Letter: Says ‘far more must be done’ to help POW/MIA families
To the Editor:
Jan. 27 is the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement ending active involvement in the Vietnam War at which time all prisoners of war would be returned within ninety days.
Many POW/MIA families across the country still wait for answers. Their loved ones may be missing from WWII, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
General John Vessey was the Presidential Emissary to Vietnam in 1987 at which time he presented the Vietnamese with 224 case narratives (310 individuals) of “compelling discrepancy cases.”
During his 1987 testimony before the Subcommittee on Asian-Pacific Affairs, he described the chosen cases as, “those cases of Americans for whom there was strong evidence that they survived their incident and were captured or otherwise came under Vietnamese control, or about whom the Vietnamese authorities should have information.”
After recently reviewing the Vessey files last month, I have found that after 32 years, remains of only 38 percent of the individuals have been returned and identified for burial.
Information in the narratives ranged from confirmed capture, reported death in captivity, to no specific information.
Since July 2018, only 11 remains of servicemen and civilians (none of whom were among the compelling cases) have been identified from Southeast Asia.
We are grateful for the recent progress in the identification of remains from WWII and Korea using the latest forensic advancements, but far more must be done to resolve our nation’s greatest tragedy.