National Alliance of Families

For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen

+ World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam + Yugoslava +

BITS 'N' PIECES - APRIL 17, 1999

Dolores Apodaca Alfond

National Chairperson - (

Voice/Fax 425-881-1499

Lynn O'Shea

New York State Director - (

Voice/Fax 718-846-4350

S/Sgt. Andrew Ramirez,

S/Sgt. Christopher Stone, and

Spec. Steven Gonzalez

Prisoners of War --- Day 18

We were told by a source close to the family of one of the Yugoslav POW's that they have been advised to "cool it," "keep a low profile," and "don't make waves." Needless to say this brought back frightening memories to our Vietnam POW/MIA family members.

In the early days of the Vietnam War, POW/MIA families were told "keep quiet." In some cases wives were told not to tell their children or the missing serviceman's families. "Low profile" was the recommended course of action and in the early days, the families listened. It was not until the early 1970's that the families, tired of "keeping quiet," started "making waves." Returned POWs have long stated that their treatment and living conditions improved, once the families went public and began making waves.

Last evening we discussed the "low profile" advise given to at least one of our Yugoslav POWs families with a Vietnam POW/MIA wife. Her reaction -- "Oh my God, does that sound familiar."

Her advice and ours to the Ramirez, Gonzalez and Stone families.....


During the past week, we've listened very closely to statements of President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright regarding conditions that must be met by the Serbs to end this conflict. In none of those statements were our POWs mentioned.

It was not until Thursday that President Clinton mentioned our POWs. Speaking before the Americans Society of Newspaper Editors in San Fracisco, on Kosovo "Conflict," President Clinton stated:

"Mr. Milosevic also continues to hold on to the three American servicemen his forces seized in Macedonia. He continues to flout his obligation to allow the Red Cross to visit them. I want to say again as clearly as I can, the United States will hold him personally responsible for their welfare."

In a speech containing 3848 words on the Kosovo Crisis, Mr. Clinton devoted 52 words to the subject of our POWs. In those 52 words you will notice he never used the phrase "Prisoner of War."

Our question, if the POWs are not part of the conditions for peace, how does this administration expect to get them back. In our opinion, the administration may be calling them POWs but they are acting like they are hostages, who will not be part of the negotiation process.

MAKE WAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Disturbing Report -- The current edition of "Insight" Magazine, in their "news alert!" Column contains disturbing information of U.S. soldiers seized by Serb forces, along the Macedonian border prior to the capture of S/Sgt. Ramirez, S/Sgt. Stone, and Spec. Gonzalez.

According to the article "...News Alert! has learned that the current abduction is not the first time that Serb troops have taken U.S. soldiers prisoner in skirmishes along the Macedonian border. In fact, it happened so frequently that U.S. troops destined for service in Macedonia with the U.N. peackeeping forces routinely received special training in Germany on how to react to such abductions, according to newspapers published in Germany for the troops."

"Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Campbell tells new alert! he's "just not aware" of any earlier abductions. But a journalist who was working for American Forces Network or AFN unexpectedly ran into an incident involving the abduction by Serbs of two Americans and two Norwegians when he was sent to Macedonia in Janaury 1994 to cover routine troop rotations, and he was confronted by U.S. Army Efforts to suppress news of the event....."

"....Although the earlier abductions usually lasted only a few hours, the fact that U.S. military planners knew about this particular danger in a territory where there are not defined borders has raised questions on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers wonder why the 350 U.S. troops, who had been part of UNPREDEP (U.N. Preventive Deployment Force) were left in Macedonia once Clinton unleashed the air war in Yugoslavia. They are appalled that the troops were given no special backup and ask why the three man patrol was allowed to make sorties along in a disputed region without protective firepower...."

According to the article, American Journalist Richard W. Haverinen "...while traveling with his escorts he noticed an unusual amount of traffic on the radios and near panic among the command. Since Haverinen is of Finnish descent, he was invited by the Finns in the Scandinavian battalion for a social evening and was told frankly about the abductions. The soldiers had been held for 11 hours by the Serbs and returned "Why did the Americans make such a big deal about it?" the Finns asked."

"The next morning, Haverinen says, "I ran into a policy of secrecy about the threat against our people -- in fact, a policy of secrecy that was alarming when all I did was ask a softball question about the border incident. I wound up being arrested, taken into a compound and held against my will for six hours. And when I got back to Germany, I was threatened with dismissal because I stood up for my constitutional right."

Survey Update - Responses to our survey "ground troops" yes or no are still coming in. The latest count -- Ground Troops - No 207, Yes 58, Undecided 12.

Servicemen Identified - For the Department of Defense - "Memorandum for Correspondents" dated April 16, 1999 -- "The remains of six American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial in the United States."

"They are identified as Air Force Capt. Dean A. Wadsworth, Clarendon, Texas; Marine SSgt. Harold E. Reid, Salt Lake City, Utah; Navy Lt. David L. Hodges, Chevy Chase, Md.; Air Force Lt. Col. Lewis M. Robinson, Saginaw, Mich.; Air Force Capt. Douglas K. Martin, Tyler, Texas; and Air Force Capt. Samuel L. James, Chattanooga, Tenn."

As reported in the April 10th edition of "Bits N Pieces" the parents and sister of Capt. Samuel Larry James question the identification of remains purported to be Larry's and have refused to attend the April 18th burial service.

To the families, we hold you in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time and hope you now have the answers you have waited so long for.

Why does Johnnie Webb still have a job?

"One Day Too Long" by Dr. Timothy Castle is now in bookstores. Get your copy now. Dr. Castle is scheduled for two book signing's. The first is on April 23rd between Noon and 1 P.M. at the Pentagon BookStore, The Pentagon, Pentagon Concourse, in Arlington Va. On May 7th, Dr. Castle will be at the Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway, in New York City between 7:30 and 8:30 P.M.

With politicians now attempting to micro-manage another war, "One Day Too Long" is the is the book to read. It clearly explains why military matters should be left to the military and details the tragic results when the politicians become involved.

This one is a must read!

Bring Him Home Alive Act - S484 - Don't forget to contact your senators and ask that they become co-sponsors of the "bring Him Home Alive Act" Address your letters to: Senator [Insert name], United States Senate, Washington D.C. 20515.

This is important legislation! Send your letter, today!

POW Bracelets - cut with the names of our three servicemen held in Yugoslavia are available from the "Last Firebase." Cost is $15.00 per bracelet, Price includes shipping. To order: Call 1-800-452-8906 during duty hours EST.

The National Alliance of Families Tenth Annual Forum is scheduled for June 17th - 19th, at the Sheraton Center City Hotel, Washington D.C. (same as last year.) Room rates at $105.00 per night. To make your reservation call 800-526-7495 or 202-775-0800. Remember to say you are with the Alliance. contributions are needed to keep the Alliance going. Donations may be mailed to:

National Alliance of Families

P.O. Box 40327

Bellevue, Wa. 98015

Remember all contributions are tax deductible.

E-mail Contact us here!

  • Go to NAF Home Page

  • Go To Bits N Pieces Index