For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
National Chairperson - (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New York State Director - (email@example.com)
We Are Proud To Announce:
"7-Eleven and AT&T have teamed with the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen and the National Moment of Remembrance to remind Americans about the true meaning of Memorial Day.
The campaign, "Calling America's Heroes," urges Americans to reach out and thank friends, family members of fallen heroes, and veterans for their sacrifice, and to remember those who are now gone. As part of the campaign, 7-Eleven and AT&T will distribute half a million FREE prepaid 15-minute long distance phone cards at nearly 5,200 7-Eleven stores, worth a retail value of more than $2.5 million. From 7-11 am on Monday May 28, participating 7-Eleven stores will distribute the phone cards to the first 100 veterans, active military personnel and/or immediate family members of someone in the service.
Stores will also distribute free educational Memorial Day literature and will take part in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm on Memorial Day. The Moment is a personal, voluntary one minute pause to remember
our fallen heroes. We hope you will participate! Please stop by your local 7-Eleven to pick up your card and call one of America's heroes."
The National Alliance of Families agreed to participate in this program because we believe our society no longer values its Veterans. It is time that attitude changes. It is our hope that this program will remind all Americans that Memorial Day is more than just a day for the beach and barbeques. It is because of our Veterans that we have the freedom to enjoy the beaches, barbeques and joys of a free country.
We, at the National Alliance of Families, know we could not survive without the support of the Veteran community. Lending our name to "Calling America's Heroes" is our small way of saying:
Thank You, To Our Veterans
World War I - World War II - Korean War - Cold War - Vietnam War - Gulf War
Prisoner... Hostage Or Detainee - In the past, we've had a problem with the Defense Departments attempt to change terminology used to refer to American servicemen and women, Prisoner, Missing or Held, as a result of the actions by other nations. This problem with terminology was evident during the recent EP-3 Crisis, when China held 24 American Servicemen against their will, while trying to blackmail the United States Government into an apology.
The Pentagon continued to refer to the crew as "detainees" based on convoluted logic. Take for example statements made by Admiral Craig Quigley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs on April 10th, during a Pentagon briefing. Alliance Comments follow most questions and answers.
QUESTION: Craig, what's the Pentagon's classification of these 24 Americans now?
QUESTION: And it's not approaching hostages. Ten days now into this, detainees is the official...
QUIGLEY: No, I don't think so. I think that's the correct term. Hostages, to me, says a couple of things that we don't see. You don't have access to hostages. They are kept from you. And in the case of our aircrew, we have had several -- five, now -- meetings with the aircrew over a period of days. We think that's great. We hope that that will continue and even be more often. But it's not a situation you would see with a hostage situation. You also don't see hostages generally being treated very well. And our 24 aircrew are being treated very well by the Chinese. So the term that we think is appropriate is detainees.
ALLIANCE COMMENT: By definition a hostage is anyone held against their will, by one party in order to extort concessions from another party. That definition fit the crew of the EP-3, forced down by an overly aggressive Chinese pilot, held against their will, while the Chinese demanded an end to all recon flights and an apology from the United States government.
If you are surrounded by guards and can't get up and leave when you choose to, be it on Hainan Island or at the Waldorf Astoria, you are still a hostage.
Admiral Quigley also implies that status determination is based, at least in part, on how a serviceman or woman is treated during there detention or captivity.
QUESTION: And how would you respond to members of Congress who are using the word "hostage" right now?
QUIGLEY: Well, I guess I would try to convince them that the word "detainee" is more appropriate. Let me throw one other thing in. If a military person is detained, that allows us, the Department of Defense and their parent service, to carry out some financial and personal items of business that they may wish to want accomplished on their behalf. And again, they can relay this through General Sealock, things like financial details, powers of attorney, military allotments, things of that sort, that have a direct impact on the individuals. Everybody's circumstance is different. But an individual may have a real need to convey a change in some sort of a financial arrangement, given their desire to do so. By declaring them as detainees, that puts them in a particular legal category, and that would empower the parent service then to take those actions on their behalf.
ALLIANCE COMMENT: Is Admiral Quigley serious? Is he actually implying that only military personnel designated detainees are legally protected. This statement implies any other designation would afford no legal protection to the service personnel in any category other than detainee. The military has procedures in place to protect and act on behalf of servicemen and women who become Prisoner of War, Missing in Action or Hostage. Was Admiral Quigley deliberately trying to mislead the press into believing the Pentagon was best protecting the interests of this crew by declaring them detainees, rather than hostages? Sure looks that way.
QUESTION: Would you dispute the term "prisoner" and do the financial transactions include an extension of tax filing?
QUIGLEY: Say that again, I'm sorry.
QUESTION: Prisoner, do you have the same problems with using the word "prisoner," that you do with hostage?
QUESTION: For what reason?
QUIGLEY: Again, I don't think the terms apply. I think of a prisoner, I think of somebody behind bars. I think of someone charged with a crime. Those circumstances are not present.
ALLIANCE COMMENT: Prisoners "somebody behind bars" usually. However, it is not necessary to be behind bars to be a prisoners. "Someone charged with a crime" now that's an interesting phrase, one that would sure come as a surprise to our servicemen and women held as PRISONERS during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf.
QUESTION: And are they going to be given an extension to file their taxes?
QUIGLEY: One of the benefits of being declared a detainee is an automatic extension of your income tax filing date, should that occur. We are hopeful that they would be released before that's an issue.
ALLIANCE COMMENT: Again, are we to believe that an American serviceman or woman held as Prisoner or Hostage would not have the same benefits as a detainee. It is sad that no one in the media picked up on this DOD two step.
Detained or Hostage - here is the difference. Hostage says Iran 1979.... Detained says your plane is late....
U.S. POW/MIA TEAMS BEGIN NORTH KOREA OPERATIONS - from the Department of Defense, May 2, 2001 - "Department of Defense specialists have arrived in North Korea to begin operations
to recover the remains of servicemen missing in action from the Korean War. The 28-person team, comprised primarily of personnel from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii, will operate for approximately 30 days in an area about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. If remains are recovered during this
operation, they will be airlifted via U.S. Air Force aircraft from Pyongyang, and repatriated at the end of this month."
"Negotiators from the Defense Department's Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office reached agreement with the North Koreans in December to set the schedule for operations in 2001. The agreement calls for 10 joint recovery operations. Eight of the operations will be in the areas of Unsan, Kaechon and Kujang, where
battles involving the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry, 2nd Infantry and 25th Infantry were fought in November 1950.
Later in the year, teams will conduct two additional operations on the east and west sides of the Chosin Reservoir in the northeast portion of North Korea."
"Korean War analysts believe that as many as 750 U.S. soldiers and Marines may have been lost during battles in November and December 1950 near the Chosin. The joint U.S.-North Korean teams have recovered 107 sets of remains since these operations began in 1996. Eight have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Approximately 10 more are in the final stages of the forensic identification process."
"The 10 operations in North Korea this year will conclude with a final repatriation on November 11..."
More On The Helicopter Crash in Vietnam - Someone very close to POW/MIA investigations, in Vietnam during the early 1990's, reminded us of a request made to Senators John Kerry and John McCain during one of their visits to Vietnam, as members of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. Our source stated that Kerry and McCain asked what was needed to aid investigators in their efforts. The first request made was for the ability to use American made helicopters instead of the old Soviet choppers currently in use. Nothing came of that request.
We do not suggest that this tragic accident would not have occurred if an American helicopter had been in use. Any helicopter can crash. All we are asking is why the supposedly fully cooperating Vietnamese are still refusing to allow U.S. investigators to use U.S. helicopters in their investigations.
The Vietnamese Onboard - The Vietnamese victims of the crash included Nguyen Than Ha, deputy director of
the Vietnamese liaison office; Senior Col. Tran Van Bien, deputy director for the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Personnel: Lt. Col. Nguyen Van Ha; Maj. Nguyen Thanh Son; Maj. Nguyen Huu Nham; Maj. Vu Pham The Kien; Lt. Giap Thanh Ngan; Lt. Pham Duy Dung; and Lt. Dang Ngoc, all officers in the Vietnamese Air Force.
The National Alliance of Families extends our sympathy to their families.
The World Is Full of Coincidences - If some of you recognize the name Nguyen Thanh Son, you are a regular reader of Bits. That is the exact same name of the Vietnamese rallier who reported the sightings of Army Capt. John McDonnell at the Ba To POW camp, between August 1972 and February 1973.
Serviceman Accounted For - Air Force Lt. Col. Roscoe "Ross" Fobair - from the LA Times, by David Pierson "It took 36 years for Fobair's family to learn what happened to him. One of Fobair's teeth and pieces of his uniform were found 45 miles outside Hanoi in 1997, near where his plane crashed. The discovery was made by an American military task force and documented by Fobair's nephew... Bruce Giffin of Santa Barbara. The tooth was officially deemed Fobair's by a forensics lab in December...."
From the Associated Press Sunday, April 29, 2001 "A single tooth will be in the coffin when an Air Force navigator is buried tomorrow, nearly 36 years after he was shot down and vanished during the Vietnam War.
The upper front left molar was found in a dry stream bed in Vietnam three years ago and identified last year as that of Lt. Col. Roscoe Henry Fobair...."
"... In November 1997, investigators uncovered the tooth, zipper tabs from a flight suit, a 1964 penny and remnants of a watch.... ... After the Air Force confirmed that the tooth matched Fobair's dental records, Giffin brought the remains back to Santa Barbara...."
The Russians Were Here... The Russians Were Here.... From the Associated Press - April 25, 2001 By Keith Rogers - "When fighter pilot Harold Fischer was shot down by a Soviet MiG in 1953, it never dawned on him that someday he'd be having dinner at his Las Vegas home with some of the same Russian pilots who were his enemies in the Korean War...."
".... Fischer, 75, and other U.S. pilots from the Korean War have been working with the Pentagon's POW-MIA Office and the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW-MIAs to pin down where some of the 77 missing Soviet pilots were killed in action."
"During recent exchanges that were capped with the association's meeting last week in Las Vegas, information from U.S. pilots has helped the Russians determine the fate of 23 of those pilots. Vladimir Zolotarev, a general major and co-chairman of the joint commission, said even small clues have helped. "There are many nuances and false leads," he said, "but our aim is to investigate all leads."
"Ret. Col. Bud Mahurin praised the joint commission's effort. "They have to determine maybe from a little piece of flesh who that person was. They've done a fantastic job," said Mahurin, an ace in World War II and Korea and
a former POW whose F-86 was hit by ground fire and crash-landed in North Korea."
"Vladimir Korochkin, a general-colonel who shot down two Air Force F-86 Saber jets in 1952, said there is no bitterness between his comrades and the U.S. pilots. "We are all created the same way, we fighter pilots," Korochkin said...."
U.S. Russian Commission Members Met in D.C. - where a reception was held in their honor. Among those invited were the heads of the POW/MIA family organizations and guests. Representing the Alliance was National Chairperson, Dolores Alfond. Mrs. Alfond stated that the reception afforded an excellent opportunity to meet one on one with Russian Commission members and build toward a people to people relationship, that would, hopefully, encourage a new openness on the POW/MIA issue between our two countries.
Mrs. Alfond presented each of Russian members of the commission with small tokens to remind them of our POW/MIAs and our commitment to learning their fate.
Why does Johnnie Webb still have a job?
Rapidly Approaching - The National Alliance of Families Twelfth Annual Forum is scheduled for June 21st - 23rd, 2001. Our Forum is conducted to coincide with the governments annual POW/MIA Family Briefings. We urge all family members to attend this years government briefings, for Vietnam family members. Remember the government will provide free airfare to two family members to attend the briefings. There is no charge or registration fee to attend the government briefings. It is important that family members attend these briefings.
Our meeting will be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 1489 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington Va. Room rates are $106.00 single or double, plus tax. To make reservations call 703- 416-1600 Remember to say you want the National Alliance of Families Group Rate. The deadline for reservations is May 29th, 2001.
One of our confirmed speakers is former National Security Agency Analyst Jerry Mooney.
Remember, the Alliance is an all volunteer organization. Our meetings are open to all, without charge. At this time of year, we actively seek contributions to finance our Forum. If you wish to contribute, donations may be mailed to:
National Alliance of Families
P.O. Box 40327
Bellevue, WA. 98015.
Remember All Contributions Are Tax Deductible.
Contact us here!