POW/MIA Update: October 4, 2007 AMERICANS ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:
There are now 1,768 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Within the last few days, DPMO has released the names of six US personnel as now being accounted for, including:
Major Perry H. Jefferson, USAF, MIA 4-3-69, SVN, CO
Airman 1st Class George W. Long, USAF, KIA/BNR 5-12-68, SNV, KS
CAPT Warren R. Orr, USAR, MIA 5-12-58, SVN, IL
LTjg Norman L. Roggow, USNR, KIA/BNR 10-8-67, SVN, IA
LTjg Donald f. Wolfe, USNR, KIA/BNR 10-8-67, SVN, MT
LTjg Andrew G. Zissu, USNR, KIA/BNR 10-8-67, SVN, NY
This brings to 815 the number of US personnel returned since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. 90+% of 1,768 still missing and unaccounted-for were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ON RECOGNITION DAY:
Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, USMC, hosted the Pentagon’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony last Friday. In his remarks, Secretary Gates stated, “I would also like to thank the families and friends of those still missing. Missing-in-action status is marked by ambiguity and uncertainty - a severe test of spirit and resolve for anyone seeking closure. Your attendance today proves once again that the bond of love transcends the passage of time - that while our nation's heroes may remain missing in body, they are always present in spirit. We will neither forget our duty to bring home all POWs and MIAs, nor relent in our efforts to do so.”
Though extemporaneous and not available (at least not yet), General Pace’s remarks were relevant, informal and meaningful to those present, based on his many years of service in and commitment to our Armed Forces. Patricia Scharf, widow of Col Charles Scharf, USAF (MIA October 1, 1965 over North Vietnam, remains recovered December 16, 1992 and announced as identified August 10, 2006) was recommended by the Defense POW/MIA Office and reportedly selected by Secretary Gates to make remarks from her perspective. There were countless ceremonies held across the country and around the world, including in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. UPDATE ON OPERATIONS:
Technical talks, led by JPAC Commander BG Mike Flowers, USA, and Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) Director Nguyen Ba Hung were held September 12th. On January 4, 2008, RADM Donna Crisp, USN, will assume command of JPAC at a Change of Command. Foreign Ministry official Nguyen Ba Hung is being promoted and will no longer serve as the Director after TET 2008, having served through the visits of President Bush in November 2006 and the reciprocal visit by President Triet in June of this year. The incoming VNOSMP Director has not yet been identified. DPMO-led archival research talks were held in Hanoi on September 26th in an effort to get some movement on program. In Cambodia, the third recovery operations of this fiscal year ended on September 17th with a formal repatriation ceremony at the international airport in Phnom Penh in which US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli participated. Senior Cambodian officials also participated, led by General Pol Saroeun, Deputy Commander of the Cambodian Army and, by direction of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Chairman of the Cambodian POW/MIA Committee.
A team of seven JPAC personnel finished operations in South Korea where they had been investigating multiple ground and aircraft incidents of loss since September 5th. This was the fourth and final JPAC mission to South Korea during Fiscal Year 2007, ending September 30th.
Regarding the expanding program of investigations and remains recoveries related to WWII incidents, operations have recently taken place in the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, France (including an underwater investigation on the Island of Corsica), Luxembourg, Italy and Germany, with ongoing operations expected to conclude on September 29th.WINNER OF HARLEY DAVIDSON SPORTSTER:
The winner of the Harley Davidson Sportster was drawn on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 21, 2007, as promised. The drawing took place at The American Legion Post 364 in Woodbridge, Virginia, following a Recognition Day ceremony jointly held with Post #364 Auxiliary. Significantly, the winning ticket was drawn by a career US Army National Guard soldier with prior Army tours in the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, Mogadishu, Iraq; he is scheduled for deployment to either Iraq or Afghanistan within the next three months.
The winner was Dan Meeks, an Air Force Vietnam Veteran from Ohio, who served in Operation Ranch Hand, in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam, November 1968 to 69. He is a member of Central Ohio Chapter of VVA, AMVETS, The American Legion and the VFW. Congratulations to Dan, and special thanks to Allen Harvey for his generosity in donating the Harley and to American Legion Post 364 and its Auxiliary Unit members who supported us generously, including last-minute raffle ticket purchases and drawing of the winning ticket. FAMILIES OPPOSE ANOTHER SELECT COMMITTEE ON POW/MIA AFFAIRS:
With a unanimous vote of the League’s Board of Directors preceding a unanimous membership vote at the 38th Annual Meeting, the League is firmly on record as strongly opposing H. Res. 111. 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! REGION IV MEETING TO BE HELD AT SCOTT AFB:
A regional meeting for League members and veterans in the north-central part of the country will be held October 26-28th at Scott AFB, Bellevue, Illinois. Chaired by longstanding Region IV and Ohi8o State Coordinator Liz Flick, Region IV includes the States of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The Board of Directors will meet on October 26th, with the regional sessions on the 27th. Arrangements have been made to billet attendees in quarters on base for only $35 per night, and registration is only $30 per person, including breakfast, lunch and dinner on the 27th. Officials from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO), Life Science Equipment Laboratory (LSEL) and the Service Casualty Offices will make presentations and be available for discussion. For further information, call Liz Flick at 614-451-2405 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
.LEAGUE APPROVED FOR 2007 COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN (CFC):
The League was recently approved and notified that the stringent criteria were met. Our new (five digit) number is 10218, assigned by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Washington, DC. The League is the ONLY nonprofit organization representing American POW/MIAs, 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 requirements that any organization must meet.