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M. I. A.:  Accounting for the Missing in Southeast AsiaBy Paul D. Mather, Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force (Retired).

The issue of Americans missing in action (MIA) from the Vietnam War is dogged with nonsense.  In addition to the "abandoned-POWs-cover-up-and-conspiracy" myth, we find the claim that the U. S. government does not care a whit about its missing men in Southeast Asia, has done, and is doing nothing to find them.  Such claims are foolishness.  The facts are:  Starting during the Vietnam War, and continuing in an unbroken effort to today, the U. S. government has conducted an effort to find missing men in Southeast Asia that is unprecedented, not only in our history, but also in the entire history of warfare.

When I met Paul, he was an active duty Air Force lieutenant colonel, commanding the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC) detachment in Bangkok, Thailand.  He was responsible for running all in-country efforts aimed at finding information about missing Americans from the Vietnam War:  information collection; interviewing eyewitnesses; crash site excavations;, negotiations with the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians; and, dealing with the steady flow of would-be soldiers of fortune and MIA hunters who plagued (and continue to interfere with) serious recovery efforts.  Paul is a quiet, gentle, intense man.  He was assigned to the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., for one year during which he wrote this book and after which he retired from active service.  He is now a civilian analyst with the Defense POW-MIA Office (DPMO) in the Pentagon.

Quoting from the foreword of this book:

"Among the numerous analyses of those missing in action in Southeast Asia, this study is the first to concentrate on the process whereby the US military tried to resolve each case.  Much of the continuing controversy ignores or refuses to accept the fact that the US Government, through the Joint Casualty Resolution Center and other mechanism, has made a thorough, sustained, good faith effort to determine the fate of every serviceman declared missing in action in that conflict.  The author, who spent more than 15 years in Southeast Asia taking part in those endeavors, tells the story of this unique effort from the point of view of an informed insider."

This book should be read by anyone who wants to know what the U. S. government is doing to find missing men in Southeast Asia.

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