered.
Commenting on Greer and Schreckengost, Tourison notes: “During the recovery of their remains in 1990 Vietnamese officials acknowledged they had been captured alive and killed in captivity. The U.S. Marine Corps still does not list them as having died in captivity but to have died while in an MIA status.”
Of the 7 remaining “new POWS” Tourison offers the following information:
Carlos Ashlock – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Corporal Aslock (sic) was captured alive in Quang Ngai Province. His eventual fate has not yet been determined.”
James Egan, Jr. – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Lieutenant Egan was captured alive and has reported that he died in captivity in December 1968.”
(It should be noted that Egan’s name was not on the list of POWs who died in captivity presented in Paris in January 1973. Yet, based on this new information Egan survived in captivity for almost 3 years, from January 1, 1966 to December 1968. As no other POW reported seeing Egan in captivity, where was he held?”)
Roger D. Hamilton – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Lance Corporal Hamilton was captured alive in Military Region 5. His eventual fate has not yet been determined.”
Gregory J. Harris – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Corporal Harris was captured alive. His eventual fate has not yet been determined.”
Donald Newton – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Sergeant Newton was captured alive and taken to Hospital 102 of Military Region 5. His eventual fate has not yet been determined.”
Robert L. Platt – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Private First Class Platt was captured alive. His eventual fate has not yet been determined.”
Madison Strohlein – “Vietnam has now acknowledged that Sergeant Strohlein was captured alive on June 22, 1971 in Quang Nam Province. His eventual fate has not yet been determined.”
Whatever the reason, this information was not made public during the life of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. Documents generated by that committee including its investigators were turned over to the National Archives where they remain today … Hidden in plain sight.
We immediately contacted the family of M/Sgt. Gregory J. Harris, acknowledged by the Vietnamese as “captured alive.” The family was shocked by the information contained in the Tourison memo. Sadly, it came as little surprise to us, and the Harris family that they were never told of this information. Nor, does it seem as if U.S. investigators have factored this stunning information into ongoing efforts to locate M/Sgt. Harris. Instead, investigators continue to search for M/Sgt Harris at the loss area, when in fact the Vietnamese admitted, sometime prior to at least 1991, that he had been captured.
A word about this document: this and other documents were found within the Sedgwick Tourison Collection housed at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas in mid-March. With the discovery of this document the National Alliance of Families and Mary Reitano, cousin of Greg Harris, joined forces to download and review the documents within the Tourison Collection. Through our efforts, many additional documents of value were located, and passed to family members.
Among them is a memo dated August 1, 1992 titled “Individuals Reported Died in Captivity and not listed on current DOD/Vessey/SSC priority lists.” In this memo, Mr. Tourison states: “My review of POW/MIA case files disclosed DIA/JTFFA message traffic referring to individuals DOD now has information survived into captivity.”
This memo appears to be a follow-up to the July 22nd memo. In the 13 cases cited, representing 19 servicemen, 9 are named in the July 22nd memo. The additional servicemen added to the list of men who “survived into captivity” are: Richard C. Bram, John F. Dingwall, Fredric M. Mellor, Charles J. Scharf, Martin J. Massucci, John F. O’Grady, Thomas A. Mangino, Paul A. Hasenbeck, David M. Winters, Daniel Nidds, and John T. McDonnell.
Tourison then provided a breakdown of the cases “not currently listed as having died in captivity”:
4 individuals (MIA-KIA/BNR) killed in captivity. Two of their remains have been recovered and identified (Greer/Schreckengost) and two have not (Egan/Newton).”
6 individuals (MIA-KIA/BNR) who may have been captured alive and later killed. The period of their captivity appears to have been brief. (Bram/Dingwall/Mangini/Hasenbeck/Winters/Nidds).
4 individuals (MIA-KIA/BNR) died in captivity of wounds suffered in combat. (Platt/Mellor/McDonnell/O’Grady)
1 individual (MIA-KIA/BNR) survived into captivity, was wounded and precise fate unclear. (Ashlock)
1 case involving 2 airmen from the same loss incident (MIA-KIA/BNR), one parachute was reportedly seen by a wingman, witnesses in Vietnam have testified that a shootdown correlating to this case involved two bodies seen at the crash site. (Scharf/Massucci)
2 individuals (MIA-KIA/BRN), wartime reporting possibly captured. Vietnamese witnesses testimony appears to indicate killed in combat. (Hamilton/Harris)
In 1987, General John Vessey as special emissary for President Ronald Reagan presented the Vietnamese with a list of 80 individuals representing 62 cases on which the U.S. Government believed the Vietnamese would have knowledge. Sometime between 1987 and 1991 the Vessey list expanded with the addition of 39 individuals representing 32 cases. This new or Vessey II list became known as the 119 Discrepancy List. It is important we look at these additions to the list as they compare to the 19 individuals names in the Tourison memos.
All nine individuals named in the July 22nd memo acknowledged by the Vietnamese as “captured alive” were added to the Vessey II list. Of the additional names included in the August 1st memo, only Tom Mangino, Paul Hasenbeck, Danny Nidds, David Winters, Richard Bram and John Dingwall were not added to the list of 119 Discrepancy cases. They would eventually be added to the Last Known Alive List of 135. This Last Known Alive list was based on revisions to the 119 Discrepancy list based on the addition of names and removal of names based on remains recoveries.
To put the importance of the List of 119 in perspective we need only to look at the testimony of Kenneth Quinn, Chairman of the POW/MIA Interagency Group before the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on Asia and Pacific Affairs given April 25, 1991. In discussing the 119 discrepancy cases Mr. Quinn stated:
“In terms of actually conducting investigations on the ground, General Vessey has focused on 119 discrepancy cases, which is to say those cases, which represent, from looking at all the information we know about them, represent the greatest possibility that the men involved might still be alive. We had evidence that they were alive after the incident occurred where the plane was shot down or they were lost on the ground and we don’t know what happened to them and what their fate was. So those represented to General Vessey the possibility where it is most probably or most likely that they might still be alive.”
Going back even further, we can look to the “Project X” study completed in 1976 to “evaluate the possibility of any of the unaccounted for being alive.” The conclusion reached stated: “there is a possibility that as many as 57 Americans could be alive, although it is highly probable that the number is much smaller, possibly zero.” Among the 57 individuals named in the “Project X” study, Robert Greer, Fred Schreckengost, Frederick Mellor, Gregory Harris, John O’Grady, Tom Mangino, Paul Hasenbeck, Danny Nidds, David Winters, and John McDonnell were all, according to the Tourison Memos, acknowledged as captured by the Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese acknowledgement of capture of these men should have come as no surprise to U.S. officials. One has only to look at the rationale for their selection as a “Project X” case.
Of Greer and Schreckengot, the Project X rationale stated: “Both individuals were reported in the custody of VC forces by many sources subsequent to their disappearance on June 1964. PFC Schreckengost was seen alive and in good health by both U.S. and Vietnamese sources on occasions as late as October 1974. No correlated reports of death have been received for either individual”.
The rationale for Frederick Mellor states: “After he had made a successful landing, search and rescue aircraft were able to make voice contact with Capt. Mellor. He indicated at that time that he was all right, although later attempts to locate him either by voice or electronic contact were unsuccessful. No reports of Capt. Mellor’s death have been received since the date of the incident.”
The inclusion of Greg Harris in the Project X study is based on the fact that “Two Vietnamese who were wounded during the same action from which CPL Harris disappeared reported his capture by Viet Cong Forces. Although there are no reports confirming CPL Harris as a Prisoner, there have been no subsequent reports of his death.
The rationale for inclusion of John O’Grady in the Project X study is less clear. In describing his incident of loss, the study reads: “After ejection from his stricken aircraft, Major O’Grady’s parachute was seen twice in the air and once on the ground by a wingman of his flight. However, search and rescue aircraft were unable to re-locate his position.”
The case rationale for Mangino, Hasenbeck, Nidds and Winters reads: “When last seen, all of the men were alive and unhurt in a sampan, and all could swim. An extensive search found nothing. One informant report indicates possible capture, but there have been no subsequent reports of death for any of the individuals in this incident.”
Lastly, perhaps the most compelling of the Project X cases is that of Army Captain John T. McDonnell. The rationale for including McDonnell in the Project X study reads: “The other crewmember survived the aircraft crash and was subsequently found and medically evacuated. All signs indicated CPT McDonnell left the aircraft under his own power. No correlated reports of Capt. McDonnell’s death have been received since the incident date.”
The reports goes on …
19 New POW cases … captured alive … survived into captivity … yet none of the 19 were acknowledged as captured or died in captivity by the Vietnamese in January of 1973. Today, 17 of the 19 remain unaccounted for, still listed as Missing in Action in spite of the fact that the Vietnamese have acknowledged their captivity. We hear, in glowing terms, of Vietnamese full cooperation on the POW/MIA issue. Yet, we continue to negotiate for new levels of that cooperation while waiting for the Vietnamese to return men they admit were captured. It doesn’t sound like full cooperation to us.
But the documents quoted here are not Vietnamese documents. They are U.S. documents generated by the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, based on reports from the Vietnamese, and real time intelligence. Yet, these documents and others remain largely ignored by DPMO.
How much more information on our unaccounted for service personnel remains available and ignored?
How many more servicemen were captured by the enemy and remain unacknowledged?
The answers are in Hanoi, the National Archives, Library of Congress and at Texas Tech.We need answers. Contact your Congressmen and Senators and ask for answers before Vietnam gets the WTO status they so badly want. We want answers first!
Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc.
Statement / Book List / Links
Some of you may be aware that VVnW and the Veterans Coalition introduced a lesson program in elementary schools (starting in 1999) teaching children, their parents (through homework) and school teachers about the meaning of the POW/ MIA flag. As part of the lesson program, we ask each child to write a letter to the familiy of a US serviceman listed as MIA from the Vietnam War. (Letters are forwarded to the National League of Familes).
Students sometimes receive letters back from families. Here's one that I take the liberty to share:
April 4, 2005
To: Joey C.
HC Johnson Elementary School
Jackson, New Jersey
" Dear Joey,
A couple of years ago you were studying about the POW/ MIA flag. You wrote our family a letter because my brother Lance Corporal Samuel A. Sharp was missing. I just wanted to let you know he is coming home for burial. We are so happy he will finally be home.
Thank you and your class for all your thoughts. "
Footnote from Yoge Mountain: LCpl Samuel A. Sharp (Sam) was laid to rest on Saturday, April 23, 2005 at Oakhill Memorial Park, San Hose, California. Sam's family finally has closure, and Sam is finally home.
For background info. see: http://www.virtualwall.org/ds/SharpSA01a.htm
FACTS DO NOT CEASE TO EXIST
SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE IGNORED
This page on the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. website, is dedicated to five distinct groups that make up the hub of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action issue from all wars.
To POW's: To all Americans who have been imprisoned in any war. Each person who has worn the uniform and fought the battle understands the nature of sacrifice. And while our military history reflects the glories associated with our victories, it also reflects the tragedies inherent in war...those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice; those who have returned maimed and wounded, many of whom will never be whole again...all, combat
veterans. Anyone caught in a firefight, flying through flak, patrolling the jungle or desert dunes while sensing ambush or working desperately to perform triage in a make-shift hospital is a prisoner of war. But we owe a special debt of respect and gratitude to those who were captured and yet still kept faith, even while deprived of their freedom, victimized by brutal tortures by captors whose nations could not be viewed on a plane of moral equality with other civilized nations. War behind barbed wire is a war waged against hunger, disease, brutality, fear, boredom and the temptation to yield to self pity and despair.
The prisoner of war story is on of how humans endured under desperate conditions and triumphed over appalling adversities. As a prisoner of war you find yourself in a dimension alien to one ever experienced before and live through a roller coaster of emotional experiences that are both debilitating and devastating. It is so humbling and despairing to learn that your life is of such small value or concern to your enemy. As Winston Churchill, a former POW said, "You are in the power of your enemy, you owe your life to his humanity and your daily bread to his compassion. You must
obey his orders; go where he tells you, stay where you are bid..."
When we hear the Star Spangled Banner, we are reminded that our National Anthem, symbol of freedom and liberty was written by a prisoner of war. Francis Scott Key wrote the words while imprisoned on a British battle-ship off Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
In the words of Arnold Bocksel, former Japanese Prisoner of War, who lived through the horrors of the Bataan-Corregidor Death March..."The POW experience is like having a serious wound that eventually heals but leaves a permanent ugly scar. We who have survived do not consider ourselves as heroes...only survivors...If there were any heroes among us, it was those who perished...Those who gave up their tomorrow's so we could have our today's".
To the Families: America's POW's and servicemen and servicewomen have met the test of personal honor and so have the families of those still missing from past American wars. For these families, the wounds of conflict have been especially slow to heal. For them, there has been no joyous reunions, nor even the solace of certainty ratified by a flag draped casket and the solemn sound of taps. There has been no grave to visit and often no peace from gnawing doubt. For them, there has been only the search for answers through the years, with little support from their own government; many having their personal efforts stonewalled by a bureaucracy with "a mind-set to debunk". Their search for answers is understandable because to them, POW/MIA is not merely an issue or a symbolic figure on a black and white flag, it is a sibling, a parent, a spouse or a child. These families deserve our nation's
gratitude and to them we pay tribute. As long as there is one family member dissatisfied with the governments answers as to the fate of their loved one ...we will still be in business.
To those who keep the issue alive: To those who fight against forgetting; the veterans and activists, who never stop pushing for answers to their persistent questions and students with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and truth. To the select few brave souls in journalism and the media who dare to expose the cover-ups and denials. To those American citizens and their comrades from other countries who demand the truth by constantly asking "WHY?" and "WHAT IS BEING DONE?"
To Governments: First, we salute those in position in all governments who rule the people through trust, morality and the truth. We honor those who dare to raise the consciousness surrounding the truth of accountability before closure by giving their time and energy to chair committees, spending countless hours reading intelligence and who challenge their colleagues who
policy-making positions. These honorable men and women who rattle cages on behalf of our missing American service personnel, sometimes risking their own careers and personal safety, are also heroes.
Second, we challenge those in government who use their elected or
appointed office for their own hidden agenda. These are the public
officials who put up smoke screens and debunk credible evidence produced by credible witnesses. We challenge the uneducated Senators and Congressional Representatives to listen and learn the facts concerning the POW/MIA issue and to take a positive stand when forming legislation which will affect, not only past U.S. service personnel but those who serve today and plan to protect our freedom tomorrow.
To Future Military Service Personnel: It is you, the young men and women of the United States of America, that the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. dedicates this last part of this page to. When you raise your right hand to defend the Constitution, you need to know that should you become missing in action your government will make EVERY EFFORT to account for you and bring you home. In an essence, our advocacy for the POW/MIA issue is your insurance policy.
Amidst the uncertainties of war, every soldier is entitled to one
certainty...that he will not be forgotten. As a former POW Eugene "Red" McDaniel stated...as an American asked to serve, I was prepared to fight, to be wounded, to be captured and even prepared to die, but I was not prepared to be abandoned. It is that one American is not worth the effort to be found, we, as Americans, have lost.
The Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. have again taken up arms and are fully prepared to do battle with the enemy. Our weapons are the truth, support of protective legislation, and faith in God to give us strength to reach our goal of an honest accounting of our POW's and MIA's. We invite you to join us here at the website where we will provide up-to-date information and action sheets for you to respond to. We have a book list for expanding your knowledge and addresses to other POW/MIA links.
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(Recommended reading only, not for sale)
THE BAMBOO CAGE
by Nigel Cawthorne
Barnes and Noble, Publishers
"The full story of the American Servicemen Still Held Hostage in South-East Asia"
"Major Mark Smith, a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran ...former POW...accorded the honor of being the first off the plane...during Operation Homecoming...worked with Sergeant Melvin McIntire...went on missions to Laos...brought back evidence, reported this...told there is no interest in the part of the United States Government!"
KISS THE BOYS GOODBYE
by Monika Jensen-Stevenson
Barnes and Noble, Publishers
"How the United States Betrayed it's own POW's in Vietnam"
"In 1985, Jensen-Stevenson was developing a segment for 60 Minutes on ex-marine Bobby Garwood, who escaped from Vietnam in 1979...claimed to be a prisoner of war...the government disagreed and convicted him...of collaboration with the enemy, burying his story of prisoners along with his reputation."
THE MEN WE LEFT BEHIND
by Mark Sauter and Jim Sanders
The U.S. Veteran Dispatch - 1-800-452-8906 (information)
"Explores secret Communist offers to ransom American POW's and the explosive evidence that some Americans were secretly returned to the United States years after the war ended."
by John G. Brown
John M.G. Brown, P.O. Box 30, Patrolia, CA 95558 (order info)
"Policy, Politics and the POW/MIA Dilemma"
RICE MEN AND BARBED WIRE
by Arnold A Bocksel
Michael B Glass & Associates (Publishers)
"A True Epic of Americans as Japanese POW's"
"...the person who wrote this narrative is still alive today, more than 45 years after the events..." Mr. Bocksel survived in Japanese POW camps of World War II...thousands taken prisoner from The American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor did not survive.
"It is now April 1945...been prisoners a long, long time...hard...to realize that we survivors have to endure so long...the survivors were the stronger ones...so far the 'luckier' ones...no denying that death was a kind release for many thought we would never get out alive."
SCARS AND STRIPES
by Eugene B. McDaniel, Capt. USN
American Defense Institute - 703-519-7000 (order info)
"The True Story of One Man's Courage in Facing Death as a Vietnam POW"
"During the long night hours...through the endless months of captivity, I learned to pray drawing on the goodness of God...My strength to face each new crack of light meant another day...first light on, I was forced to face the grittiness of clinging to the narrow edge of survival."
SOLDIERS OF MISFORTUNE
by Mark Sauter, Jim Sanders and R. Cort Kirkwood
The U.S. Veteran Dispatch - 1-800-452-8906 (order info)
"Washington's Secret Betrayal of American POW's in the Soviet Union"
"...Thousands of American POW's held captive by the Soviet Union...United States government officials who lied about their fate." "Authors neared the truth...top level Pentagon officials attempted to 'neutralize' and silence them...to bury the truth from the public."
AFTER THE HERO'S WELCOME
by Dorothy McDaniel
"A POW Wife's Story of the Battle Against a New Enemy"
"...for six years in a POW camp. Dorothy did not know whether Red was alive...At home, she waged a battle on two fronts: one against the Hanoi government...the second against Washington politicians who...didn't seem to care about Red and the others missing."
United States Senate Select Committee On POW/MIA Affairs
January 13, 1993
202-224-7880 (order info)
"The Committee's purpose...Our nation has been haunted by the possibility that some of the missing may have survived and that, somewhere in Southeast Asia, brave men remain in captivity...it (Select Committee) was created to investigate and tell publicly the complete story about what our government has known, and what it is doing and has done on behalf of our POW/MIA's."
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National Alliance of Families - http://www.nationalalliance.org/
Advocacy & Intelligence Index - Fax Network - http://www.aiipowmia.com/
Library of Congress - POW Database - http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pow/powhome.html
Roger and Pam Young's HomePage - http://members.aol.com/bear317/nwvets.htm
Col. Ted Guy - Former Pow- Take a journey to the Hanoi Hilton & attached villas http://www.soft-vision.com/hanoi/index1.html
Robert Weaver's - York County, PA, Remembers! http://members.tripod.com/~bobbymeisters/index.html
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The book list and list of related links are not neccessarily the thoughts and views of Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc.. They appear on this page as a way for people to obtain information, to expand their knowledge and to disseminate the information as the reader or viewer wishes! Thank You.
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