Vietnam Issues

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P.O. Box 1229
Bayonne, New Jersey  07002-6229

February 6, 1999

United States House of Representatives/Senate
Washington DC

Congressman/Senator :

The Pentagon’s Defense Prisoner and Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) has taken steps to restrain the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), the reason, because the JCSD has discovered documents on a KGB plan to bring captured Americans to the Soviet Union for interrogation.  According to Pentagon officials the director of  (JCSD) is slated to be demoted.  This move appears to be nothing short of retaliation by Deputy Assistant Secretary Robert L. Jones, the top POW official in charge of DPMO against Norm Kass.  Mr. Kass led the way last year uncovering Russian documents about the KGB plan, mentioned in the memoir of the late Russian Gen. Dimitri Volkogonov.  Mr. Kass is being moved out of his leadership position on the JCSD.  Mr. Kass has been battling Clinton administration officials, primarily within the State Department and even within the DPMO, who are against pursuing the KGB report.

The commissions new chairman, retired Maj. Gen. Roland Lajoie, had been working as a special consultant to the Pentagon for U.S.  aid to Russia, clearly a conflict of interest when it comes to pressing Moscow for information.

The “reorganization” of the JCSD,  is nothing short of  a “buzz word” to stop investigation of the truth about American POW/MIA’s.  We hear words about the POW/MIA issue being “our Nations highest priority”.  It would seen that “cover up” of the POW/MIA issue is our nations highest priority.

We will not abandon our POW/MIA brothers, nor will we forget.

J. David Murray
Chairman - POW/MIA Committee
New Jersey State Council
Vietnam Veterans of America

Veteran’s Vote National Alliance of Families For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam
Dolores Alfond -- 425-881-1499 Lynn O'Shea ---- 718-846-4350
Email ------------
Website ---------

The following is from a column titled "Inside the Ring," written by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough and published in the Washington Times on Friday - February 5th, 1999.



"The Pentagon's Defense Prisoner and Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) took steps last week to rein in a kindred office. Its crime: discovering Russian documents  on a KGB plan to bring  captured Americans to the Soviet Union in the late 1960s for interrogations.  The  Joint  Commission  Support Directorate (JCSD) is slated to be moved under DPMO's research and analysis arm and its director has been demoted, according  to Pentagon officials. A political battle is under way to block the move, spearheaded by Rep. Sam Johnson, Texas Republican and member of a U.S.-Russian POW commission.  The move appears to be retaliation by Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Robert L. Jones, the top POW official in charge of DPMO, against Norm Kass, a hero  to  POW activists.  Mr.  Kass led the way last year in uncovering Russian documents  about the KGB plan, mentioned in the memoir of the late Russian  Gen.  Dimitri  Volkogonov.  Mr. Kass  is  being  moved  out of his leadership  position  on  the  JCSD, a group in the POW office helping the joint commission.

The  group has been battling Clinton administration officials, primarily within  the  State Department  and  even  within the DPMO, who are against pursuing the KGB report.  Russia claims the document does not exist.  Delores  Alfond, chairman of the National Alliance of Families, said the reorganization was opposed by some members of the Joint Commission.

The commission's new chairman, retired Maj. Gen. Roland Lajoie, had been working  as  a special  consultant to the Pentagon for U.S. aid to Russia. This  role raises  questions about  his commitment to pressing Moscow for information on lost Americans from the Vietnam War and other conflicts.  "In  this  case,  `reorganization' is a buzz word for the dismantling of the  JCSD,"  she said in a letter to President Clinton. "When we asked JCSD employees  a question, we knew our questions would be answered truthfully. Sadly  we  cannot  say  the same of other employees in the Defense POW/MIA office."  This effort to dismantle the JCSD is not the first attempt to stifle the only truthful and productive investigative element with DPMO.  The first attempt occurred on Friday August 15th, 1997, under the direction of former DPMO head, General James Wold.  The Joint Commission Support Directorate established in 1994 supported the efforts of the U.S./ Russian Joint Commission.  Staffed by qualified experts, this office, in spite of roadblocks, made considerable progress  the POW/MIA issue as it relates to Russia, Korea, China and the Eastern Bloc Countries. 

When the U.S./Russian Joint Commission was first established it operate independently.  The U.S. Army  was given the responsibility to provide research and analytical support to the commission.  This group, under the direction of Col. Stuart Herrington,  was known as Task Force Russia.  Task Force Russia remained in force until July 1993 when it was absorbed by the DPMO.   At that point,  it became part of the"Trowbridge Empire."   In spite of roadblocks, the JCSD, under the management of Norman Kass, as its Executive Secretariat,  made considerable progress on  the POW/MIA issue as it relates to Russia, Korea, China and the Eastern Bloc Countries.

It was the JCSD, who discovered the "Volkogonov Papers," discussing plans to move captured American Servicemen to the former Soviet Union, from Southeast Asia.  The discovery and release of those papers, was in our opinion, the final nail in the JCSD coffin.  The DPMO decision to "reorganize" the JCSD and remove Norman Kass from his leadership position within the directorate is all part of the new ""Defense Missing Personnel Recovery & Accounting Strategic Plan."  With regard to the JCSD,  the actions taken were without the authorization or approval of the members of the U.S./Russian Joint Commission.

In a letter dated January 27th, 1999, to Assistant Secretary of Defense of International Security Affairs Franklin D. Kramer, Senator Bob Smith wrote: "Nowhere in this plan is there reference to the requirement for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs to ensure that his office provides an Executive Secretariat for the U.S. Members of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission on POWs and MIAs....   "The letter continued "As you know form our earlier discussions in 1997   (when you aborted DPMO's reorganization attempt as it related to JCSD), the Executive Secretariat function was delegated to DoD by the U.S. Commissioners in response to a proposal by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs on April 9, 1992....  "If the DPMO, and indeed your office, is no longer interested in adequately fulfilling the U.S. Commissioners' requirement for an Executive Secretariat, as the Strategic Plan appears to indicate, then the U.S. Commissioners should be formally notified.  Conversely, if you are proposing continuation of the support requirement function, then we should work together, along with Congressman Johnson and our new U.S. Chairman of the Commission, General Lajoie, to accomplish this objective to our mutual satisfaction."

In closing the letter stated; "As you also know, I am not optimistic at this point in view of the proposed changes within your office that directly bear on JCSD's management and location, the credibility of the rationale behind these proposals, and the overall manner in which these proposals were conveyed to my office by Deputy Assistant Secretary Bob Jones on January 14, 1999."

Since DPMO was aware of Smith and Johnson's objections we can only conclude the actions taken against Mr. Kass and the JCSD were an intentional slap in the face to both Congressman Johnson and Senator Smith.  This arbitrary action clearly establishes a pattern of "Punishing Success."

If the new "Defense Missing Personnel Recovery & Accounting Strategic Plan" is allowed to progress, JCSD will be moved into and eventually absorbed by Research and Analysis section of DPMO.  That means DeStatte! !!!!!!!!!  Enough said?

It has been confirmed  by 5 independent sources, that there are over 50 solid leads, awaiting investigation in Poland.  These leads relate to Polish citizens who claim to have seen  American's in Soviet Prisons during the 1950's.   Additionally, information also indicates that up to 120 American servicemen from the Korean War were taken to Bulgaria, for medical experimentation.  Who do you want investigating those leads, Norman Kass or Bob Destatte?  So who is responsible --- In a poor rendition of an old Abbott and Costello routine the Chairman of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs are each saying the other was responsible for the removal of Norman Kass, from his directorate position.  While we have been assured that the "reorganization" of the JCSD does not mean an eventual  dismantling of that organization.  Yet, there is no explanation as to why there are no provisions for the JCSD in the new "Defense Missing Personnel Recovery & Accounting Strategic Plan," as pointed out in Senator Smith's letter.  With the "reorganization" of the Joint Commissions' support group, DPMO has taken a giant leap backwards in efforts to account for servicemen missing from the Korean - Cold  War and Vietnam, who we believe were taken to the former Soviet Union and China.  Save the JCSD - Actions taken against the JCSD are the tip of the iceberg.


In spite of their Public Relations hype, DPMO considers POW/MIA family members, veterans and concerned citizens a nuisance and not much more.  This is illustrated time and time again.  Recently, we received complaints from both Korean and Vietnam War Family members regarding the rude and poor behavior of one DPMO employee, towards a family member at the Regional Meeting in Tennessee.  Fifty, one hundred, even two hundred calls or letters is only a couple of days worth of annoyance to DPMO and then for them it is over.  As one DPMO employee was reported to say, "this is a sound bite, it will disappear." 

We will NOT disappear.  We demand  the reinstatement of Norman Kass and a DPMO hands off policy regarding the JCSD.  If the new "Defense Missing Personnel Recovery & Accounting Strategic Plan"  is implemented it will end the POW/MIA issue as we know it.   According to the "Defense Missing Personnel Recovery & Accounting Strategic Plan" briefing slides, under the topic "Goals" item 4 reads "Transition the accounting process for prior conflicts from active operations to reactive efforts triggered by new information by FY2004."  In keeping with the above statement the personnel allocation from FY99 to FY04, for JTF in FY99 is 161.  The space for the FY004 allocation is blank.  Does that mean they don't know how many people they will need or that they will not need any employees?  Is there a need for a JTF if you don't plan on active operations?  The National Alliance of Families is outraged over the actions of the DPMO leadership.  The DPMO message is loud and clear.  They have no interest in an honest and truthful accounting of our POW/MIAs.   There is an old saying that "actions speak louder then words."  The DPMO leadership is shouting and we get the message.

Please read  "Punishing Progress" in the Feb. 5th edition of the Washington Times column "Inside the Ring" (page A6.)  Contact  DPMO, stating your objection to the "reorganization" of the only investigative arm of the DPMO whose work is truthful and produces results. 

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Pentagon Hid Over 20,000 U.S. Military Casualties During Vietnam War
By Ted Sampley

U.S. Veteran Dispatch
June/July/ August 1998 Issue


The U.S. Veteran Dispatch has uncovered Pentagon records revealing that the United States suffered nearly 20,000 more fatalities during the Vietnam War than the 58,182 servicemen whose names are engraved on the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

According to the Pentagon's Combat Area Casualties Current File (CACCF), which is  unavailable to the public, 19,644 United States Army servicemen (between January 1, 1965 to December 31, 1975) were not counted as Vietnam war dead because their death certificates were written in other countries.

CACCF files for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard remain unavailable. The number of servicemen from those branches whose deaths were recorded in other countries are unknown to the U.S. Veteran Dispatch but are believed to be significantly high.

If CACCF files for these branches were made public and added to the Army casualties, it is estimated that the number of fatalities could be as high as 30,000 more than the Vietnam dead claimed by the Pentagon.

It has long been known that servicemen who died outside Vietnam as a result of wounds they received there were not counted as Vietnam war dead, but the exact number of those casualties has never been made public.

Even if a number of the fatalities are the result of factors not related to Vietnam or combat, such as accidents, crime, health problems, etc., there is no way that the United States lost 30,000 servicemen in such a manner.

Of the total names on the Wall, 37,942 are listed as Army killed or missing during the time frame of January 1, 1965 to December 31, 1975.

When the 37,942 Army servicemen listed on the Wall is subtracted from the 57,586 the Pentagon lists as total of Army killed or missing during the 1965 to 1975 time frame, there is a 19,644 discrepancy.

From January 1965 until December 1975, Pentagon records show 57,586 U.S. Army servicemen died in the following countries:

Cambodia -- 421
Czechoslovakia -- 14
France -- 31
Germany -- 2,329
Italy -- 36
Japan -- 66
Laos -- 134
Mexico -- 11
North Vietnam -- 11
Okinawa -- 50
Panama -- 49
South Korea -- 438
South Vietnam -- 37,259
Thailand -- 167
United States -- 16,004
Classified -- 71
Other Countries such as Albania, Belgium, Liberia, Venezuela, etc.-- 495

Total ­ 57,586


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New York 11716-2169 USA

Voice: (1-516) 567-9057
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The GI Bill & Post WW2 Vets

Thank you for your prompt reply regarding the GI Bill for Korean Vets. Although it confirms my suspicions it does not make me happy. Tricia there is a story here that needs to be told and I may be too emotionally involved to do the best job. To me it seems that if veterans, other than WW2, received less from their country in the form of benefits it is an insult. Was our blood not red enough, our screams not loud enough our lost limbs of lesser value and our collective sacrifice not as noble or as worthy as that of WW2 vets. That is, apparently, what our Government is and has been saying for far too many years. A comparison of the impact of the GI Bill demonstrates the inequity. After WW2 the veteran enrollment at colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame etc. was upwards of 98% of the entire student body. During and after the Vietnam War the enrollment of veterans at these same institutions never exceeded 3%, and I believe the same sad statistics are true of the Korean vets. Our GI Bill was not the same as the WW2 Bill. It is sad to say but the source of the problem is, in fact, the veterans of WW2 and the Veterans Administration. After WW2 the country couldn't do enough for its' veterans and you couldn't be elected dogcatcher let alone to Washington without military service on your resume'. The class of 42 had more collective political clout than any group in our nations history. So how did the benefits get watered down with these guys still in power in the early fifties? What happened to the Organized Veterans groups? It appears that they sold out the later veterans. The less you give to the Korean vets the more money there is for the WW2 vets. The Service Organizations and the Congress allowed the VA to define payments for injuries receive in combat as "benefits" rather than compensation. There is a very sound legal reason for this. Under the law a "benefit" is defined as a "gift" and one cannot sue the government over the size of the gift they are getting for their disability. The Service Groups were co-opted by the VA by giving them free office space and phone service in the various Federal Office Buildings around the country. This conflict of interest resulted in a situation wherein holding on to their office space became more important than fighting for a disability claim that should have been won. The service groups were threatened with not only the loss of their office space, but their accreditation to represent veterans as well, if they "made waves". This would have had a serious effect on thier ability to recruit new members as many of their new members were recruited after being represented in a disability claim. This then is how the VA held down the cost of disability compensation and also prevented any legislation that would have made us equal. This conflict of interest, sadly, remains to this day. These accusations in no way diminish the good work these organizations have done in their communities and their local VA Hospitals over the years. It just means that they failed at their most important job, that of advocating on behalf of veterans to the best of their ability. But even all this doesn't explain why veterans who are disabled in service to their country are denied Judicial Review and made second class citizens. Social Security applicants, welfare recipients, child molesters and rapists have more access to justice than a disabled veteran. It can take upwards of ten years to go through the claims process. At a time when our Government is about to commit ground troops to the new Vietnam in Kosovo, a disabled veteran has less access to an attorney and an impartial judge than Timothy McVie! I really believe that the American people would be outraged by this if it were made known to them. I have to beleive as it would hurt too much to think otherwise. I was proud to serve my country in Vietnam and I am still proud to this day. I just don't understand why my fathers' service in WW2 meant so much more to this country and its' government than my service in Vietnam. But any way you slice it, it is one hell of a betrayal and a major league insult to all who served and sacrificed from Korea to today. I hope to God our country doesn't insult the people about to be sent to Kosovo.

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This is a very touching story. I thought you'd enjoy it. From the Marine

Digest as published by VNIS.

Marine Searches For Father, Answers To Past

By Sgt. Sergio Jimenez USMC

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (Apr 15) -- Hai H. Huynh was 2 years old when the Marines rescued him, his mother and 3-year-old sister Lauren from the United States Embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Now Lance Cpl. Hai H. Huynh (pronounced "win"), supply clerk from Station Marine Corps Property, has heard his mother, Tri, tell the fateful story of that day so many times that the pictures in his mind have become part of his own memories.

Saigon was falling to the Communists as Tri ran frantically down a crowded street clutching Huynh in one arm and his sister in the other. Tears and sweat flooded her eyes as she cut through stopped traffic and weaved through a desperate horde of people trying to force their way through the embassy gates. Her only possessions were a small bag with food and children's clothes, according to Huynh.

In the distance grenade and mortar explosions and bursts of M16 and AK-47 rifle fire crept its way toward the embassy.

"Desperate, frightened men and women were shoving each other and small children aside while trying to get inside the American Embassy," said Huynh. "Somehow my mom got us through the crowd and to a helicopter," he said.

Marines evacuated Huynh and his family by helicopter to an aircraft carrier and then took them to Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Huynh has not seen his father since, but his mother's stories of the gentle humanitarian with a good sense of humor have brought him to life in Huynh's imagination.

"The only things I have to remember my father are an old photograph and a letter in which he tells me how proud he is of me, and how much he wants to see his only son," said Huynh.

Huynh took a faded passport-size photo out of his wallet and held it delicately in his hands. The officer in the official military photo is a thin boyish looking man, 6 feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes. "All my life my mother has told me how much I look and act like my father, but she has told me very little about him," said Huynh.

When Huynh turned 18, his mother thought that he was old enough to know about that fateful day in April, 1975.

Today, Huynh thinks of that day as one of the most important days of his life. "If the Marines hadn't saved us, my family and I would probably be dead or living in misery in Vietnam."

According to Huynh, the peace and security he and his family received while living in the United States came with a heavy price.

"In school, I was a minority and many times other kids would make fun of me because I looked different. They would call me degrading names and when I would go home and ask my mother what the names meant all she could say was, 'Ignore them son, they didn't know what they're saying,'" said Huynh.

Although the Vietnam War ended more than 20 years ago, Huynh said the effects still linger in American society.  Parents who had negative feelings toward the war have passed those feelings on to their children.

"Some parents teach their kids that all Vietnamese were Vietcong, and history classes don't do enough to teach kids the truth," said Huynh.

"It was hard to make friends or have girlfriends of a different race because when I would go home to meet their parents, some of them would look at me with distrust or hate in their eyes," said Huynh. "Some parents blamed me for the Vietnam War and said things like 'Your people killed my brother. There wasn't anything I could do about it."

Huynh said the harsh treatment he received took its toll and sometimes made him feel ashamed of who he was.

"I didn't practice any Vietnamese traditions, and I didn't even want to speak the language," said Huynh. "Looking back on it now, I guess I reacted the way any kid would under the circumstances. I was just a kid trying to belong."

Huynh said he felt trapped in between two cultures. He was too Vietnamese to be an American and too Americanized to be Vietnamese.

Then the Marine Corps came to save him once again.

"Before I joined the Marine Corps I got in some trouble with the law because of gangs," he said. "It's not that I was a bad kid or a gang member. I was against gangs. But it was my confrontations with the gangs that got me into trouble.

"Joining the Marine Corps got me out of that life," said Huynh.

"On my boot camp graduation, I felt as if once again I was that 2-year-old boy being rescued by the Marines in Saigon."

The Marine Corps not only gave Huynh a feeling of acceptance, it also opened up the doors to his own culture.

"Vietnamese people still remember that the Marines tried to save Vietnam, and they show their appreciation by giving me their respect," said Huynh. "By wearing the Marine Corps uniform, I have been able to get a lot of questions answered about Vietnam, and this has helped me find out more about myself."

"Because of the Marine Corps, I know where I belong in the world and it's not in Vietnam," said Huynh. "I belong in America because this is the only country I've ever known. I've learned that just because a person wasn't born in America doesn't make him any less American."

According to Huynh, being an American is a state of mind. It is believing in the basic ideals of freedom, justice, equality and helping those who can't fend for themselves.

"A long time ago, the Marine Corps saved my life and defending this great country is one way I can repay my debt," said Huynh. "I cherish the freedom and the life I have here and sometimes I get upset when I see some Americans take those freedoms for granted. But I would still defend them because that's what being a Marine is all about."

Huynh said although he feels lucky to have been rescued from Vietnam, Huynh said he feels that America's involvement in the war was a mistake.

"Too many lives on both sides were lost, and there was little to show for it in the end," said Huynh.

According to Huynh, the Vietnam War left permanent scars on the landscape and in the people's hearts and minds.

"Some people are still alive in Vietnam, but they are mentally and spiritually dead," said Huynh.

The war also separated many families and forced them to make hard decisions and make new lives for themselves.

"Since my mother didn't know what happened to my father, she decided to remarry in the United States," said Huynh sadly.

"Many years later, when my mother went back to visit Vietnam, she found out that my father had been shot down and spent 15 years as a prisoner of war in a concentration camp. He remarried too, and now I have three sisters that I have never met," said Huynh.

"On a second trip to Vietnam in 1998, she showed my father a picture of me in my dress blue's," said Huynh. "He wept and said he was very proud of the man I had become." Huynh knows that he will never have a traditional father and son relationship with his father. "Too many years have passed and too many things have changed for that to happen," he said. "I just want to know him before he dies. I

want to talk to him, ask him why he didn't come to find us in America after he got out of the concentration camp. I want to ask him if he is happy. There is so much I want to ask him." Huynh said has spent half of his life searching for his identity and the other half searching for answers about his father. He has discovered part of it as a Marine, but he said there are still too many questions left unanswered. Questions which can't be answered by one short letter and an old photograph.

"My aunts always tell me, 'You look just like your father when you smile,'" said Huynh. "One day I will go to Vietnam and see him for myself."


End marines Digest (05/10/1999 1921)


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