For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
National Chairperson - (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New York State Director - (email@example.com)
Reward $5 million - for information leading to the "transfer" of Slobodan Milosevic to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes. Reward $1 - 2 million - for information leading to the arrest of international terrorists and leaders of drug cartels. Reward $0.00 - for the return of an American Prisoner of War from the former Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia.
Reward $1 - 2 million - for information leading to the arrest of international terrorists and leaders of drug cartels.
Reward $0.00 - for the return of an American Prisoner of War from the former Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia.
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What is wrong with this picture? From Reuters June 22nd - "The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday directed the State Department to investigate the cases of three Israeli soldiers, including one American, missing in action since 1982. The measure, approved 415-5, seeks a probe into the disappearance of Zachary Baumel, an American serving in the Israeli army, and of Israeli soldiers Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman."
"The three were captured in June 1982 after a tank battle with Syrian forces at Sultan Ya'akub in Lebanon. They were last known to be in the hands of a Palestinian faction that had split from the Palestine Liberation Organization and operated in Syrian-controlled territory."
"The bill, sponsored by Representative Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, directs the State Department to discuss the matter with officials from Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. The bill says the willingness of those governments to assist in locating the men and securing their release should be considered when decisions are made on U.S. economic assistance and policy. Periodic diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the three men have been unsuccessful, although Palestinian officials agreed in 1994 to cooperate with Israel in locating and working for the return of the soldiers."
While we value and support all efforts to return all POWs regardless of nationality, however, we must ask this Congress that voted 415 -5 to pressure the State Department and is willing to impose economic and policy sanctions. WHAT ABOUT THE AMERICAN POWs AND MIAs? Why can't we get a vote of 415 - 5 supporting legislation relating to American POW/MIAs?
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During our May trip to D.C. we pulled many documents from the Library of Congress. One of these documents presented very interesting case specific information. We took the document to the annual meeting to pass along to the family, in case they had not seen it. Little did we know, the fire storm our "find" would ignite.
On 14 January 1972, the Defense Intelligence Agency issued a memo to Army, Navy Air Force, Marine Corp, CIA and Office of the ASD (ISA) representatives of the Interagency Prisoner of War Intelligence Ad Hoc Committee (IPWIC).
The subject of the memo "Movement of American PW's to North Vietnam." The text reads:
"1. The Defense Intelligence Agency is presently listing the names of 21 American personnel that have been moved from their original areas of capture in Laos and South Vietnam to North Vietnam."
A list of 21 names follows. They are:
Army: Gostas, Theodore W.
Navy: Bedinger, H.J.
Air Force: Guy, Theodore W.; Long S.G., Masterson, M.J. Stischer, W.H.
USMC: Budd, Leonard; Deering, J.A. DiBernardo, J.V., Tellier, D.A.
Civilians: Brace E.C., Daves, L.G., Henderson A., Manhard, P.W., Meyer, L.E., Olson, R.F., Page, R.J., Rushton, T., Stark, L., Weaver, E., Willis, C.E.
The memo ends saying;
"2. The above is provided for your records" and is signed by John S. Harris, Captain USN, Chairman Interagency Prisoner of War Intelligence Ad Hoc Committee.
We provided this document to Fran Masterson, wife of Michael J. "Bat" Masterson, on Friday afternoon, June 18th. She had never seen the document before and promptly took it over to Air Force Casualty.
We didn't get a chance to talk with Mrs. Masterson, during the rest of the weekend but heard rumors that Air Force Casualty suggested the document was a fake.
On Thursday evening, June 24th, Mrs. Masterson called Lynn O'Shea. The purpose of the call, she said, was to emphasis two points, the importance of the document and the FACT THAT ALL INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED TO THE FAMILIES. She had been asking for this document for 25 years. She filed FOIA's and each one came back saying no such document existed.
In January 1974, Fran Masterson, along with other family members went to Southeast Asia. During their time in Thailand, they visited the Joint Casualty Resolution Center. There, they reviewed the case files of their loved ones. In the file on Michael J. Masterson, was the notation -- carried as PW by DIA; listed as missing by Air Force. Mrs. Masterson's question, why was the Defense Intelligence Agency carrying her husband as a POW.
At the time, she was told the notation actually referred to returned POW Ronald L. Mastin. Mrs. Masterson was expected to believe that U.S. intelligence had confused the names Michael J. Masterson with Ronald L. Mastin. Remember the memo reads: "moved from their original areas of capture in Laos and South Vietnam." The problem, Ronald L. Mastin was shot down over North Vietnam. Therefore, he could not possibly have been moved to North Vietnam. He was already there!
Mrs. Masterson's did not buy the explanation and continued to ask, why was the Defense Intelligence Agency carried her husband as POW. That was a question she would ask for the next 25 years!
We are saddened but not surprised that representatives of Air Force Casualty would summarily dismiss this document as a "fake."
Several years back, we located a document titled "Project X." We provided it to the families involved. When those families went to DPMO and Army casualty they were told there was no such document as "Project X." DPMO provided a written statement to that effect.
"Project X" was not a fake and neither is this document which places Michael Masterson in North Vietnam with 20 returnees. That's right!!! of the 21 men named, 20 are returned POWs. This is another example of how good U.S. intelligence was and how desperate the U.S.G. is to debunk that intelligence today. The document does not say -- possibly moved, -- could have been moved -- may have been moved or probably moved. It says "have been moved."
Now, Fran Masterson is asking for the backup documentation on which this memo is based. Let's hope she doesn't have to wait another 25 years for her answer.
The Meeting - We've got plenty to tell you about. It was a busy week. More importantly, it was an extremely successful week.
On Wednesday morning, we met privately with General Roland Lejoie, Chairman of the U.S. side of the U.S.- Russian Joint Commission. General Lejoie was most gracious during our meeting. We believe he answered our questions, candidly. Based on our meeting, we can now say, for a fact, that the Soviets interviewed at least one American pilot, in Vietnam. The fate of that pilot remains unknown.
Our question, if the Russian spoke to, or questioned one American pilot, why is it so hard for DPMO to believe they spoke to, or questioned others?
It is our hope that General Lejoie will remain open minded on the subject of POWs transferred to the former Soviet Union. As discussed, during our meeting, all we want is the truth!
On Thursday morning Lynn O'Shea testified before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. The subject of the hearings was the renewal of the Jackson - Vanick Waiver as it applies to Vietnam.
Senator Kerry and Ambassador Peterson spoke glowingly of Vietnamese cooperation on the POW/MIA issue. Senator Kerry reminded the committee that the number of discrepancy cases had been reduced to 43. He conveniently forgot to mention that most of the discrepancy cases considered "resolved" were resolved without the recovery of remains or any evidence of death.
Ambassador Peterson spoke of Vietnamese progress with regards to human rights. He specifically cited progress in the area of religious freedom. He conveniently forgot to mention the United Nations report on Religious Intolerance, issued by Abdelfattah Amor. According the a Reuters story filed March 18th "Amor visited Vietnam last October and complained he was hindered and obstructed from meeting people from non-state sanctioned religious groups..."
"Some major... obstacles were encountered in connection with private interviews and movements," Amor said in the report. "
"Amor reported that Vietnam still maintains elaborate controls over all religious groups to prevent the emergence of any organization that might rival the Communist Party. Amor said state interference includes controls over the programs of religious organizations, the training and recruitment of clergy, the building of places of worship and the printing of religious books."
Family members present during the Kerry and Peterson testimonies were outraged at the misrepresentations, of Kerry and Peterson. During a short recess, approximately six family members caught Ambassador Peterson and gave him an earful.
We congratulate Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on an outstanding and factual statement. He clearly stated all the reasons why Congress should not renew the Jackson - Vanick Waiver. In contrast to the misrepresentations of Kerry and Peterson, Rohrabacher stated: "There is no real evidence to support claims that Vietnam is liberalizing through international aid and commercial investment. To the contrary, Vietnamese communist leaders have issued new decrees that ban opposition parties, independent media and dissent within the Communist Party."
(Those of us who follow the wire services routinely see stories filed by AP, Reuters and UPI confirming Congressman Rohrabacher's statement.)
Unfortunately, this committee's mind was already made up. Nothing Congressman Rohrabacher said, nothing the Vietnamese refugees who, so eloquently, stated the case against renewal said, and nothing the National Alliance of Families said, would change this committee's mind.
Sadly, truth, morality and principle can no longer compete with profit.
Our meeting started Thursday evening with an opening prayer by Michael McDaniel, son of former POW Red McDaniel.
Our first speaker of the evening was Congressman and former Vietnam POW Sam Johnson (R-Tx.) Congressman Johnson is also a member of the U.S./Russian Joint Commission and chairs the Korean Working Group. All we can say about Congressman Johnson's presentation is: WOW!!!
After 30 years, Congressman Johnson is still dropping bombs! Our jaws fell to the floor, when Congressman Johnson stated that the biggest roadblock to the progress of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission is the State Department of the United States. He also cited, by name, National Security Council Advisor Sandy Berger as a major road block to progress.
General Roland Lejoie, chairman of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission, followed Congressman Johnson. He was caught somewhat off guard by Congressman Johnson's comments regarding the State Dept. and NSC advisor Sandy Berger. Lejoie readily admitted he was the "new" guy, saying he had a lot to learn. It was refreshing to see a man in his position admit he had things to learn.
A lengthy question and answer session followed General Lejoie's presentation.
Our final speaker of the evening was Dr. Timothy N. Castle, author of "One Day Too Long." Dr. Castle spoke of the events surrounding the fall of "Lima Site 85."
Even though most of us knew the story, it was shocking to hear how everyone knew the North Vietnamese Army was moving on Phou Pha Thi. Yet, nothing was done to evacuate the men on top of the mountain.
Dr. Castle discussed the impossibility of the Vietnamese not having information on the 11 men missing from the Site. During JTF-FA visits, nothing was found at the site, Not a piece of cloth, a button, a pot or a pan. There were no remains of any kind on the mountain or at its base. There was over 150 tons of equipment, that's tons folks, on top of that mountain. Where did it go?
Vietnam and DPMO expect us to believe no one knows what happened to the men and equipment. Get real!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Castle briefly discussed his tenure at DPMO and the character assassination mounted against him by certain current DPMO employees.
In a memo circulating, this DPMO employee questions the validity of information presented in Dr. Castle's book. If the DPMO employee in question, had spent more than a "few moments" reading the Site 85 file, and the documentation on the lawsuit filed by Ann Holland against the U.S. government, he would know everything in the book is backed up by documentation. Should these attacks continue, Mrs. Holland is prepared to post all the documentation in question on the web. Then the readers can decide who is telling the truth!
An extended question and answer session followed Dr. Castle's presentation.
Folks, "One Day Too Long" is a must read!
Friday Morning started with an opening prayer by Dovie Huffman, sister of POW/MIA Danny Widner, missing from Kham Duc.
Our first speaker Friday morning was Thomas Hawley, senior legislative aide to Congressman Stephen Buyer (R-In.) of the Sub-Committee on Military Personnel. Mr. Hawley expressed the committee's commitment to resolution of the POW/MIA issue. He also discussed the subject of the live POWs in North Korea and the questionable status of 4 men labeled "deserters."
Our next speaker was Senator Stewart Greenleaf of the Pennsylvania Legislature. Senator Greenleaf is responsible for Pennsylvania Senate Resolution 25 - "Memorializing the President and Congress to take whatever action is necessary to obtain the release of American's being held against their will in North Korea, China, Russia and Vietnam."
Senator Greenleaf discussed the two hearings held regarding Senate Resolution 25. Dolores Alfond, of the National Alliance of Families, testified at the first hearing. During the second hearing Mr. Robert Egan testified. It was during this hearing that Mr. Egan played audio tapes of his conversations with members of the National Security Council discussing the release of American survivors held in North Korea. Senator Greenleaf also spoke of his 1996 trip to North Korea with former POW Red McDaniel, author Mark Sauter and businessman Robert Egan.
Following his presentation, Senator Greenleaf was joined by noted author Mark Sauter for a panel discussion on American POWs in North Korean, and the status of Americans labeled deserters.
Mr. Sauter discussed an Department of Army document dated 15 August 1962 detailing the capture of a North Korean agent. The document states: "One suspected NK agent, of a group of 4, was wounded and captured by the 63d Regt, III ROK Corps, at DS 757633 at approximately 112005Z Aug 52. Wounded man, identified as [blacked out] now undergoing interrogation, claims to have entered ROK form KKPR by overland route. He and his 3 companions reportedly were to explore infiltration routes, kidnap US Servicemen and return them to NKPR, and to induce ROK citizens to defect to NKPR...."
"G2 Comment: Preceding information is first report of activity directed toward kidnapping U.S. Troops. It is considered possible that ROK defectors or apprehended friendly agents may have supplied information which has led to operations of this kind. Further, the disappearance of the 4-man ROKA team near the DMZ on 014 Jul 62 (see DIS, KA41489) has been considered by ROKA as an act of kidnapping by KNPR."
DPMO summarily dismissed this report.
Our question, if the North Koreans had already kidnaped a South Korean patrol, why wouldn't they kidnap American servicemen? Remember this report was filed on August 15th, 1962. Three of the 4 "deserters" disappeared during or after August 1962.
We opened our Friday afternoon session with a presentation by Senator Bob Smith (R-NH). Senator Smith is a member of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission and chairs the Vietnam Working Group. Senator Smith was also the co-chair of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.
In a prepared statement Senator Smith stated: "...there has not been full disclosure by Hanoi about unaccounted for American POWs and MIAs. The facts speak for themselves. We have not had access to relevant POW information from the Communist Party Central Committee -- including Politburo, Military Affairs Committee, and Secretariat level records for the war. Why can't we see the records of the internal briefings to North Vietnam's leadership during the war about how many POWs they had really captured? If they're not hiding anything, and they've told the truth all these years about how many POWs they really held, then why can't we see the documents? We also have not had access to prison records where some of your loved ones were known to have been held and even suspected to have been held, during the war. We have not had full access to Vietnamese wartime reporting on American POWs captured along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, and at other locations in Laos, such as Lima Site 85 and Sam Neua Province where several U.S. personnel remain unaccounted for. And we have not had a convincing and complete response form the Vietnamese Government about he documents uncovered in the Russian archives in 1993 that indicated Hanoi held more U.S. POWs than they repatriated in 1973."
During off the cuff remarks, Senator Smith stated he was told by a ranking Russian official that the information contained in the 1205 document came directly from the Vietnamese Politburo. How did the Russians get the information? They, according the the Russian official, had the place bugged!
Our next speaker was Susan Messinai, Director of the Ark Project of Freedom Channel. Ms. Messinai works as a consultant for the government of Sweden on the Raul Wallenberg case. Ms. Messinai discussed her un-prescendent access to Soviet archives and detailed the extensive record found there. She believes, as we do, that the Russian archives holds the answers to the fate of many missing men, including humanitarian Raul Wallenberg.
Ms. Messinai was followed by Al Santoli, senior legislative aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca.) Al arrived promptly at 5:00 P.M., only to find that we were running behind schedule (nothing new for us.) Al shrugged and said "it's the National Alliance of Families, I factored in an extra half hour."
Al updated us on Congressman Rohrabacher efforts on behalf of our POW/MIAs and discussed the hearings on the Jackson Vanick waiver. He discussed congressional inaction and what needs to be done to get the POW/MIA issue moving.
Our Friday evening session opened with a presentation by Dr. Samuel Dunlap. Dr. Dunlap is a noted forensic anthropologist, hired in 1986 to clean up the Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii. He lasted 8 months, resigning for ethical reasons. Dr. Dunlap cited the shoddy procedures used by the lab during the tenure of Tadeo Furue. Many remember that Furue misrepresented himself as a doctor of forensic anthropology, when in fact he held no degree in anthropology. Dr. Dunlap restated his belief that all identification made under Furue be re-examined.
Our last presentation of the evening was made by Roger Hall. Roger updated us on the progress of his lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency. He discussed the importance of getting the documents, the CIA refuses to release. He discussed the many postponements granted to the CIA and the difficulty of keeping the case going without financial support.
Behind the scenes - At approximately 5:30 P.M. Friday afternoon, as Al Santoli took the podium, Lynn O'Shea made the mistake of thinking the hard part was over. We had two presentations, for Friday evening, an open panel discussion for Saturday morning and a presentation at 12:45 P.M. by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Robert L. Jones.
Hard part over.... Wrong! As Al Santoli finished his presentation, we learned that C-SPAN was coming to cover our Saturday morning session, up to and including Mr. Jones's presentation. The entire Saturday morning, planned as very, very loose, had to be revamped.
We needed to come up with panels that best demonstrated the frustrations and struggles of the POW/MIA families. Suffering an embarrassment of riches, we had to narrow down the panel participants. In an effort to balance the panels we needed representatives from Capital Hill and researchers.
While Dolores Alfond worked the phones, Lynn O'Shea grabbed Al Santoli, asking can you come back tomorrow morning? Al had plans with his family and asked why we wanted him back. Before Lynn got halfway through the explanation, Al stopped her saying, "what time do you want me." Dolores, on the phone, was getting the same response from Dino Carluccio, "what time do you want me?"
We grabbed Dr. Dunlap, asking if he could help out on Saturday morning and his answer was the same "what time do you want me?" You can't ask for friends better than Al, Dino and Dr. Dunlap!
After limited discussion the panels were set. The first panel on "Southeast Asia," moderated by Al Santoli, senior legislative aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), consisted of Dr. Sam Dunlap, Carol Hrdlicka, wife of POW David Hrdlicka, former POW Michael Benge, Ann Holland, wife of POW/MIA Melvin Holland, and Dino Carluccio, senior aide to Senator Bob Smith (R-NH.).
The second panel on "Secrecy" moderated by Lynn O'Shea, of the National Alliance of Families, consisted of Roger Hall, Patricia Lively Dickenson, sister of Cold War shootdown Jack Lively, Victoria Echannis Wallace, daughter of Joseph Echannis and Dino Carluccio.
The third panel on "Russia, North Korea, and China" moderated by Mark Sauter, author and researcher, consisted of retired Navy Cmdr. and former DPMO employee, Chip Beck, Donna Downes Knox, daughter of Korean War shootdown Harold Downes, Charlotte Busch Mitnik, sister of Cold War shootdown Samuel Busch, and Dino Carluccio.
The final speaker on the schedule would be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Robert L. Jones.
C-SPAN arrived at 7:30 AM, Saturday morning to set up. Knowing this could be live TV, we were ready to start on time, a first for us. At 9:15, we were notified we were being taped and had a little leeway. Being the National Alliance of Families, we simply could not start on time. We were ready to go at 9:40, when C-SPAN notified us that they were experiencing technical difficulties and needed approximately 1/2 hours for repairs.
We started at 10:20 AM. Our panelists were outstanding! They did a beyond terrific job on very short notice and very little sleep. The faxes hummed long into the night as people at home faxed documents to our panelists. Many were up till 3 and 4 in the morning preparing and rehearsing their 5 - 6 minute presentations. Just as the panelists were going to sleep, Janella Apodaca Rose, and Joyce Apodaca Lynch were waking and heading for the all night Kinko's. Their mission, make posters of important documents, blow up photos of missing loved ones to be shown on camera.
The reaction to our C-SPAN exposure has been overwhelming. CSPAN aired our Saturday morning session three times. As a result of those broadcasts, we have received well over 150 phone calls and increased our e-mail distribution, dramatically.
We have had many requests for copies of the C-SPAN tape. We will make copies available. The estimated cost will be $15.00. This includes shipping. If we can get a better price for reproduction of the videos, we will refund the difference.
To order send your check to the:
National Alliance of Families
P.O. Box 40327
Bellevue, Washington 98015
The final speaker at our Saturday morning session was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Robert L. Jones.
It was a Miracle... We pulled a rabbit out of a hat... but we couldn't have done it alone.
There are many people to thank for making our C-SPAN presentation a roaring success. We are going to try and name them all, and we apologize to anyone we might have forgotten.
Thanks to our panelists: Al Santoli, Dino Carluccio, and Sam Dunlap for their "when do you want me" attitude; to family members; Carol Hrdlicka, Ann Holland, Patricia Lively Dickensen, Victoria Echannis Wallace, Donna Downes Knox and Charlotte Busch Mitnik for sharing their very personal stories with the world; to; former POW and National Alliance Board Member Michael Benge, who provided an invaluable insight; to advocates; Roger Hall and Chip Beck, who answered the call, when we yelled help.
Behind the scenes - to Jack and Wilma Laeufer, who made sure the right flags were in the right place; to Jackie, Mel Holland's cousin, for manning the front table; to Joe Echannis for handling computer duty; to Steve Golding for operating the video camera; to Larry and Rusty of the Last Firebase for Storing and transporting our posters as "stuff," to the Apodaca sisters, Janella, Joyce and Elenore for doing everything but washing the floors.
To all our supporters,
this meeting would not have been possible
without your support!
A special thanks to our good friend, what's his name (you had to be there) Mark Sauter, who kept Dolores and Lynn sane between the first C-SPAN call and the meeting's end. Believe me, that was no easy task!!!!!!!!!
Korean War remains identified - From the Pentagon - "remains of two soldiers missing in action from the Korean War have been identified and returned to their families for burial in the United States. They are identified as U.S. Army Cpl. Charles W. Tillman, Columbia, S.C., and U.S. Army Pfc. Herbert Ardis, Detroit, Mich. The remains of Tillman and Ardis were recovered about three miles apart in an area approximately 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea...."
"...On Nov. 25, 1950, elements of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, were attacking enemy positions near the Chongchon River in North Korea. That night, Chinese communist forces launched an all-out frontal attack along the entire regimental front. The following day, American forces withdrew from the area of the attacks, and Tillman was reported as missing in action...."
"...In August 1998, a joint U.S.-North Korean team excavated an isolated burial site in P'yongan-Pukto Province. The team recovered Tillman's remains along with American military artifacts such as a mess kit spoon and military buttons...."
"...During the Nov. 26, 1950, battles with Chinese communist units near the Chongchon River in North Korea, Ardis' unit was surrounded, but broke through the encirclement and took up a defensive position where they continued to repel the enemy for the next two days. But on Nov. 28, his unit encountered a Chinese roadblock, where they abandoned their vehicles and retreated to the south on foot. Ardis was listed as missing in action as a result of these encounters. His remains were recovered by a joint U.S./North Korean team in P'yongan-Pukto Province in July 1998."
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