Ponders the fate of Southeast Asia MIAs
To the Editor:
As Jan. 27 approaches, we are reminded of our unrecovered prisoners of war and those missing in action from Southeast Asia for whom there has not been an accounting.
Forty-two years ago, an announcement was made that all prisoners would be released within 90 days of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.
The accords would end active American involvement in Southeast Asia.
At the time, the other prisoners were repatriated by the end of March 1973, Lt. White was still held captive by the Viet Cong.
Fortunately for Lt. White, his captor, Tran Van Tra, wanted to return to his military position in Hanoi. Therefore, Tran offered White's release once he was transported aboard a C-130 to Hanoi.
Lt. White was returned to U.S. control on April 1, 1973.
What happened to Lt. Cmdr. John Graf, who was on the flight with Lt. White on Nov. 15, 1969, ejected safely with Lt. White, landed on the beach with Lt. White, and was captured by the Viet Cong with Lt. White?
How many other prisoners were kept by the Vietnamese but who weren't fortunate to have a captor with motive and the ability to make a deal for their release after the repatriation of the American prisoners in March?
What did those prisoners who were not repatriated during Operation Homecoming think when they were not released?
If White and Graf were not on the official release list, how many others were alive and omitted from the Vietnamese list?
Where were the prisoners captured in Laos? Will these questions be answered in our lifetime?