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LYNN O'SHEA - Director of Research (

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September 6, 2008

Almost 16 years ago, President George H.W. Bush (Bush #41) dispatched a high level delegation to Hanoi. The Vietnamese were about to release a cache of photos promised to be a major breakthrough on the POW/MIA issue. Leading the delegation were retired Army General and Presidential emissary John Vessey. A last minute addition to the group was former POW and Senator John McCain.

The trip to Hanoi and its results were reported by Barbara Crossette of the New York Times on October 23rd 1992, "President Bush said today that the acquisition of thousands of Vietnamese photographs of the bodies of American servicemen was a "major breakthrough" in accounting for missing Americans. But he said he would have to determine "exactly how major" before deciding to move toward diplomatic recognition of Hanoi."

Some 5,000 photos were turned over with much duplication within the group. The photos depicted aircraft wreckage, pilot related equipment, military identification cards and photos depicting remains of deceased airmen. Once reviewed, the photos showed very few servicemen. We hadn't thought about these photos in a very long time.

Recently, an article written by and posted on the blog site of Edward R. Ross a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs (DPMO) was brought to our attention. In an entry dated May 12, 2008, Mr. Ross described a meeting with Senator John McCain. During that meeting Ross briefed McCain on the progress made in identifying the individuals whose bodies were depicted in the photos obtained in Hanoi. Mr. Ross was enthusiastic in his praise of Senator McCain's efforts on behalf of our POWs and MIA. You may view the full article at . Mr. Ross specifically mentions presenting photos depicting the remains of Joseph C. Morrison, Marvin Lindsey and John Seuell, to Senator McCain.

These photos and the staged accounting of 4 servicemen during Senator John Kerry's November 1992 trip to Vietnam set the stage for an easing of economic restrictions against Vietnam. As a result of this new found "cooperation," and at the urging of Senators Kerry and McCain, a significant easing of the trade embargo against Vietnam was announced on December 14th 1992. According to the New York Times, "The move is a response to what the Administration sees as greater Vietnamese cooperation in the search for the 2,284 American servicemen still listed as missing from the Vietnam War."

After reading the Ross blog entry, we wondered who else was identified in these photos and what their status was. One would think that if the Vietnamese documented the deaths of these individuals, with photographs, they would have also noted their gravesites for future retrieval of remains, if they weren't warehoused.

Not long after the Ross column was posted; we left for Washington D.C. to conduct research. One document found, actually it was letter dated November 2, 1992, signed by Senators John Kerry and Bob Smith. The letter addressed to the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Nations, Trinh Xuan Lang requested additional information on many subjects including the photos, stating:

"As you know, the wartime photographs we have recently acquired have received considerable attention in the U.S. press. In many instances, these photos have raised new questions that only Vietnam can answer. First, we have five photos showing live American POWs who we have not yet been able to identify. We ask your assistance in identifying those men and in determining their fate. Secondly, we have photos showing the remains of 11 unaccounted-for Americans. These men's families are asking when they can expect the remains of their loved ones to be repatriated. Thirdly, we have photos showing identification media belonging to 24 unaccounted-for Americans, two of whom were lost in Laos. The families of these men want to know what happened to these men and, if they died, when the remains of their loved ones will be brought home for burial in the United States. We would like to announce the dates of the repartition of these remains during out visit. Finally, we have seen photos showing the remains of Americans we have not yet been able to identify. We ask your assistance in identifying these individuals, and if they are still unaccounted-for, in returning their remains."

Attached to the letter, is a breakdown of the photos:

"The photos included several of Americans after they were captured by your personnel but we have been unable to make positive identifications for five individuals.

"We now have photographs of the remains of 11 previously unaccounted for individuals and we need to have their remains repatriated. The servicemembers are:"

Adams, Lee Aaron, USAF
Allard, Michael John, USN
Dickson, Edward Andres, USN
Lindsey, Marvin, USAF
Lynn, Doyle Wilmer, USN
McClellan, Paul Truman, USAF
Mitchell, Gilbert L. USN
Morrison, Joseph C. USAF
Nordahl, Lee E. USAF
Seuell, John W. USAF
Wallace, Hobart M. USMC

Upon reviewing this list we asked ourselves, how many of these individuals have been returned and identified?

Using the DPMO list of "U.S. Accounted-For from the Vietnam War - Prisoners of War, Escapees, Returnees and Remains Recovered" dated August 28, 2008, we found only three of the eleven have been returned or recovered and identified. Two were returned in 1993. One was returned in 1986 but not identified until 2002. They are:

Adams, Lee Aaron, USAF Remains Recovered 10-6-93 Identified 3-17-05
Allard, Michael John, USN Remains Recovered 8-4-93 Identified 10-21-00
Wallace, Hobart M. USMC Remains Returned 4-10-86 Identified 3-27-02 (unilateral remains repatriation)

The remaining eight are still unaccounted for, 16 years after the Vietnamese provided photos of their remains.

We took a quick look at the case of Gilbert Mitchell downed March 6, 1968, along with Richard C. Nelson. We found that on July 17, 1984, the Vietnamese unilaterally repatriated the remains of Richard Nelson. The remains were identified some 16 days later, on August 2nd. The quick identification, assuming Tadeo Furue got it right, indicates either the remains were in a condition that allowed quick identification, identification media was provided with the remains, or a combination of both. The Vietnamese had immediate access to Mitchell and Nelson, alive or dead. They choose to return Nelson in 1984. They provided a photograph of Mitchell's remains in 1992.

We also took a quick look at the case of Lee Nordhal (REFNO 0215-2-02) and found a message dated June 28, 2001. The message deals with a JTF-FA (now JPAC) review, between 1999 and 2000, of wartime photographs found in the archives of the Vietnam News Agency.

According to the message, "preliminary analysis indicates a possible correlation of the information contained in these photographs can be made with unresolved REFNO 0215-2-02."

The description of the photos seems to indicate more than a "possible correlation."

"Caption for all photos: Fate of the American robber pilots - here, American robber pilot LTJG Nordahl flew an A3J3 aircraft, an armed reconnaissance type of aircraft which came to violate the Quang Ninh Skie; before he could play his hit-and-run tricks, he was fired upon by troops and local people which destroyed his plane and it crashed on the spot from the first volley."

The message went on to describe three photographs showing an injured American pilot with Vietnamese personnel performing a medical procedure.

The photographs "show a U.S. serviceman being treated for injuries. The photos, while showing a swollen face, are consistent with service photographs contained in JTF-FA files. The caption for the photos give the loss date ((20 December 1965)) and name ((LTJG Nordahal)) which both correlate with case 0215."

The 2001 message ended saying; "Case 0215 has been investigated during six joint field activities ((JFA's 26, 30, 32, 47, 53, and 55)) in both Quang Ninh and Hai Phong. Forty-eight witnesses have been interviewed and an excavation has been conducted but the remains of LTJG Nordahl have not been located."

"Both crewmen involved in case 0215 reportedly died as a result of injuries sustained during their low-level ejection LTJG Nordahl's current status is dead, remains not recovered."

In response to a March 1977 visit to Hanoi, by a Presidential delegation led by Leonard Woodcock, President of the United Auto Workers Union (a credential that no doubt made him eminently qualified to deal with Vietnam on POW matters and if anyone doesn't recognize this, it is sarcasms) Vietnam released the remains of 12 servicemen. Records show that remains of LCDR Guy Johnson, were repatriated on 19 March 1977. The remains were identified March 31, 1977.

The swiftness of the identification again indicated either remains were in good condition and/or identification media was present. There is a real possibility that the remains of Johnson and Nelson came from Vietnam's warehouse of remains. If remains for Johnson and Nelson were recovered and warehoused, it is not a great leap of logic to consider the possibility that remains for both Nordahl and Mitchell are warehoused, especially since Vietnamese forces had and documented their contact with Nordahl and Mitchell.

Perhaps at sometime in the future, the Vietnamese will return Nordahal to his loss sites, to be recovered by JPAC investigators.

Thanks to the efforts of Senators John Kerry and John McCain, the trade embargo against Vietnam was lifted in 1993 and diplomatic relations was established in 1995.

Mobil/Exxon, Coke, and scores of other American businesses are now in Vietnam and so are Edward Dickson, Marvin Lindsey, Doyle Lynn, Paul McClellan, Joseph Morrison, Lee Nordahl, John Seuell and perhaps Gilbert Mitchell. The difference, American businesses are there by choice.

[Alliance Note: Gilbert Mitchell is listed on JPAC's "urgent" list for family reference sample for mt-DNA testing. The "Urgent" list represents "cases where the JPAC CIL already has remains (recovered or received) that might represent the casualties listed."]

"There are seven photos from your archives of American servicemen whose remains we are unable to identify. We would appreciate any additional information you can provide to help in identifying these individuals and we would like to have their remains repatriated."

Regarding the remains of seven additional servicemen photographed by the Vietnamese, we wonder if the Vietnamese provided the information needed to identify these men. Based on the fact that 8 of those identified in photos have not been returned some 16 years after the photos were provided, we doubt it.

"There are photo of identification media for 14 American servicemen who are still unaccounted for. We would appreciate any additional information you can provide us to help us resolve these cases and we would like to have their remains repatriated."

Adams, John R., USA
Allard, Michael, J., USN
Brown, Robert, M., USAF
Bruch, Donald W., USAF
Dickson, Edward, A., USAF
Duffy, John E., USAF
Francisco, San D., USAF
Fryar, Bruce C., USN *
Hall, James W., USN
Hynds, Wallace G., USAF
Kimsey, William A., USA
McClellan, Paul T., USAF
Mellor, Fredric Moore, USAF
Mongilardi, Peter, USN
Morrison, Joseph C., USAF
Ott, William A., USAF *
Owens, Fred M., USA
Parish, Charles C., USN
Pharris, William V., USA
Pogreba, Dean A., USAF
Straley, John L., USA
Thackerson, Walter A., USA
Walter, Bruce C., USAF X (Walker)
Wheeler, Eugene L., USMC

* Lost in Laos

[Alliance Notes: the description states identification cards on 14 individuals. Clearly, 24 are named. This was an obvious typo.

X There is no Bruce C. Walter listed as unaccounted for. We believe this is a typo and the name should read Bruce C. Walker]

Again, using DPMO's list of accounted for dated August 28th, we found the following individual were remains returned or recovered and identified. They are:

Allard, Michael, J., Remains Recovered 8-4-93 Identified 10-21-00
Duffy, John E., Remains Recovered 6-8-93 Identified 2-12-96
Hall, James W., Remains Recovered 7-31-89 Identified 1-28-00
Kimsey, William A., Remains Recovered 1-1-98 Identified 7-19-01
Mongilardi, Peter, Remains Recovered 4-13-94 Identified 8-25-06

Of the list of 24 on whom Vietnamese officials photographed identification media, 5 are remains recovered and identified. That leaves 19 servicemen whose personal effects are in the possession of Vietnamese officials, yet the men remain unaccounted for.

It is important to point out here, that this list is not the total number of individuals documented by the Vietnamese. Identification media for a number of individuals not listed are viewable at various war museums in Vietnam. For examples identification media for the following individuals have been located in Vietnam since 1992, Paul Hasenbeck, Thomas Mangino, Daniel Winters, Daniel Nidds, John McDonnell and Gregory Harris. Yet, no photos were provided in 1992. This indicates the information provided in 1992 was not the total amount of information known to the Vietnamese.

If Anyone Reading This Runs into Senators John Kerry or John McCain - Ask them to contact their buddies in Hanoi and have them release the men, they very obviously had contact with at the time of the individuals' incidents or shortly thereafter. Their documentation of these cases clearly shows Hanoi knows more then it's telling

One would have thought, at the very least, the release of remains of these men would have been a requirement before we gave away the store. Kerry and McCain didn't care about the men left behind alive or dead.

Next week, we will tell you about information on possible live POWs ignored by Kerry and McCain

You Are Not Going To Believe This -- We can't even believe we're typing this but we've heard this from three people. All of whom voiced strong objection to what we are about to tell you. Johnie Webb is under consideration for a Senior Executive Service promotion.

We've also heard that the current head of JPAC, Admiral Crisp is retiring at the end of this year. According to what we've heard and again, we stress this is unconfirmed, she has recommended to Pacific Command that upon his promotion Johnie Webb be placed in charge of JPAC. CIL-HI headed by Col. Johnie Webb was a disaster. We have no reason to believe JPAC headed by a civilian Johnie Webb would fair any better.

Responsibility - This past July the Captain and Executive Officer of the USS Georgia were fired, after a fire aboard the ship injured 37 and caused $70 million in damages. The fire was believed to have been started by crew members sneaking a smoke. It quickly spread to improperly stored materials and took 12 hours to extinguish.

Now, the Captain and Executive Officer did not provide the cigarettes that started the fire. Nor, did they take them out of the pack, put them in the crew members' mouths, and light them. They were, however, in command and therefore responsible for any deficiencies within their command. That's how it works in the military.

Yet, the military command at CIL-HI, now JPAC was immune to this. Investigated twice once in 1986 and again in 1992, CIL-HI was found deficient both times. Yet, it's Commander, then Col. Johnie Webb, survived unscathed.

Violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice - Article 107 reads:

"Any person subject to this chapter who, with intent to deceive, signs any false record, return, regulation, order, or other official document, knowing it to be false, or makes any other false official statement knowing it to be false, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."


(1) That the accused signed a certain official document or made a certain official statement;
(2) That the document or statement was false in certain particulars;
(3) That the accused knew it to be false at the time of signing it or making it; and
(4) That the false document or statement was made with the intent to deceive.

And, that's how Michael Blassie was stripped of his identity and became the Vietnam Unknown. Col. Johnie Webb signed the certificate stating the remains were unidentifiable. Then he signed the document acknowledging the removal of all documents relating to Michael Blassie from the X-26 file. To view: visit

His command was investigated twice and found deficient both times. He signed official documentation with "the intent to deceive." Yet, he remained in command. Upon retirement he was hired back as a civilian employee and serves as a Deputy Commander at JPAC.

Today, the lab is once again in disarray. The laboratory is inadequate and understaffed. These are the same problems found during the 1992 investigation. We need to move forward, not backwards.

Johnie Webb, a Promotion. No Way! Why does Johnie Webb have a job?

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