Perry, a Special Forces medic, went missing during the
battle of Ngok Tavak on May 10, 1968. Witnesses later placed
Perry in captivity. The VITF began inquiring in 1994 about
what happened to Perry. Background information has been
provided by JPAC and DPMO. Previous meetings by the VITF
with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi and with members of the
Veterans Association of Vietnam (VAVN) in Danang and Quang
Nam Province resulted, unfortunately, in no new information.
However, on the most recent VITF trip meetings with the
Peoples Committee and VAVN in Quang Nam Province, Col. Anh,
president of the VAVN in Quang Nam Province, said that he
had met with a POW and mentioned Perry, saying that he was a
patient in an NVA hospital. He said that when Perry healed
from his wounds, he was moved out of the hospital by another
unit. He did not know what happened to Perry after that.
information was given immediately to JPAC and DPMO. They
will re-interview Col. Anh as soon as possible. Both DPMO
and JPAC believe, however, that in light of previous
information provided by Col. Anh, he is probably referring
to another American POW case. The Perry family was briefed
about this new information.
Prior to the VITF meetings with Vietnamese officials, JPAC
requested that the VITF ask that the Vietnamese delay any
strip mining in the Kham Duc area until the last of the
Joint Field Activities (JFA) excavations have been
completed. This request was made by the VITF in meetings in
Hanoi and Quang Nam Province. While meeting with the Peoples
Committee in Quang Nam Province, the Vice Chair agreed that
the excavations in Kham Duc should take priority over the
strip mining project. However, the excavations must be
completed by next spring.
plans to complete two site excavations beginning in February
that should take approximately 60 days. Previous excavations
have produced both American and Vietnamese remains. This is
the first time that any Vietnamese official, in Hanoi or
locally, has agreed to delay the strip mining until the
sites have been completed. This statement of commitment was
immediately reported by the VITF to the U.S. Ambassador in
Hanoi, the U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, JPAC
Headquarters in Hawaii, JPAC Detachment 2 in Hanoi, and DPMO.
Edward Arlo Willing
the request of a family intermediary, the VITF requested an
update from JPAC in Hawaii and Hanoi concerning the status
of Edward Arlo Willing. On July 21, 1968, Willing went
missing while attempting to return to his unit at Tu Cau
Bridge. JPAC has stated that new information has been
obtained from a principal witness and a re-interview,
survey, and possible excavation will take place this spring.
Humbert Roque Versace
2004, the VITF met with the Peoples Committee and VAVN in
Can Tho. The VITF requested the cooperation and support of
the planned excavation of the burial site of Humbert “Rocky”
Versace. An initial dig did not reveal any remains. With new
information, JPAC plans to excavate a different site after
draining a canal. Versace recently received the Medal of
Honor posthumously. Information about Rocky Versace while he
was in captivity can be found in Five Years to Freedom
by fellow POW James N. “Nick” Rowe.
During the last VITF trip, as a result of a chance encounter
by POW/MIA Committee Chair Bob Johnston and VITF member
Grant Coates, information was received about the possible
grave site of three or four Americans. To the best of the
informant’s knowledge, these remains never have been
excavated. This information was immediately passed on to
JPAC, which intends to begin interviews early in the spring.
While the VITF team was about to depart from Ho Chi Minh
City to return home, a Vietnamese American approached the
team with a dog tag, a copied image of the dog tag, and
information concerning an American who was shot down near
Nha Trang. This information was given to Paul Mather at DPMO.
Mather investigated and determined that the dog tag image
was valid and that the information corresponded to an
American who was KIA and had been shot down near Nha Trang.
His remains had been recovered and returned to his family.
Mather contacted the Vietnamese American and requested that
he mail the dog tag to the appropriate Casualty Office. The
Casualty Office will contact the family to determine whether
the family wishes to receive the dog tag.
the request of JPAC, the VITF, during the last several
years, has been pushing hard with Vietnamese officials for
the resumption of JFAs in the Central Highlands. The Central
Highlands have been closed off because of political and
religious issues among the minority Vietnamese. VITF will
continue to advocate for access to the Highlands.
Lima Site 85, Laos
Recently the Associated Press reported that one set of
remains, those of USAF Tech Sgt. Patrick L. Shannon, were
recovered from a battle at the secret bombing control radar
site known as Lima Site 85 in Houaphan Province, Laos. On
November 3, 1968, Lima Site 85 was attacked and overrun by
enemy commandos. Eight Americans were rescued; eleven were
not. This has been one of the most significant and
controversial sites from the war in Laos.
question of what happened to the eleven who were not rescued
has been one of the most frustrating POW/MIA cases of the
war. It seemed as though they disappeared into thin air.
Since this battle, live sightings were reported. In 2004,
with the cooperation of two of the commandos who overran the
site, the remains of Shannon were recovered on a mountain
ledge below the site.
Adding to the mystery is the fact that, along with Shannon’s
remains, are boots, fragments of clothing, and other
personal items that indicate other Americans were on or near
the ledge. According to the two commandos, after they
overran the site, they threw the bodies of the Americans off
the cliff. The remains of Shannon were returned to the
Central Identification Lab in Hawaii on July 4, 2004.
Positive identification was made on November 10, 2005.
policy, the VITF does not identify specific individuals.
However, when the VITF has been given authorization from
either the family or a family intermediary, and if the name
has already been made public, the VITF generally will
identify the individuals for the purposes of reporting only.
We strongly recommend that those who receive these reports
be very judicious in how, and with whom, they discuss this
information. Please recognize the sensitivity of this
information and the need to protect family privacy.