POW/MIA Update 73 ► National League of POW/MIA Families Report STATUS OF THE POW/MIA ISSUE: May 19, 2016
1,620 Americans are now listed by DoD as missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War: Vietnam - 1,263 (VN-465, VS-798); Laos–301; Cambodia-49; Peoples Republic of China territorial waters–7. (These numbers fluctuate due to investigations resulting in changed locations of loss.) The League seeks the fullest possible accounting for those still missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains. Highest priority is accounting for Americans last known alive. US intelligence indicates some Americans known to be in captivity in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were not returned at the end of the war. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it must be assumed that these Americans could still be alive, and the US Government should not rule out that possibility.
Vietnam established comprehensive wartime and post-war processes to collect and retain information and remains; thus, unilateral efforts by them offered significant potential. Vietnam has since taken many unilateral actions that are welcome and appreciated, plus announced that there are no obstacles to full cooperation. Recently, Vietnam has increased implementation of commitments to provide long-sought archival records with relevant, case-related information, thanks in part to improvement of working-level efforts, but primarily due to increased bilateral relations across the board. The early 2015 League Delegation brought commitments that offered real promise for increased success. First undertaken in northern Vietnam in 1985, joint field operations have dramatically changed and are now much more effective. Vietnamese officials are participating with greater seriousness and professionalism, achieving increased results, including both US-led Joint Excavation Teams and Vietnamese Recovery Teams (VRTs), led by Vietnamese and supported by a few US personnel. This formula allows a greater number of teams to “increase the pace and scope of field operations,” as requested by Vietnam during discussions since 2009. Due to increased military-to-military cooperation, US Navy assets are now allowed to participate in underwater survey and recovery operations, when requested. These steps, long advocated by the League, are now coming to fruition and are reportedly are raised by US officials at all levels.
After a rough period, joint field operations in Laos are now increasingly productive, even though more difficult than elsewhere. Accounting efforts had slowed due to Lao Government inflexibility, attempting to over-price payment for helicopter support and denying permission for ground transport to accessible incident sites. Laos is now showing greater flexibility, earlier having increased the number of US personnel permitted in-country, now allowing ground transport to accessible sites, and has renewed a business license to a foreign company to provide reliable, small helicopter support. When helpful, Vietnamese witnesses are also allowed to participate in joint US-Lao operations. DIA’s Stony Beach POW/MIA specialist is assigned full time in-country; however, his efforts are impeded by Lao reluctance to permit him to operate outside the confines of scheduled DPAA field operations. Also, despite strong support from, and interventions by, US Ambassador Dan Clune, a border dispute with Cambodia that was ongoing when the League Delegation visited over a year ago continues to impede recovery operations in that area. The League urges officials in Laos and Cambodia to temporarily set aside their political disagreement and work trilaterally with the US to procced on this humanitarian recovery.
Related to DIA’s Stony Beach Team, one Cambodia specialist works full time at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, and research and field operations in Cambodia have received excellent support. Two Stony Beach personnel have for years rotated on temporary duty in and out of Vietnam, collecting information via archival research and interviews of potential witnesses. Vietnam was long ago requested to permit, and is still reportedly considering, permanent status for these two POW/MIA specialists. Successive US Ambassadors have strongly supported this important move, but increases in bilateral military relations should be sufficient to overcome any reluctance. The US Ambassador to Laos continues to support full use of the Lao specialist. It is hoped that the expanded bilateral relationships with Laos and Vietnam will mean positive decisions on challenges facing this mission. The Stony Beach specialists are sorely needed to augment the investigation process while witnesses are still living and able to facilitate locating incident sites for follow-up DPAA recoveries.
The greatest obstacles to increased Vietnam War accounting efforts are too few qualified scientists and unreliable funding that has caused US cancellation of scheduled operations, thus sending negative signals to foreign counterpart officials, especially in Vietnam. Since over 80% of US losses in Laos and 90% in Cambodia occurred in areas where Vietnamese forces operated during the war, Vietnam’s expanded provision of helpful records, improved and increased archival research, interviews and field operations are the core means to expand accounting for Vietnam War missing personnel.
POW/MIA STATISTICS Live Sighting statistics provided by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)
Live Sightings: 1,996 first-hand live sighting reports have been received since 1975, none recently. 1,941 (97.24%) were resolved: 1,340 (67.13%) equated to Americans previously accounted for (i.e. returned POWs, missionaries or civilians detained for violating SRV codes); 45 (2.25%) correlated to wartime sightings of military personnel or pre-1975 sightings of civilians still unaccounted-for; 556 (27.86%) were determined to be fabrications. The remaining 55 (2.76%) unresolved first-hand reports are the focus of continuing analytical and collection efforts: 48 (2.40%) concern Americans reported in a captive environment; 7 (0.35%) are non-captive sightings. The years in which these 55 first hand sightings occurred are listed below:
Pre-1976 1976-1985 1986-1995 1996-2005 2006-2013 Total
36 3 1 14 1 55
Accountability: At the end of the Vietnam War, there reportedly were 2,583 unaccounted-for American prisoners, missing or killed in action/body not recovered. As of May 19, 2016, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lists 1,620 Americans as missing and unaccounted-for, 80-90% of them in Vietnam or in areas of Cambodia and Laos where Vietnamese operated during the war. A breakdown by year of recovery for the 963 Americans accounted for from Vietnam War-related losses since the end of the war in 1975 follows:
1965-1974 War years: (recently identified) 2
1974-1975 Winding down USG effort 28
1976-1978 US/SRV normalization negotiations 47
1979-1980 US/SRV talks break down 1
1981-1985 1st Reagan Administration 23
1985-1989 2nd Reagan Administration 168
1989-1993 George H.W. Bush Administration 128
1993-1997 1st Clinton Administration 326
1997-2001 2nd Clinton Administration 57
2001-2004 1st George W. Bush Administration 64
2004-2008 2nd George W. Bush Administration 62
2008-2012 1st Obama Administration 48
2012-2016 2nd Obama Administration 9
According to the DPAA Lab, unilateral SRV repatriations of remains with scientific evidence of storage have accounted for less than 200 of the 655 from Vietnam; two were mistakenly listed as KIA/BNR in Vietnam in 1968, but remains were actually recovered at that time. All but seven of the 265 Americans accounted for in Laos since the end of the war have been the result of joint recoveries. Six were recovered and turned over by indigenous personnel from Laos and one from Vietnam. In addition, three persons identified were recovered in Vietnam before the end of the war. There follows a breakdown by country of the 963 Americans accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
An additional 63 US personnel were accounted for between 1973 and 1975, for a grand total of 1,026. These Americans were accounted for by unilateral US effort in areas where the US could gain access at that time, not due to government-to-government cooperation with the post-war governments of Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.
For the latest information, call the League’s Office (703) 465-7432 or log onto the League web site: http://www.pow-miafamilies.org or write 5673 Columbia Pike, Suite 100, Falls Church, VA 22041.
[Source: Military Times | Karen Jowers | May 12, 2016 ++]
POW/MIA Recoveries ►Reported 16 thru 31 May 2016 | Nineteen "Keeping the Promise", "Fulfill their Trust" and "No one left behind" are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation. The number of Americans who remain missing from conflicts in this century are: World War II (73,515) Korean War (7,841), Cold War (126), Vietnam War (1,627), 1991 Gulf War (5), and Libya (1). Over 600 Defense Department men and women -- both military and civilian -- work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. For a listing of all personnel accounted for since 2007 refer to http://www.dpaa.mil/ and click on ‘Our Missing’. If you wish to provide information about an American missing in action from any conflict or have an inquiry about MIAs, contact:
Message: Fill out form on http://www.dpaa.mil/Contact/ContactUs.aspx
Family members seeking more information about missing loved ones may also call the following Service Casualty Offices: U.S. Air Force (800) 531-5501, U.S. Army (800) 892-2490, U.S. Marine Corps (800) 847-1597, U.S. Navy (800) 443-9298, or U.S. Department of State (202) 647-5470. The remains of the following MIA/POW’s have been recovered, identified, and scheduled for burial since the publication of the last RAO Bulletin:
Korea The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that the remains of the following U.S. servicemen, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors: -- Army Sgt. Billy J. Williams, 20, of Madisonville, Texas, will be buried May 17 in Madison County, Texas. On Feb. 14, 1951, Williams was assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Infantry Division, when his company was attacked by Chinese forces in the vicinity of Chuam-ni, North Korea. He was declared missing in action after the battle. It would be later learned he had been captured, but died in captivity in April 1951.
Vietnam The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced 23 MAY that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Donald W. Bruch, Jr., 24, of Montclair, New Jersey, will be buried May 29 in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania. On April 29, 1966, Bruch was assigned to the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, as a pilot of an F-105D aircraft. Bruch was flying en route to attack a target north of Hanoi, Vietnam, when his aircraft was struck by enemy anti-aircraft artillery. Witnesses saw Bruch’s aircraft impact the ground, and no ejection or parachute was noted. Bruch was declared missing in action after the crash. On May 4, 1966, a military review board amended his status to deceased.
After numerous joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) investigations dating back to 1988, excavation of a crash site believed to be Bruch’s began during a joint U.S.-S.R.V. mission in October and November 2011, finding some human remains and material evidence. Subsequent recovery missions were necessary in October and November 2012, and November and December 2013, to complete the excavation of this difficult crash site and a burial site. To identify Bruch’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched his sister, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
World War II The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of three servicemen who had been missing in action since World War II. Being returned home for burials with full military honors on a date and location yet to be announced are: -- Navy Ensign William M. Finnegan, 44, of Bessemer, Mich., Ensign John C. England, 20, of Alhambra, Calif., and Chief Petty Officer Albert E. Hayden, 44, of Mechanicsville, Md., had been missing since Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship USS Oklahoma they were aboard suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Hayden will be buried May 18 in Morganza, Md.
--o-o-O-o-o- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced 12 MAY that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from World War II have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Navy Chief Storekeeper Herbert J. Hoard, 36, of DeSoto, Missouri, will be buried May 21 in his hometown. On Dec. 7, 1941, Hoard was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in 429 casualties, including Hoard. From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.
In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Hoard. In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis. Bone samples were submitted for DNA testing to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Tests included mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which traces the maternal line; Y chromosome DNA, which traces the paternal line; and autosomal DNA, which is individual specific. To identify Hoard’s remains, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used mtDNA, which matched a cousin; as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons, which matched Hoard’s records.
-o-o-O-o-o- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced 19 MAY that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from World War II have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Navy Seaman 2nd Class Dale F. Pearce, 21, of Dennis, Kansas, will be buried May 26 in his hometown. On Dec. 7, 1941, Pearce was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in 429 casualties, including Pearce. From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks.
The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as “non-recoverable,” including Pearce. In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis. To identify Pearce’s remains, scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons, which matched Pearce’s records.
-o-o-O-o-o- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains of seven American service members who had been missing in action since World War II. Being returned home for burial with full military honors are:
-- Navy Seaman 2nd Class Challis R. James, of Portsmouth, Ohio, Fireman 1st Class Frank E. Nicoles, 25, of Eau Claire, Wis., Warrant Officer Daryl H. Goggin, 34, of Eugene, Ore., and Chaplain (Lt. j.g.) Aloysius H. Schmitt, 32, of St. Lucas, Iowa, had been missing since Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship USS Oklahoma they were aboard suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
-- Navy Lt. Cmdr. Frederick P. Crosby, 31, of Orlando, Fla., was piloting an RF-8A Photo Crusader on a combat mission in North Vietnam when his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed in Thanh Hoa Province on June 1, 1965. He was assigned to Light Photograph Squadron 63.
-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Davis,of Indiana County, Pa., who was lost fighting in North Korea on Nov. 2, 1950. It would be later learned he was captured but died in captivity. He was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.
-- Army Capt. Elwood J. Euart, 38, of Pawtucket, R.I., died Oct. 26, 1942, died trying to rescue some soldiers who were trapped in a transport ship that struck two mines as it was entering Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides. He was assigned to the 103rd Field Artillery Battalion, 43rd Infantry Division. Burial details have yet to be announced.
-- Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Donald L. Beals, 21, of Brookings, S.D., was a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot who died April 17, 1945, while on a combat mission near Dresden, Germany. He was assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force. Burial details have yet to be announced.
1st Lt. Donald L. Beals -o-o-O-o-o- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced 20 MAY that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Marine Pfc. Elmer L. Mathies, Jr., 21, of Hereford, Texas, will be buried May 28 in his hometown. In November 1943, Mathies was assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Mathies died sometime on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943. In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Mathies’ remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Mathies’ remains non-recoverable.
In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015. To identify Mathies’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a sister; laboratory analysis, including dental analysis and anthropological comparison, which matched Mathies’ records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence. DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.
-o-o-O-o-o- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced 20 MAY that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Navy Motor Machinist’s Mate 1st Class John E. Anderson, 24, of Willmar, Minnesota, will be buried May 28 in his hometown. On June 6, 1944, Anderson was in Landing Craft Tank (LCT), Mark 5, Hull Number 30, which landed on Omaha Beach, France during the invasion of Normandy. Upon landing, men and equipment left the tank, while Anderson went to the engine room to check the sand traps. The tank was subsequently destroyed by either enemy fire or an enemy mine. Anderson was killed in the attack. On July 1, 1944, a set of remains were recovered from the boiler room of the LCT, and were interred by the Army at the temporary American cemetery near Omaha Beach, St. Laurent-sur-Mer #1 and designated X-91 St. Laurent. At the time, Army Graves Registration did not have access to the Navy’s records, and were unable to identify the remains as Anderson’s. The remains were later reinterred at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
In January 2015, following a request by the family of MoMM1c Anderson, a new historical investigation by DPAA showed a strong association between the unidentified remains and Anderson. Under its new disinterment process, in August 2015, DPAA successfully recommended the remains designated X-91 St. Laurent be disinterred for analysis by the DPAA laboratory. To identify Anderson’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence; mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a sister and a nephew; as well as anthropological analysis.