This month's Pappy's Page is a repeat of one from March 2014. There are three reasons for repeating this information: 1) This month marks the 44th anniversary of one of Olney's own, Lt. Dan V. Borah, Jr. being shot down over Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. 2) We have many new members who are not familiar with Dan's plight. 3) It serves as a reminder of why Rolling Thunder® exists.
This month's comments pertain to Lt. Daniel Vernor Borah, Jr. USN, POW 24 Sept 1972. The information contained in this report comes from Kathy Borah Duez (deceased) and Julie Borah Bunn (Dan's sisters), Lynn O'Shea (deceased)of National Alliance of Families and Greasy Belcher of Task Force Omega.
Lt. Daniel Vernor Borah, Jr. USN
On 24 September 1972, Lt. Daniel V. Borah, Jr., pilot, with his wingman launched their A-7 Corsairs from the deck of the USS Oriskany. Their mission was a day strike against enemy targets located in dense jungle approximately 15 miles south of the DMZ, 23 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Laotian border and 25 miles west of the Vietnam coast. Their target included North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops who were entrenched in bunkers roughly 13 miles west-northwest of the city of Quang Tri, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.
At 1350 hours, and under the operational control of the on-site Forward Air Controller (FAC), Dan and his wingman began their initial bombing run as briefed. After a malfunctioning release switch dropped his entire load of bombs, Dan's wingman took a cover/observation position at 13,000 ft.
During Dan's second run, his plane encountered anti-aircraft fire and burst into flames. The FAC saw Dan eject safely from the aircraft and descend under a full canopy. His wingman established emergency radio contact with him for 10-15 seconds after he safely landed on the ground. During his last voice contact, Dan radioed: "Gomer…all around…" Several manual tracking beeps followed radio contact. Search and rescue (SAR) efforts began immediately, but no further contact was made with him over the next two days. On 26 September SAR operations were terminated when intelligence reports were received confirming that NVA soldiers removed Dan's parachute from a tree within 30 minutes of his landing on the ground. At the time, Lt. Daniel V. Borah, Jr. was listed Missing in Action.
On 19 October 1972, information was received that confirmed Dan had been captured and was a POW. His status immediately changed from MIA to POW, and his family notified accordingly.
In 1991, 17 color photographs depicting an American POW were taken in Laos and brought to the US. After an extensive search among POW/MIA families, Dan's parents saw the photos and immediately recognized their son. To confirm the identity of Dan and the man in the 1991 photos to be one and the same, experts were asked to compare those pictures with pre-capture family photos of Dan along with photos of other family members which were used to aid in the identification process. The results of those tests were positive. (Now for the 1st govt. lie) In an attempt to discredit the 1991 photos and downplay the live POW issue, the Laotian and US governments rapidly produced a Laotian highland tribesman, named "Mr. Ahroe." Both governments claimed he was the man photographed in the now famous 1991 pictures, and said the photos were part of an elaborate scheme to swindle money from POW/MIA families. Both governments also attempted to use this situation to disprove the existence of living POWs remaining in Southeast Asia today. (attempted coverup)
Dan's father was part of the task force that went to interview and photograph Mr. Ahroe. Upon returning to the U.S. the family took both the original 1991 photos and the new pictures to experts in Still Digital Imaging analysis to verify if they were pictures of the same man, or as they believed, two different men. The results of that study state: "Both individuals are similar in basic appearance, however upon concentrated examination it becomes obvious that the similarity is just that: a similarity."
In November 1994, General James Wold, then Director of the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO), met with his Vietnamese counterpart (Mr. Cong) and was informed that information on 5 cases, including that of Dan Borah, would be provided by the end of the year. On 14 August 1995, 8 months after that promise, a Vietnamese witness was presented to US Officials. Mr. Toan dutifully reported he knew of "a pilot who was found dead in his parachute and buried nearby on 24 September 1972." (2nd lie)
In early 1996, Mr. Toan led Joint Task Force - Full Accounting (JTF-FA) personnel to a gravesight. Soon afterward the Borah family was notified that JTF-FA) believed those remains belonged to Dan. This was a premature assumption based on an apparent lie and void of any scientific analysis.
During the grave site excavation, JTF-FA personnel recovered some 19 teeth, 3 long bones and various bone chips and shards along with virtually intact clothing. All recovered items was transported to the Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii (CIL-HI) for possible identification. On 21 May 1997. CIL-HI determined that due to the poor condition of the bones caused by many years of exposure in acidic soil, none of them could be used for anthropological analysis. They did rule, however, upon thorough examination of the 19 teeth, that all of them absolutely matched Lt. Borah's dental records. (3rd lie)
The Borah family requested independent analyses of CIL-HI's findings and was promptly, forcefully and repeatedly informed by USG officials the only way that would ever happen was if the family accepted the remains - and thereby accepting their positive identification of those remains as Dan's - first. If the family did not accept CIL-Hi's identification, then the remains, flight suit, etc, would be placed in a box on a shelf at CIL-HI and the family would never again have access to them. Further, the USG would publicly announce their findings that Lt. Borah's remains were recovered and identified thereby closing his case publicly as well as officially. The family chose to secure the remains for further examination and testing rather than allow the government to "win by default." The results of their efforts are truly astounding.
First, the teeth were not all from the same person. At least one of them had a very pronounced shape that was characteristic only of someone of American Indian ancestry. Dan has no history of American Indian ancestry. Also, according to private sector experts, CIL-HI dental personnel ignored the fact that their dental match was successful only if the teeth were moved to the other side of the mouth. The family's dentist who took care of the entire family retired years ago. The family was successful in tracking down his records, including x-rays, which had been archived. Interestingly, all family members records were found intact except for Dan’s. The dental records provided by the USG (4th lie) are suspect for many reasons not the least of which is none of the normal personal data stenciled on the x-ray or x-ray sleeve is present. Because of this, there is no way to know who those x-rays actually belong to.
United States Naval aviators fly in a one piece flight suit. The "full flight suit" recovered with the remains is not one piece, but rather a shirt and pants. Dan weighed 200 pounds and was prone to easy weight gain. His family always teased him about his ability to fit into a jet fighter's cockpit. To quote his sister, Kathy, who is much smaller than he was, "the pants would barely fit me. They would never fit him." Further, all rank designations, unit patches and the American flag that at one time had been sewn onto this garment had been carefully cut off making it impossible to determine any real connection between this "flight suit" and its' owner. CIL-HI experts stated that the acidic soil of Vietnam is what destroyed the bones making them useless for identification purposes. That same soil should have totally destroyed the much more flimsy material of the flight suit, with the possible exception of the zippers, that Dan was supposedly buried in. Again, according to Kathy, "you could put that flight suit on and wear it on the street. It looks no worse than if it had been attacked by angry moths in the back of a closet." In my personal opinion, this is a prime example of the gravesite salting techniques used by the Vietnamese government.
Based on the USG's own intelligence records, there is no question Dan was captured alive and held prisoner by communist forces. The real question today is: Is he still surviving in spite of the USG's claims to the contrary?
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America POWs remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Fighter pilots were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.
While the USG considers Lt. Dan Borah to be "remains returned," his family does not. I continue to wear his POW bracelet to fight for an honorable accounting for him and the others.
Thanks to Uncle Jesse for bringing this article to my attention several months ago.
Still, I had three failed marriages. I guess you could say I had trouble with relationships. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fill that hole where I’d tried to bury my war memories, bury them alive.
Today our fighting men and women are being welcomed home, but he fought in Vietnam.
The motorcycles lined up two by two in the hotel parking lot. A gleaming row of rumbling chrome and leather. Guys in chaps and jackets covered with patches. It was a bright blue May morning in the Sierra Nevada foothills. A perfect day for the start of a long ride.
The 40 of us gathered there were experienced bikers. Veterans, in more ways than one. But everyone looked a little on edge. This was no ordinary ride. These were no ordinary men.
I know I was nervous. The ride leader, Steve Mulcahy, had just asked me for a favor. “Wayne,” he said, “our chaplain just called. His bike broke down. Can you take over?”
Me? Chaplain? For a bunch of bikers? The guys in this parking lot all had one thing in common. We’d served in the military. And now we were about to embark on a 10-day cross-country trip to Washington, D.C., for a motorcycle rally on the National Mall called Rolling Thunder.
For two decades, motorcycle-riding vets have descended on D.C. on Memorial Day weekend to honor soldiers and bring attention to prisoners of war and those missing in action.
For years I’d wanted to do this ride, organized by the National Veterans Awareness Organization. At last I had the time and the money. But ride as chaplain?
Sure, I was a founding member of my local Christian Motorcyclists Association chapter. But I was still coming to terms with what this ride meant for me. I still struggled with memories I’d spent the better part of my life trying to forget. How could I be a spiritual guide to these guys when I felt so shaky inside?
“Sure,” I told Steve. What else could I say? How could I explain to him things I could hardly explain to myself?
“Mount up!” Steve called.
We pulled out of the parking lot and roared onto the highway. The missing man formation went in front: five guys in rows of two, with one space left empty to honor the unknown soldier. Everyone else was staggered in a line behind.
Road guards pulled ahead at intersections to clear the way so we could keep rolling. It truly was a gorgeous day, the air scented with pine. But it didn’t take long for my mind to drift into memories. I knew this would happen. I knew it had to happen. I’d tried to prepare myself. But really, you can’t.
My ’Nam memories were different from other vets’. And that was part of the problem. I’d done everything I could to avoid the draft. I even asked my doctor to X-ray me in case some hidden medical problem might keep me out.
Nope. I was inducted in September 1971 and shipped out the following May for a 10-month tour. I was assigned to a Criminal Investigation Division unit as a case processor on a big base near Saigon.
In those days of the war, morale was rock bottom and soldiers were heavy into drugs, fragging officers, shooting each other over girls. No one was more hated than guys in the rear, especially criminal investigators.
Sometimes I felt like I was the enemy, not the Viet Cong. I never got shot at but I saw plenty of ugliness, plenty of things I wish I hadn’t.
It wasn’t just the crime-scene memories I wanted to forget when I got home. I hadn’t been out in the jungle. I felt like I hadn’t been a real soldier. Besides, everyone Stateside hated the war by that point. “Don’t want to talk about it,” I’d mumble when people asked what it was like.
I didn’t struggle with alcohol and drugs like some vets did. I found work as a carpenter and stuck with it. Now I owned my own contracting business. I came to the Lord about 10 years after ’Nam and never looked back.
Rumbling down the highway on my Harley, I told myself to snap out of it. At the end of each day’s ride it was my job to say a blessing over dinner. That’s what the chaplain did. Prayed before meals and was available to guys in need. It was the second part that worried me.
By day three we were in the Rockies. The scenery was jaw-dropping. But I hadn’t counted on the freezing temperatures in the mountains. I had on tons of layers–leather coat, vest, do-rag, gloves and liners. And still I was numb with cold.
I was in the missing man formation that morning. It started to snow. Flakes collected on my windshield till all I could see were the lights on the bike ahead of me. It was like snow falling on my memories too, making everything that much colder.
What are you doing here, Wayne? I asked myself. I was almost 61 years old. This crazy ride wasn’t going to change anything, especially not the past. I’d gone to war, done my duty and come home. I’d moved on. But had I?
Suddenly I heard a voice. Five simple words: Who are you riding for? My eyes fell on the space left in our formation for the missing soldier. A strange warmth came over me. I gripped my handlebars harder, squeezing back tears, and followed the road as it wound up toward the peaks.
A couple of days later, we were on the Great Plains. We fought to keep our bikes upright in gusty wind. Then it got muggy and we slogged through thunderstorms. All the time I kept my eyes on that missing man.
One morning, in Nebraska, I worked up my courage to say a little more than a prayer at breakfast. I talked about how I’d made my first-ever trip to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial back in 2003.
“Because of where I served, I didn’t know anyone who died,” I said, glancing around the room to see what everyone thought about that. No one seemed to mind. “So what I’m going to do when we get to the memorial,” I continued, “is pick a name at random from the year I was in ’Nam and dedicate this ride to him.”
The room fell silent. I could see men choking back tears. I bowed my head and said a blessing. The minute I sat down, guys were coming up to me.
“Thank you,” they kept saying.
And from that moment, the stories poured out. I heard about it all. Buddies killed. Horrific sights. Lives wrecked back home. Booze, drugs, homelessness, prison.
“No one understood then and they still don’t,” one guy said. “It’s like the whole country just shoved it down in a hole. Like if they ignored it, it would go away.” Just like I had.
We rode on. As we got closer to D.C. we started seeing banners draped from overpasses. Thank you for your service. Welcome home, soldier. I’d waited 40 years to see something like that.
At last we arrived. The entire city seemed to shake and rumble with the sound of motorcycles. The Mall was packed. Every war memorial–World War II, Korea, Vietnam–was obscured by crowds of guys in biker gear.
We made our way toward the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It’s a wall of black rock sunk into the ground of the Mall, inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 men and women killed or missing in action. The memorial is always crowded. That day, we could hardly get to it at first.
Then, suddenly there we were, face-to-face with the reflective black stone. Some of the bikers had never seen the wall before. They approached hesitantly, eyes scanning the etched names for ones they recognized. I ran my finger across the rows until I reached my year in ’Nam.
I stopped at a name. Billy Wyatt. I stood there a minute totally still. I wondered what Billy looked like, how he died. Slowly I made a tracing of his name and closed my eyes to pray. Billy, I dedicate this ride to you. God rest your soul.
I heard a cry. I turned and saw one of the men from our group fall to the ground. He sat crumpled, head in hands, weeping. He’d found his best buddy’s name.
I rushed over and knelt down to put an arm around him. Another guy joined us. For a moment we all just held each other. I tried to pray.
I don’t remember exactly what I said. But the words didn’t matter. What mattered at that moment was that whatever I’d feared at the start of our ride was gone. That hole inside me.... The guys I’d ridden with, my brothers-in-arms, they helped to fill the emptiness. And there was Someone else with us too.
Who are you riding for? Maybe the better question was: Who rode for us? We’d fought and suffered. Few people celebrated our return home. But God was alongside us the whole time.
He climbed down into that hole with us. He rode over the mountains and through the snow and rain. And now he was here, sharing our pain and lifting us up.
Holding my fellow veterans there by the wall, praying for them, it was like I heard that voice from the mountains all over again. And this time he said, Welcome home, soldier.
A couple months ago I saw a very infirmative youtube.com video, "The Present Trauma," www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O9HIQyUtx8. The following is an outline of PTSD information.
1. Video – “The Present Trauma”
2. What is PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)
A. Anxiety disorder – Surfaces experiencing very dangerous, frightening and uncontrollable event
1. Military combat exposure, violent crime, life-threatening accident ( car wreck, criminal or sexual assault, terrorist attack
2. Natural disaster – tornado, flood, hurricane, earthquake
B. Not everyone requires treatment
C. Can affect daily functions if left untreated
1. Resulting in self-medication, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, un- and underemployment, homelessness, incarceration, and suicide
D. Research links co-occurring physical illnesses – physician diagnosed chronic pain, hypertension, sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease
A. Terrifying and start soon after event but can surface weeks, months or years later
B. Four categories
1. Avoidance (amnesia, disassociation, numbing, hyper-vigilance, controlling and isolation)
2. Reliving or re-experiencing (flashbacks, sleep disorders, overwhelmed and overreacting)
3. Victimization ( distrust of others, abandonment, helplessness, fear of change)
4. Shame (feeling guilty, feeling like mentally ill, and unworthy)
C. Untreated can affect family and loved ones leading to treatable depression
D. If symptoms are bad enough go directly to hospital
E. Remember: You are not alone, help is available and It Is Not Your Fault
4. Treatments – include cognitive and exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and medication like
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
5. Where to go or who to contact
A. Vet Centers – 800-905-4675 (EST) – 866-496-8838 (PST) – www.va.gov/directory
B. National Center for PTSD – Combat Call Center - 877-927-8387 – www.ncptsd.org
C. VA Medical Centers – 800-827-1000 - www.va.gov
D. Mental Health America – 800-969-6642 – www.nmha.org
E. Witness Justice – 800-495-4357 – www.witnessjustice.org
F. Military One Source – 800-342-9647 – www.militaryonesource.com (active duty)
G. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies – 847-480-9028 – www.istss.org
H. VA Crisis Line – 800-273-TALK (8255)
6. History – Old malady with new name
A. 1670 Swiss military doctors called it “nostalgia”
B. Napoleonic wars (early 1800’s) battle surgeons called it “exhaustion”
C. American Civil War became “soldier’s heart or the effort syndrome”
D. “Shell shock” was the name in WWI
E. WWII term was “battle or combat fatigue”
F. Vietnam in early 70’s became “Post-Vietnam Syndrome”
G. In 1980 the term “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder” was published.
Dysfunction Within the POW/MIA Accounting Effort
During last month's meeting I touched briefly upon the dysfunction within the POW/MIA accounting effort. In this month's "Pappy's Page," I have borrowed the Bits & Pieces section from the October issue of the Rolling Thunder®, Inc. National newsletter. This article not only details what is happening now but also explores the fate of our POW/MIA's and the government's lack of involvement for 100 years. This information explains why Rolling Thunder®, Inc. exists, as well as, why we do what we do on a local level. It is a lengthy but very informative read.
The IG Report – Scheduled for release at the end of July, the DoD Inspector General Report on dysfunction within the POW/MIA accounting effort has yet to see the light of day. The report a “stinging rebuke” of the governments POW/MIA accounting effort, now sits on Secretary Hagel’s desk.
Fortunately, we managed to obtain a copy of the draft report. The IG report detailed the mismanagement and leadership failures at the Central Identification Laboratory. We were pleased to find the IG agrees with the Alliance positon that for the new effort to succeed there must be a change in leadership and management. The IG report also deals with a number of other issues among them, sun setting the mission, methods of identification, and determining an accurate number of recoverable MIA’s and Proving once again Tom Holland, Johnie Webb along with others must go.
Here are some of the points made in the IG Report.
The IG Report on the Central Identification Laboratory -
[Begin Excerpt] Approximately 50 current and former members of the MIA accounting community have submitted complaints to the DoD IG and Congress regarding various alleged leadership and management derelictions and abuse. Most of these allegations dealt with JPAC and the CIL.
The assessment team contacted and interviewed all complainants referred to the OIG by Congress. While the team was at JPAC and the CIL in February and March 2014, approximately 45 people contacted the team to submit complaints about JPAC and CIL management. The team interviewed many of the complainants at off-site locations.
There have been a number of command climate surveys conducted at JPAC and the CIL over the years, the last one published in April 2014. However, according to the employees interviewed, the command has not implemented corrective actions and the problems persist.
The incidents triggering these allegations occurred over a number of years and paint a picture of long-term leadership and management problems resulting in a hostile and dysfunctional work environment.
For the reorganization of the accounting community announced by the Secretary of Defense on March 31, 2014 to be successful, the DoD must correct these leadership problems before JPAC and DPMO are merged into the new Defense agency. [End Excerpt]
The IG Report on Past Investigations/Reviews of both JPAC and DPMO -
[Begin Excerpt] During the last 10 years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG), the U.S. Pacific Command Office of the Inspector General (USPACOM IG), Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress (CRS), and the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) issued multiple reports discussing DoD’s POW/MIA mission performance issues and made extensive recommendations for improvement. Based on our DoD IG inspection, it was not apparent that many of these recommendations were ever implemented. [End Excerpt]
Alliance Comments on the IG Report:
Leadership and Management problems at the CIL translate to Webb and Holland.
Over the next year or two, expect to see a dramatic reduction of the present number of 83,000 unaccounted personnel to a number of approximately 33,000. This reduction will come with the removed of individuals involved in deep water losses, primarily involving World War II losses, although we should expect some Korea/Cold War and Vietnam losses to be included in the approximate number of 50,000.
The IG report did not address the issue of correcting past mistakes. In our opinion, it is premature to discuss ending recovery missions, when past efforts were so badly mishandled. There must be a mechanism for correcting past mistakes while moving forward.
We Told You So - Pardon us for stopping here for a “we told you so moment.” The National Alliance of Families began calling for the removal of Johnie Webb in 1998, and for a change in the methods used by the Central Identification Laboratory to identify remains in 1995. We pointed out DPMO’s penchant for editing reports or deleting information from case summaries to support Vietnamese versions of a case, allowing DPMO to declare a case “fate determined” when the evidence points otherwise. The efforts of both the lab and DPMO allowed for the naming of remains rather than their identification. Many of these identifications would not stand in a court of law. (ie. Lt. Dan V. Borah, Jr. (my input))
Counting Down to January 1, 2015 - That is the day the new POW/MIA accounting agency will “stand up.” When this process started, we stated we were “cautiously optimistic.” From experience, we knew we had nothing to base this optimism on, beyond the law of averages. DOD has to get something on the POW/MIA issue right at some point even by accident.
Now, four months out from the stand up of the new agency our level of optimism is taking a nosedive.
We have heard little on the actual reorganization effort. We did receive a set of briefing slides outlining the “vision” for the new effort. The slides were long on buzzwords and platitudes with no solid information. In our response, we asked one question. “Where’s the beef?” At four months out, we have no idea of the organizational structure of the new agency, or how it plans to accomplish its mission. DOD is sharing no solid information with the families.
Here Is What We Know –
1. Dr. Thomas Holland Scientific Director & Deputy to the Commander for Central Identification Laboratory Operations is telling anyone who will listen that he was fired and his services at the CIL end on 1 January 2015. Alisa Stack Director, Personnel Accounting Consolidation Task Force (PACT) said during a conference call with family groups that no one has been fired. She did say that there would be some realignment of personnel but no decisions have been made. It appears this is a word game.
The fact is Holland must go. Hopefully, his departure will put an end to the sign-offs of scientifically unsupportable identifications. In fairness, we must point out Dr. Holland’s sign-off of these shoddy identifications would not stand without the support of senior management at both JPAC and DPMO. We, once again, make it clear without a change in senior and mid-level management any reorganization is doomed. Those involved in the reorganization effort are unable or unwilling to commit to any personnel changes.
2. Michael Lumpkin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, the man Secretary of Defense Hagel put in charge of the effort to reorganize the POW/MIA accounting community is no longer involved in the process. When Secretary Hagel made his announcement of the reorganization, Mr. Lumpkin became the face of this effort. To us changing leadership mid-mission makes no sense. In fact, we believe it detrimental to the mission.
What began as an attitude of “cautious optimism” is slipping toward an attitude of “it is going to be business as usual.”
We are also hearing rumors of other dismissals within the Lab at JPAC and removals at the upper levels of JPAC management. However, until those rumors are confirmed we will not comment on them, other than to say,
Why Does Johnie Webb Still Have a Job?
Musings and Speculation – The comments in this section are purely our speculation. We base our speculation on past inactions and reactions asking the question, why DOD and Congress reacted this time to dysfunction and mismanagement within the POW/MIA accounting effort.
The leak of the Cole Report led to unprecedented congressional and senior DOD management reaction. However, a close look at the Cole Report and the subsequent GAO Report reveals no truly new accusations against JPAC or DPMO. The same failures chronicled in the Cole and GAO reports are found in reports and investigations’ going back to the mid-1980’s. As the IG report noted many of the failures found today were found years ago, with management ignoring corrective recommendations. The failures found in the 1980s simply carried through as personnel moved from one agency or position to another, eventually evolving into the JPAC and DPMO of today.
The Cole and GAO reports and now the IG report focus primarily on the lab section at JPAC. Beyond the inability of DPMO and JPAC to work together, to develop proper plans and policy to accomplish its mission, there is little mention of the monumental failures we all know exist within DPMO.
We guess our question is why was the reaction to the Cole and GAO reports so swift and sweeping? What was so different about these reports? The accusations in the reports are old news, mismanagement, poor leadership, falsification of data, ongoing harassment both professional and sexual, wasteful expenditures, and no clearly defined mission policy.
So why now, why this long overdue reaction now? Is there another shoe that has not dropped? Is there something more, something we don’t know about? We do not know, that’s why it’s called speculation.
JPACs K208 Project – On September 1, 2014, Voice of America reported on JPAC efforts to identify a group of remains designated as K208. These remains could possibly represent up to 600 Korean War MIAs, repatriated in the early 1990s. We excerpt the following from the VOA article.
[Begin VOA Article] The process of identifying American remains from the Korean War has picked up speed. Out of the 208 boxes of U.S. remains that Pyongyang handed over to Washington in the early 1990s, a total of 49 were identified in the last three years.
That is a large increase from earlier efforts, when only 61 bodies were identified between 1992 and 2011. The progress came after the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) launched its "K208 Project Team" in 2011.
The process sped up significantly with the use of state-of-the-art DNA identification technology based on the remains’ location information.
In an interview with the VOA Korean service, forensic anthropologist Jennie Jin, who’s leading the project, attributed the advancement in DNA analysis and comparison technology to the breakthrough in JPAC’s findings. "There were many instances where remains that look like they are from one person actually had different people’s bones assembled together," Jin said. "In such cases, [a] DNA test is crucial."
While Pyongyang claimed each box represented a single U.S. service member lost during the war, the American team found that most boxes contained remains from more than one individual.
According to K208, the boxes from Pyongyang also contain remains of South Korean and possibly other United Nations Command soldiers.
The minimum number of remains in the 208 boxes is estimated to be around 600. "We have to use anatomical, anthropological testing, as well as precise DNA identification," Jin said. The Korean-American manager said DNA samples acquired from surviving family members contributed greatly to speeding up the process. According to Jin, the information found in DNA testing is not very useful until it can be compared to the DNA testing results of their family members.
"Back in 1999, we could only attain 15 percent of DNA samples from the family members. Now we have 89 percent," Jin said. That means JPAC acquired DNA samples of around 14,000 people in the last decade.
In addition to the work by JPAC, the U.S. military also has identified more than 30 remains from the Korean War through other projects. [End VAO Article]
Alliance Comment: In the approximately 20 years the K208 remains have been at the lab, there were 110 identifications. That is an overall average of 5.5 identifications per year. Our question here is why the lab waited almost 20 years before initiating its K208 Project. It is disgraceful that remains wait at the lab unidentified when a nuclear DNA centric program could identify these servicemen, faster, less expensively and more accurately that the current method of mt-DNA testing.
How the South Koreans Are Getting the Job Done – The South Korean government has an active effort to find the remains of its soldiers missing from the Korean War. We excerpt the following article dated September 1, 2014 from the Korean Herald.
[Being excerpt] In a four-month project that began in April to find remains of missing service personnel, some 46,000 soldiers dug out sites in 56 regions across the country to recover the bodies, according to the ministry. The excavation team will analyze the registry of missing soldiers and conduct DNA tests to trace their families after retrieving their remains, it added. "Today, we kicked off another four-month excavation project, mobilizing some 50,000 soldiers to search some 46 regions for those missing," a defense ministry official said. It is part of the military's excavation project, which first began in 2000 based upon records of former battle sites and registered soldiers during the three-year conflict, to repatriate the remains to their families. So far, 9,339 bodies have been recovered, with 8,178 of them identified as South Korean soldiers, according to the ministry. [End excerpt]
We confirmed the South Korean government is using the far more accurate nuclear DNA program to identify its missing soldiers.
One Hundred Years Ago - July 28, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. It also marked the beginning of the Communist practice of holding back of any Prisoner of War and American policy of denying their existence. As noted in a report titled “An Examination of U.S. Policy Toward POW/MIAs by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Republican Staff in 1991 (commonly known as the Helms Report),
“The U.S. Government did not publicly admit that U.S. military personnel remained in the custody of the Red Army in Russia upon the return of the American Expeditionary Force in Russia. However, on April 18, 1921, the New York Times reported:
It has been demonstrated that the Soviet government is holding Americans
in the hope that the United States will agree to recognize the Soviet [government]
or enter into trade relations with it or release communists from prison in this country…”
So began a century of Communist policy to hold back American and Allied POWs from World War I, World War II, Korea, the Cold War and Vietnam. Others like Saddam learned well and continued the practice.
Let’s Send Lethal Weapons to Vietnam - If Senator John McCain has his way that is exactly what we will do. On August 18, 2014, John Boudreu of Bloomberg News reported McCain wants to lift the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam. We excerpt the following from the Boudreu article.
[Begin Excerpt] McCain, who along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse met with Vietnamese government officials in Hanoi yesterday, said that the U.S. is willing to step up military cooperation with its former enemy and that the weapons ban could be lifted as early as September. “Now is the time for Vietnam and the United States to take a gigantic leap together,” McCain said at a press conference in Hanoi.
….McCain, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, had previously opposed lifting the ban because of Vietnam’s human rights record. While more needs to be done, Vietnam has improved in that area, he said yesterday.
A push by McCain “should carry weight,” Thayer said. “The symbolic effect is Vietnam is no longer ostracized,” he said. “It becomes like a Malaysia or an Indonesia, countries the U.S. has no qualms about selling appropriate weapons. For Vietnam, it opens up the Sears and Roebuck Catalog they can go through.” [End Excerpt]
Recommended Reading -
Abandoned in Place - The Men We Left Behind and the Untold Story of Operation Pocket Change the Joint Special Operations Command Planned Rescue of American POWs Held in Laos Six Years After the End of the Vietnam War by Lynn O’Shea - available at amazon.com
“Shot down January 27, 1973, hours before the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, Search and Rescue forces reported Morris and Peterson activated their emergency beeper signals. Lt. Peterson made voice contact with circling aircraft. After a brief period, Lt. Peterson radioed: “This is NAIL 89' er. I'm going to be captured! Asked to repeat his transmission he radioed; “I'm going to be captured!”
George Morris and Mark Peterson two servicemen “Abandoned in Place.”
National Alliance of Families
For the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen
World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam + Gulf Wars + Afghanistan
Janella Apodaca Rose – 406-652-3528 Lynn O’Shea - 718-846-4350
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail email@example.com
Ann Holland – firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site www.nationalalliance.org