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March / April 2009

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March / April 2009


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.

PM-3-95 Declassification of Information: Work continues on this resolution. The effects of this effort vary depending on administration policies, security needs, and the responsibility we use in working with DPMO and JPAC. I believe our relationship with these organizations is excellent, and this committee intends to preserve that.

PM-7-95 Possibility of Live POWs: The committee has worked with JPAC and asks for updates on case files frequently. Additionally, we remind all Vietnamese veterans and government groups that we hold the issue of last-known alive personnel to be of top priority. Our Veterans Initiative Program keeps this as a top priority in its trips to Southeast Asia.

PM-8-95 Fullest Possible Accounting: This is the real bread and butter of the committee. The Veterans Initiative Program continues to be an active effort to recover the missing from both sides throughout Southeast Asia and in Ukraine with former Soviet SAM advisor witnesses. The U.S. Department of Defense and the people of the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense and our counterparts, the Veterans Association of Viet Nam, all are working with us in this effort.

PM-9-95 Americans Missing in Laos and Cambodia: The VI team has focused efforts on our Laotian mission this past two years. The work continues there and in Cambodia satisfactorily.

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

PM-13-01 POW/MIA Flag: Efforts continue to sustain and 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 the issue off and ignore it. Consequently, we ask all members to help support and educate the public on this issue. The committee will present a Certificate of Appreciation to anyone actively supporting this mission.

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 10,500 personnel who were lost to the people of Vietnam during the war. As a result, JPAC and DPMO tell 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 us to contacts in other parts of the world who now help with the fullest possible accounting.

Over the past five years, the VI team has added four new members: Gary Jones, Jack Devine, Bob Johnston, and Grant Coates. Last year we added a member, the filmmaker Steven Hiller. We maintain a familiar and trusted experience base with the old hands while introducing new members to the accounting community. We expect to continue to do this. The cost of travel has become a very serious consideration. We deeply appreciate the members’ continued financial and spiritual support in this effort.


The POW/MIA Affairs Committee: Gary Jones, Chair; Al Cummings, Vice Chair; Bill Duker, VI Director. Members: Darrol Brown, Dan Carr, Grant Coates, Jack Devine, Lee Fisher, Bob Johnston, James Kuschel, Bob Maras, Michael Marks, Dave Schofield. Special Advisors: Kaye Gardner, Sara Gist-Bernasconi, Susie Stephens-Harvey, and Buzz Sawyer. Staff Coordinators: Sharon Hodge and Mokie Porter (VI).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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