For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
National Chairperson - (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New York State Director - (email@example.com)
S/Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, S/Sgt. Christopher Stone, and Spec. Steven Gonzalez FREE AND HOME, THANK GOD!
Spec. Steven Gonzalez
FREE AND HOME, THANK GOD!
Our POWs, Andrew Ramirez, Chris Stone and Steve Gonzalez, returned to U.S. soil, on friday, may 7th. It's been a real good week! In the joy of their return, we must point out two important facts:
1) The United States government did nothing to gain the release of our Yugoslav POWs. Nor, did they assist the delegation that secured their release. In fact, they did everything possible to persuade the delegation, led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, to cancel their trip.
If not for Rev. Jackson and his delegation, Stone, Ramirez, and Gonzalez, would still be in a Belgrade prison.
2) The Clinton Administration's reaction to the release of our men was UNDER WHELMING, to say the least.
It is a scary sight to watch a draft dodger play soldier.
To the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his delegation, we extend our most heartfelt gratitude for their efforts on behalf of our Yugoslav POWs. The White House and the Defense Department may not appreciate their efforts but we certainly do.
It's been a real good week, but we all know --
All The POWs Are Not Home, Yet!
Now, to the sad news -
The United States suffered its first casualties of Clinton's Balkan War, when an Apache Helicopter crashed during a training mission in Albania. Lost were Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Reichert, of Chetek Wisconsin and Chief Warrant Officer David Gibbs, of Massillon Ohio. Both men were married, and both had three children. To their families, we offer our prayers and deepest sympathy.
For those who have not heard, we lost former POW Col. Ted Guy on April 24th, 1999. Col. Guy served in both the Korean and Vietnam War and was a Pow of the Vietnamese from 1968 - 1973.
Col. Guy was with us, at very beginning of the Alliance. He spoke at our first forum back in July, 1990. When our website started, he agreed to write the forward for our Vietnam Pages.
Col. Guy was a strong supporter of the Live POW issue. He was never afraid to speak his mind and he stood by his convictions. All of us in the POW/MIA issue will miss him. We have lost a dear friend and our POW's have lost a strong advocate.
On April 29th, 1999, Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) offered a moving tribute to Col. Guy, from the floor of the Senate. Senator Smith concluded his tribute by saying:
"...As with other POWs, Ted used a tap code in Hanoi to communicate through the walls with other POWs. It was an alphabet matrix, five lines across, five lines down. Ted used to end his messages by tapping the code GBU for "God bless you," and CUL for "see you later." Today, I'd like to end my tribute with the same message to Ted, "GBU, CUL...."
We, at the National Alliance of Families, add our GBU and CUL. To his wife Linda, his sons, Ted Jr. and Michael and stepdaughters, Elizabeth and Katherine we offer our deepest sympathies.
The National Alliance of Families mourns the passing of Mary Imogene Jolidon, on April 2nd, 1999. She is the mother of our very good friend, Larry Jolidon. To Larry, and her daughters Marilyn, and Miriam, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we extend our deepest sympathy.
Live POWs - On Monday, May 3rd 1999, the Pennsylvania Legislature held hearings on Pennsylvania Senate Resolution 25 "Memorializing the President and Congress to take whatever action is necessary to obtain the release of Americans being held against their will in North Korea."
Among those testifying were Bob Dumas, brother of Korean War POW Roger Dumas, Capt. Eugene "Red" McDaniel, Vietnam POW, 1967 - 1973 and Dolores Alfond, Chairperson of the National Alliance of Families.
The following is excerpted from Mrs. Alfond's statement -
"In 1953, at the conclusion of the Korean War, the families of those who had not returned realized something was very, very wrong.....
On March 26th, 1996, I.O. Lee of the Defense POW/MIA Office prepared a memo titled " "Accountability of Missing Americans From The Korean War -- Live Sighting Reports."
The memo stated: "The U.S. Government has received numerous reports concerning Americans living or detained in North Korea after the prisoner exchanges with North Korea in 1953. Based on number of unaccounted for personnel captured by the communist forces and not returned from the Korean War and, a number of recent live American sightings in North Korea, the DPMO concludes that there are two groups of Americans in North Korea. A small group of defectors and a larger group of 10 - 15 possible POWs."
"A second, larger group of Americans is comprised of U.S. service members, most likely from the Korean War and possibly Vietnam War era. There have been numerous reports of both American and British POWs in North Korea. One of the most compelling reports received over the years was a sighting reported to D.O.D. by a Romainian in 17 Feb. 1988."
"Since the Oprica/Tomescu sightings a variety of additional sightings reports have been received, culminating in a recent flurry (last 60 days) of very compelling reports."
The report concludes by saying "there are too many live sighting reports, specifically observations of several caucasians in a collective farm by Romainans and the North Korean Defectors eyewitness of Americans in the DPRK to Dismiss that there are not American POW's in North Korea."
The memo detailed the sighting of Americans sighted by Mr. Oprica stating: "On October 1979, Mr. Oprica, a former Romanian, now a naturalized U.S. Citizen, along with Romanians employed at a North Korean factory in Pyangyang was on a North Korean government sponsored sightseeing trip. During this bus trip, the bus driver appeared to be disoriented and drove the bus through a collective farm. During the trip, he observed 7 - 10 Caucasians, including one individual with blue eyes, working in the fields. The workers appeared to be in their 50's.
Mr. Oprica was told by a female passenger that the Caucasian farmers were American Prisoners of War....."
The same report states: "On 24 Nov. 95, another passenger on the bus, Mr. Florin Tomescu, was finally located in Romaina and interviewed. He confirmed seeing Caucasians working on a farm and the location of the collective farm to be somewhere between Pyongyang and the city of Nampo."
In the fall of 1997, North Korea made a stunning offer. They were willing to negotiate for "American Survivors" held in North Korea. The White House response was a resounding NO! Because the offer was communicated through a third party the White House concluded it was an empty gesture.
The offer of the North Koreans to negotiate for American "Survivors" was not an empty gesture. In late 1996, a small delegation, led by Mr. Robert Egan, a prominent businessman friendly to the POW issue, traveled to North Korea. Also traveling with the delegation were former POW Capt. Eugene "Red" Mc Daniel and Investigative Journalist Mark Sauter.
In the spring of 1997, I personally met with representatives of the DPRK in New York City. The 1996 trip to North Korea and my meeting in New York was the prelude to the unprecedented offer, by the North Koreans, to negotiate for American "survivors." Several weeks of delicate planning collapsed when the White House refused to cooperate in the negotiations for American "survivors."
There is no explanation as to why the Clinton Administration termed the offer for American "survivors" an "empty gesture." We would think that any information relating to this nation's "highest national priority" would be acted on immediately.
In a slight of hand worthy of Harry Houdini, the Pentagon managed to take the focus off North Korea's offer to negotiate for live American "survivors" and redirect focus to an excavation site. Within days of an Associated Press article detailing the North Korean offer to negotiate for American survivors, the Pentagon announced a new delegation would be heading to North Korea, to witness an excavation and possible remains recovery.
The most interesting statement on POWs held back by the North Korea comes from the North Koreans themselves. On May 16th, 1954, the Chief of the Army's Legal Division, Col. John K. Weber submitted a memorandum regarding statements made by North Korean, Lee Sang Cho. The memorandum is written on the letterhead of "Headquarters United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission."
According to the memorandum Mr. Lee made the following statement, during the 42nd meeting of the Military Armistice Commission; "The prisoners of war of your side once held by our side were already completely repatriated in accordance with the Armistice Agreement. The prisoner of war not for direct repatriation are held by our side pending the final disposition of the entire prisoner of war question."
No one has ever explained who the prisoners of war not for direct repatriation were. Are they among the American Survivors? In providing an opinion of Mr. Lee's statement, Col. Weber writes:
"...It is my thought that the Chinese and Korean language versions used in the Armistice Agreement should be compared with the Chinese and Korean language versions used by Lee Sang Cho in his letter of 26 January 1954, and in the Lee Sang Cho statement at the 42nd meeting of the MAC. If the Armistice language is found to be substantially different from these later statements we have a very substantial and embarrassing opening to follow-up on the more than three thousand prisoners who have not been returned."
Embarrassing, you bet! Imagine explaining, in 1954, to the POW/MIA families and the American public that American Servicemen remained captive in North Korea. Imagine explaining that today! --- (Click here for full text of Mrs. Alfonds testimony.
Mutta Update - Is X-656 Korean War POW/MIA Louis Mutta? DOD doesn't want to find out. Claiming that mt-DNA can not be extracted from burnt remains, they are refusing to exhume the remains of X-656 for testing. This in spite of the fact that our own mt-DNA expert, Dr. William Sheilds has stated that mt-DNA has successfully been extracted from cremated remains.
We all know mt-DNA can not positively identify remains and we all know mt-DNA may be able to tell if the remains are not those of Louis Mutta. The family wants answers and DOD doesn't what to provide them.
We suspected that the remains of X-656 were exhumed in the mid 1950's and among the 847 re-buried at the Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii. That has now been confirmed. This tells us two thing -
1) X-656 could be the Korean War Unknown, and
2) This seems to confirm information provided to us, by Bob Dumas, brother of Korean War POW Roger Dumas, that a great many of the remains re-buried in Hawaii after the Korean War have name associations.
This further explains the January 12th, 1998 e-mail, addressed to Johnnie Webb, regarding the CBS investigation into the identity of the Vietnam Unknown. That e-mail said, in part, "if this story hits the airwaves it will cause a lot of problems over the issue of disinternment, not only regarding the Tomb of the Unknown, but regarding the Punchbowl in Hawaii."
Why does Johnnie Webb still have a job?
Thought For The Day - On Friday, May 7th, Former Congressman John Leboutillier Appeared on The Hannity and Combs Show (Fox News Channel.) When asked to comment on the accidential bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, John stated "We finally bombed and enemy of the United States."
More On Our Returned POWs - From The Associated Press by Robert Burns(AP) -- The three U.S. soldiers who spent 32 days as prisoners of war in Yugoslavia were abducted in a Serb ambush inside Macedonia, beaten repeatedly, "paraded as captured criminals" and forced to read anti-NATO materials under threat of death, their Army commander said Friday.
A Serb threatened to cut one of the American's ears off. When one soldier refused to divulge his family's address in the United States, he was struck in the head with a baton and choked with it, according to Maj. Gen. David L. Grange, commander of the 1st Infantry Division to which the soldiers belonged....
..In a ceremony in Wuerzberg, Germany, on Thursday, the soldiers were awarded six medals each: the Purple Heart for injuries received in captivity, the Army Commendation Medal, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Armed Forces Medal, the United Nations Medal and the NATO Medal....
...Grange offered this version of events, which unfolded near the Macedonian village of Alganja: The three soldiers, with Stone in command, were traveling in a Humvee scout vehicle in hilly, rocky terrain. They were en route to an observation post after having scouted a route to and from a rendezvous point that was designated for use in the event of an emergency such as a Serb border incursion. Grange said the Americans were 1 1/2 miles inside the Macedonian border -- not on the Serb side as Yugoslav authorities insist.
Suddenly, about 2:30 p.m., shots rang out. As many as 50 rounds exploded around the soldiers, some penetrating their Humvee. The soldier operating the Humvee's mounted .50-caliber machine gun threw himself to the floor. The ammunition belt was in the gun's feed tray, but no bullets were manually fed into the chamber.
The Humvee's engine caught fire, and 15 to 20 Serb soldiers surrounded the vehicle, some of whom had leaped out of haystacks. "Thinking their gunner had been hit by fire and realizing they were surrounded by a superior force, Sergeant Stone decided to surrender," Grange said. None of the Americans got off a shot with their M-16 rifles or 9mm pistols.
The Serbs beat the Americans even though they had their hands raised in surrender. One swung his rifle butt at an American with such force that it broke the gun's stock.
"They were kicked repeatedly in the face, the head and other parts of the body," Grange said. "They were tied up and hoods were placed over their heads." They were tossed into a truck and taken across the border into Yugoslavia, although the Americans were not sure of their location by then because of the hoods.
Grange said the Americans were treated most harshly during their first week of captivity but were subjected to less severe mistreatment, including punches to the stomach and slaps in the face, throughout their incarceration. He said they were interrogated four times and forced to read anti-NATO propaganda under the threat of injury or death and were kept in solitary confinement most of the time....
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. Our meetings are open to the public. The Alliance is an ALL VOLUNTEER nonprofit organization. We are dependent upon public donations. 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.
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