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POW/MIA COMMITTEE REPORT
Measuring Success

BY GARY JONES, CHAIR
All organizations pick time frames to measure their success. We look at benchmarks and goals and try to measure how well we have done over some period of time. VVA is no different and certainly owes its membership progress reports. So, here is a look at the status of the POW/MIA Committee’s Resolutions.

PM-3-95 Declassification of Information: Work continues on this Resolution. We have worked hard to develop a good working relationship with JPAC and DPMO. I believe we have succeeded.

PM-7-95 Possibility of Live POWs: The committee has worked with JPAC units and asks for updates on case files frequently. Additionally, we remind all Vietnamese veteran and government groups that we hold the issue of “last known alive” personnel to be a top priority.

PM-8-95 Fullest Possible Accounting: This is the central issue for the committee. VVA supported HR 111 to form a select congressional committee to evaluate the processes of fullest accounting. The Veterans Initiative effort going into Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia continues to bring successful results for Vietnamese and American families. We have added contact with former Soviet military personnel who have knowledge of U.S. losses over northern Vietnam. This has been responsible for the recent resolution of two formerly stalled cases. We returned to Ukraine in March to continue this contact.

PM-9-95 Americans Missing in Laos and Cambodia: The VI team has focused its efforts on our Laotian mission this past two years. The work continues satisfactorily there and in Cambodia. It is hoped that the casualty resolution specialist from Laos and Vietnam and Hawaii will visit us at the Leadership Conference in July in Greenville.

PM-11-99 Honoring Returned POWs: Last year VVA supported S 848 and HR 1179, the Prisoner of War Benefits Act, and improvements to existing legislation. These have now passed Congress and become law.

PM-13-01 POW/MIA Flag: Efforts continue to spread the use of the flag and to educate the public on its meaning. It continues to surprise us that some would like to write this issue off. Consequently, we ask all members to help support and educate the public on this issue.

VITF-1-95 and VITF-2-95 Veterans Initiative Effort and Scope: The VI continues as a program of the POW/MIA Committee. We have now returned information accounting for over 10,000 personnel who were lost to the people of Vietnam during the war. As a result, JPAC and DPMO acknowledge to us that this has greatly enhanced their information stream and smoothed their relationship with the Vietnamese in locating American personnel. VVA has achieved international acclaim as a result of this program, and it has directly led to contacts in other parts of the world who now help in the fullest possible accounting.

Over the past four years the VI team has added four new members to the travels in Vietnam: Gary Jones, Jack Devine, Bob Johnston, and Grant Coates. We maintain a familiar and trusted experience base with the old hands, while introducing new members to the accounting community. It is expected we will continue to do this. The cost of travel has become a very serious consideration. We deeply appreciate VVA’s continued financial and spiritual support in this effort.

Committee members: Gary Jones, Chair; Al Cummings, Vice Chair; Darryl Brown, Grant Coates, Bill Duker, Lee Fisher, Bob Johnston, Jim Kuschel, Bob Maras, Michael Marks; Special Advisers: Kaye Gardner, Susie S. Harvey, Diane Nicholson; Staff Liaison: Sharon Hodge.

 

 

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