MIA Facts Site

What a Joke

Summary.  Elsewhere on the WWW one can find the "POW-MIA Freedom Fighter's" site.  It is maintained by an individual using the name "Lady Jen."  "Lady Jen" is not above stretching the facts; read my experience with her here.  On the "POW-MIA FF" site one frequently finds claims about how much "we" are doing to "bring home" missing men.  What a joke.

Background

The mission of the "POW-MIA FF" organization is stated on their web site.   I thought about copying and pasting the missions statement here but I noted that "Lady Jen" has a copyright symbol on her mission statement and I will not violate her copyright.  Even if I gave her credit, given my previous experience with "Lady Jen," there is no telling what her reaction might be.

Latest unsupportable claim

Recently (October 12, 2000), the following message (not copyrighted) appeared on the "POW-MIA FF message board."

QUOTE

Since the move of the webring from Yahoo! to Ring Surf, I've had the priviledge of really taking the time and visiting all the wonderful tributes out there (via the POW/MIA Ring) that have been made in Honor of our POW/MIA's.

The POW/MIA Ring links together tribute pages honoring our POW/MIA's. By starting from any one of our wonderful tribute pages, you can go from one page to the next and learn about the Heros we left behind...read their stories, their bios, their loss incident reports. See their faces, know their names, get involved! When one American is not worth the effort to be found, we as American's have lost!

I would really like to encourage any of you that haven't had the honor of visiting these tribute pages, to do so. You can start on your own homepage (if you are a member of the ring) or enter the ring on the ring homepage:

http://www.powmiaff.com/ring.html

If you haven't submitted your site yet, I would like to really encourage you to do so. It is a great way to get their stories out there.

Traveling the POW/MIA Ring is a wonderful opportunity to meet the Heros we are working so hard at getting home!

Jen

END QUOTE (Article was cut-and-pasted from the "POW-MIA FF Message Board" -- misspellings are in the original.)

It's the last line that is the real joke:  ". . . that we are working so hard to get home."

It's the government actions, stupid

Not a single thing the "POW-MIA FF" crowd has done has any impact on bringing anyone home.  Since before the end of the Vietnam War, the military services, the Department of Defense, and other branches of the Executive Department -- aided from time to time by the Congress -- have been conducting operations and activities unprecedented in the history of warfare that are aimed at recovering missing servicemen from Southeast Asia and now from Korea and WW II.

There are several elements to this recovery effort.

bulletOn the ground searches.  US search teams are conducting -- and have conducted for years -- searches on the ground for missing men and for clues as to what happened to them.  Obviously, such searches are most productive in the case of aircraft losses where there is a crash site to deal with.  In the case of ground losses, search teams interview local people who may have been eyewitnesses -- or who may have hearsay information -- to loss incidents.  These on-the-ground searches develop information that leads to further action.
bulletExcavations.  After search teams have located crash sites or possible grave sites, those sites are excavated.  Excavations are supervised by board certified anthropologists; the excavations are just like an archaeological dig.   Items, including human remains, that are recovered from these excavations are used to establish the fate of missing men and to identify remains.  See this article.
bulletOral history project.  US researchers seek out and interview -- as many times as needed -- former enemy personnel:
bulletwho served in locations where US personnel were lost;
bulletwho were in the reporting chain and may have information;
bulletwho are knowledgeable of enemy methods of processing US POWs and remains;
bulletwho may have other knowledge that would help establish the facts of a man's fate and that may help recover his remains.
bulletDocument and archival research.  Our former enemies kept records; military forces worldwide keep records -- there is nothing unusual or sinister about keeping records.  We should not assume perfection -- even US units lose records, records are destroyed in combat; file management procedures may require that records be purged after a number of years; and the like.  Still, there are records of some kind that will shed light on many loss incidents and on the fate of many missing men.   US researchers are working in the archives, libraries, museums, and other record-centers of former enemies to locate and analyze such records.
bulletKeep families informed.  Department of Defense policy has been for years that if a piece of information does pertain to a missing man or may pertain to a missing man, that information is provided to the man's family.   This policy has been strictly adhered to; families have access to -- most of them have their own copies of -- all material in their missing man's records.

All of the above was in place long before the "POW-MAI FF" discovered that men were missing from the Vietnam War or from any other war.

Operation Pressure

If you visit the "POW-MIA FF" site, you will find references to "Operation Pressure."  There is a monthly topic for "Operation Pressure," along with a suggested letter to Congress and other government officials.   Folks are urged to write to their representatives, etc., and urge action on this month's topic.  Supposedly, with piles of letters, faxes, e-mails pouring into Congressional offices, the truth will be forced out of the Pentagon.

Nonsense.

In the first place, there is no truth being hidden.  Whatever is known about a missing man has been provided to his family -- and as new information is developed, that information is provided to the family.

In the second place, the folks who dreamed up "Operation Pressure" need to do a bit of reading about the way that such letters, faxes, e-mails, etc., are handled.   "Operation Pressure's" impact is best described as "a dry fart."

Correspondence that arrives in Congress, the White House, State Department, or anywhere else that deals with missing military personnel is sent by the receiving agency to the Pentagon for an answer.  Thus, anything that is submitted by "Operation Pressure" in an attempt to put pressure on the Department of Defense is answered by the same people, the same offices, in DoD that are the targets of "Operation Pressure."  Big Fat Deal.

Material supplied to families

In many instances, I refer to material being supplied to families.  Let's stop for a minute here and be more specific.

For each missing man, there is a family member who is designated as the Primary Next of Kin -- the PNOK.  It is this person who is authorized by law to receive material about missing men.  Thus, when you hear a "family member" complaining about he/she is not receiving material about their "family member," more than likely you are hearing complaints from someone who is NOT the PNOK.

Here are a few examples from real life.

bulletOne vocal MIA "activist" is a distant cousin of a missing man who has no friends in the man's immediate family -- the split in the family goes back in time but it's real and current.  This cousin had little contact with the missing man when they were growing up but, now that it's fashionable to be able to claim that you are a victimized family member, this lady is there all the time -- at Congressional hearings, MIA events, etc., etc. -- proclaiming about how she is cut off from information. She is cut off because the PNOK got tired of her foolishness and told the Defense Department not to provide her with any more material -- this is something that the PNOK can do.   Such a case is not unusual - the PNOK and immediate family members know the score but some distant in-law(s) decide to jump on stage and proclaim about their "missing man."
bulletGo to this article and read about SGT Jimmy Ray's "sisters" who are not.  They provide an example of "family members" whose claims are bogus.
bulletIn many cases, the "family member" is a son or daughter who was an infant when the father was lost.  Mother kept all her contact with the service to herself, protecting the child(ren).  Now that the child(ren) is an adult, he/she has questions about what happened to the father.  There may be a distance between the child(ren) and the mother, mother may have re-married, any number of things may have happened to cause the child(ren) to start from scratch trying to find out about the father.  In these cases, family matters often get aired in public with "the government" getting the blame.

In conclusion

I started writing this article in response to the nonsense claim by the "POW-MIA FF" as to how much they are doing to bring our heroes home.  What they are doing is zero -- but it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble, and everyone needs a hobby.

This article prepared:  October 12, 2000