June 10, 1999
(202) 628-2700 Ext. 158
VETERANS GROUP RETURNS FROM VIETNAM AFTER PARTICIPATING IN MIA REPATRIATION CEREMONIES
WASHINGTON, D.C.-(June 7, 1999) -A delegation representing Vietnam
Veterans of America (VVA) returned recently from a mission to Vietnam and
Laos. The group participated in ceremonies in Hanoi in which the
bodies of two American servicemen long listed as missing in action in the
Vietnam War were repatriated.
The delegation consisted of members of VVA's Veterans Initiative Task
Force (VITF) program, which works with the Vietnamese to bring the fullest
possible accounting of Americans and Vietnamese MIAs. The delegation
consisted of Tom Corey, VVA's national Vice President; Bill Duker, Chair
of the Task Force; Bob Necci, Chair of VVA's national POW/MIA Committee;
and Janet Alheit, a VITF member. The group participated in the May
4 repatriation ceremonies at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi with Gen. Terry Tucker,
the commander of the U.S. Joint Task Force- Full Accounting.
Delegation members helped escort two caskets with American remains.
As has been the case during the many VITF trips to Vietnam in the last
five years, the repatriation ceremonies were extremely powerful and emotional.
"It was very rewarding being there, seeing the results of our efforts towards
the fullest possible accounting and the hopes that two more families will
find closure," Corey said. "Those families now will be able to have
their loved ones provided the honors and proper burials they deserve."
The delegation also flew to Ngoc Tavak on May 9 which coincided with
the 31st anniversary of the vicious battle as reported in the VVA Veteran.
They witnessed the excavation process by the U.S. government's Joint
Field Activity (JFA), which found additional remains. "We had the
privilege of meeting the JFA team and seeing the dedication and commitment
they put into their work," Corey said. "We salute our Joint Task
Force-Full Accounting and the JFA teams for their labor of devotion to
As has been the case with previous VITF trips to Vietnam, the delegation
in May turned over documents and maps provided by VVA members concerning
missing Vietnamese to officials at several different levels, including
the Veterans Association of Vietnam in several provinces. The documents
and maps were accepted with sincere appreciation by the Vietnamese on behalf
of the families of the missing. The Vietnamese also provided the
delegation, in turn, with updates on their ongoing search for missing Americans.
"Vietnam Veterans of America thanks all who have supported this program,
which has brought results on the cases of missing Americans--results that
we would otherwise probably never have seen," Corey said.
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VVA's point of contact for additional information is Scott D. Campbell
at (202) 628- 2700 Ext.158.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's
only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated
solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's
founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans