Press Statement

APRIL 9, 2001

No. 01-03 
301 585-4000
Contact: Jim Greene


Vietnam Veterans of America National President George C. Duggins has expressed profound sorrow over the death of seven Americans and nine Vietnamese whose bodies were recovered in Vietnam following the crash of their helicopter Saturday while searching for the remains of American servicemembers missing from the Vietnam War.

Duggins said, “we want to express our deepest condolences to the families, both American and Vietnamese, of those lost in this tragic accident.”

The Pentagon, according to news sources, said the seven Americans and nine Vietnamese were reported dead after their helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in central Vietnam, about 280 miles south of Hanoi.  The Americans were part of the U.S. Joint Task Force-Full

Accounting (JTF-FA) unit stationed in Hanoi and other team members based in Hawaii.  Their identities have not been released pending notification of their families.

Duggins traveled to Vietnam last November at the request of the White House as a member of the official visit by President Clinton, and met with task force personnel for a briefing.

“We have developed a deep friendship with them and lasting respect for their work, whether in the field searching for evidence of live American POWs, or recovering the remains of those still listed as Missing In Action. We were shocked and saddened by this news,” said Thomas H. Corey, VVA Vice President.

Corey has been to Vietnam eleven times in support of VVA’s Veterans Initiative, and he meets regularly with the JFT-FA and Vietnamese officials in Vietnam and the United States.

“Although the war ended in 1975, the grief is ever-present for many veterans’ families and will remain so until the fullest possible accounting is made for our POWs and MIAs,” Corey said.  “The loss of these dedicated people who died trying to bring closure will not be forgotten.  They, too, are casualties of that war.”

.- END -

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 abandon another."   



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