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19 POWs-Reason not to trade with communist Vietnam
Posted on July 12, 2006

The following is from Vietnam ex-POW Larry Stark and the Natl. Alliance of Families. We should not let communist Vietnam have WTO or trade with them in any way tell they account for our POW/MIA that they had in their hands at the end of the war.
Danny "Greasy" Belcher, Executive Director
Task Force Omega of KY Inc.
Vietnam Infantry Sgt. 68-69
"D" Troop 7th Sqdn. 1st Air Cav

All,
In my opinion, the forwarded email from Lynn can and should be used as a basis for denying the Vietnamese WTO status. When you add to the information she proviided the 55 plus guys that VN earlier had said died in captivity, and most of these men have not been accounted for, it should be enough to put VNs application on hold indefinitely. Remember, these are men that Viet Nam said Died in Captivity.
The problem is getting the above information into the hands of some one who will be willing to run with it. I am thinking of some one like Duncan Hunter or Sam Johnson or one of our other friends in Congress. For you poker playing friends of mine, this is an "All In" hand, if we lose, we lose it all, if we win we live to play another hand. To my song loving friends, if we lose its, "Turn out the lights, the party's over". And in case you are neither, if we can not stop WTO for Viet Nam, you might as well "Kiss the Boys Good Bye".
GBU Larry

National Alliance of Families
For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf Wars Dolores Alfond - 425-881-1499
Lynn O'Shea --- 718-846-4350
Web Site http://www.nationalalliance.org
email lynn@nationalalliance.org

June 24, 2006 Bits N Pieces Special

19 New POW Cases

"My review of JCRC casualty files has surfaced several messages which list a total of nine American servicemen Vietnam has acknowledged were captured alive, all of whom are listed by DOD as having been declared dead while missing. None are officially listed as ever having been a POW. This information has come from Vietnamese officials a piece at a time over the past two years. I suspect we will learn about more such cases as time goes on. While the precise fate of the nine is not clear, it appears likely they died in captivity in southern Vietnam and this is the first admission from Vietnam that these nine were captured alive." So reads a memo titled "Vietnamese reports about U.S. POWs not previously known by the Defense Department," and dated July 22, 1992, prepared by Sedgwick D. Tourison, Jr. during his tenure as an investigator with the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.

In the memo Mr. Tourison speculates on the reason this information was not discussed during the 24 – 25 June 1992 hearing before the Senate Committee in which General John Vessey, along with representatives of DIA and JTF testified. Mr. Tourison offers the following: "… two obvious explaination (sic) could be that (a) it would be irresponsible to discuss such information prior to investigating it fully, (b) they do not want to publicly discuss active cases still under investigation, and (c) they may not believe Vietnamese assertions."

The memo continued; "A fourth explanation is that the Administration is too embarrassed at this point to even want to have this information made public. After all, it must be clear to the Administration that the Vessey/DOD-ISA "lists" have led to a relatively inflexible investigation schedule which is being directly controlled from Washington and with little seeming flexibility on the part of those on the ground to react to changing conditions. This is a direct repeat of the criticism levied at DOD/JCS/White House in its inept prosecution of the war two plus decades ago and it is evident that Viet Nam is well aware of these modalities and these new "POW" reports could well represent Viet Nam's own effort to tie up the Administration."

The nine servicemen acknowledged by the Vietnamese as "captured alive" are: Carlos Ashlock, James T. Egan, Jr., Robert L. Greer, Roger D. Hamilton, Gregory J. Harris, Donald S. Newton, Madison A. Strohlein, Robert L. Platt and Fred Schreckengost. Remains for both Greer and Schreckengost were recovered. Commenting on Greer and Schreckengost, Tourison notes; "During the recovery of their remains in 1990 Vietnamese officials acknowledged they had been captured alive and killed in captivity. The U.S. Marine Corps still does not list them as having died in captivity but to have died while in a MIA status."

Of the 7 remaining "new POWs" Tourison offers the following information:

Carlos Ashlock – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Corporal Aslock (sic) was captured alive in Quang Ngai Province. His eventual fate has not yet been determined."

James Egan, Jr. -- – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Lieutenant Egan was captured alive and has reported that he died in captivity in December 1968."

[It should be noted that Egan's name was not on the list of POWs who died in captivity presented in Paris in January 1973. Yet, based on this new information Egan survived in captivity for almost 3 years, from January 21, 1966 to December 1968. As no other POW reported seeing Egan in captivity, where was he held?]

Roger D. Hamilton – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Lance Corporal Hamilton was captured alive in Military Region 5. His eventual fate has not yet been determined."

Gregory J. Harris – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Corporal Harris was captured alive. His eventual fate has not yet been determined."

Donald Newton – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Sergeant Newton was captured alive and taken to Hospital 102 of Military Region 5. His eventual fate has not yet been determined."

Robert L. Platt – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Private First Class Platt was captured alive. His eventual fate has not yet been determined."

Madison Strohlein – "Vietnam has now acknowledged that Sergeant Strohlein was captured alive on June 22, 1971 in Quang Nam Province. His eventual fate has not yet been determined."

Whatever the reason, this information was not made public during the life of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. Documents generated by that committee including its investigators were turned over to the National Archives where they remain today… Hidden in plain sight.

We immediately contacted the family of M/Sgt. Gregory J. Harris, acknowledged by the Vietnamese as "captured alive." The family was shocked by the information contained in the Tourison memo. Sadly, it came as little surprise to us, and the Harris family that they were never told of this information. Nor, does it seem as if U.S. investigators have factored this stunning information into ongoing efforts to locate M/Sgt. Harris. Instead, investigators continue to search for M/Sgt Harris at the loss area, when in fact the Vietnamese admitted, sometime prior to at least 1991, that he had been captured.

A word about this document, this and other documents were found within the Sedgwick Tourison Collection housed at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas, in mid March. With the discovery of this document the National Alliance of Families and Mary Reitano, cousin of Greg Harris, joined forces to download and review the documents within the Tourison Collection. Through our efforts, many additional documents of value were located, and passed to family members.

Among them a memo dated August 1, 1992 titled "Individuals Reported Died in Captivity and not listed on current DOD/Vessey/SSC priority lists." In this memo, Mr. Tourison states: "My review of POW/MIA case files disclosed DIA/JTFFA message traffic referring to individuals DOD now has information survived into captivity."

This memo appears to be a follow-up to the July 22nd memo. In the 13 cases cited, representing 19 servicemen, 9 are named in the July 22nd memo. The additional servicemen added to the list of men who "survived into captivity" are: Richard C. Bram, John F. Dingwall, Fredric M. Mellor, Charles J. Scharf/ Martin J. Massucci, John F. O'Grady, Thomas A. Mangino, Paul A. Hasenbeck, David M. Winters, Daniel Nidds, and John T. McDonnell.

Tourison then provided a breakdown of the cases "not currently listed as having died in captivity."

4 individuals (MIA-KIA/BNR) killed in captivity. Two of their remains have been recovered and identified (Greer/Schreckengost) and two have not (Egan/Newton)."

6 individuals (MIA-KIA/BNR) who may have been captured alive and later killed. The period of their captivity appears to have been brief. (Bram/Dingwall/Mangini/Hasenbeck/Winters/Nidds).

4 individuals (MIA-KIA/BNR) died in captivity of wounds suffered in combat. (Platt/Mellor/McDonnell/O'Grady.)

1 individual (MIA-KIA/BNR) survived into captivity, was wounded and precise fate unclear. (Ashlock)

1 case involving 2 airmen from the same loss incident (MIA-KIA/BNR), one parachute was reportedly seen by a wingman, witnesses in Vietnam have testified that a shootdown correlating to this case involved two bodies seen a the crash site. (Scharf/Massucci)

2 individuals (MIA-MIA/BRN,) wartime reporting possibly captured. Vietnamese witnesses testimony appears to indicate killed in combat. (Hamilton/Harris.)

In 1987, General John Vessey as special emissary for President Ronald Regan presented the Vietnamese with a list of 80 individuals representing 62 cases on which the U.S. Government believed the Vietnamese would have knowledge. Sometime between 1987 and 1991 the Vessey list expanded with the addition of 39 individuals representing 32 cases. This new or Vessey II list became known as the 119 Discrepancy List. It is important we look at these additions to the list as they compare to the 19 individuals named in the Tourison memos.

All nine individuals named in the July 22nd memo acknowledged by the Vietnamese as "captured alive" were added to the Vessey II list. Of the additional names included in the August 1st memo, only Tom Mangino, Paul Hasenbeck, Danny Nidds, David Winters, Richard Bram and John Dingwall were not added to the list of 119 Discrepancy cases. They would eventually be added to the Last Known Alive List of 135. This Last Known Alive list was based on revisions to the 119 Discrepancy list based on the addition of names and removal of names based on remains recoveries.

To put the importance of the List of 119 in perspective we need only to look at the testimony of Kenneth Quinn, Chairman of the POW/MIA Interagency Group before the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on Asia and Pacific Affairs given April 25, 1991. In discussing the 119 discrepancy cases Mr. Quinn stated:

"In terms of actually conducting investigations on the ground, General Vessey has focused on 119 discrepancy cases, which is to say those cases, which represent, from looking at all the information we know about them, represent the greatest possibility that the men involved might still be alive. We had evidence that they were alive after the incident occurred where the plane was shot down or they were lost on the ground and we don't know what happened to them and what their fate was. So those represented to General Vessey the possibility where it is most probable or most likely that they might still be alive."

Going back even further, we can look to the "Project X" study completed in 1976 to "evaluate the possibility of any of the unaccounted for being alive." The conclusion reached stated; "there is a possibility that as many as 57 Americans could be alive, although it is highly probable that the number is much smaller, possibly zero." Among the 57 individuals named in the "Project X" study, Robert Greer, Fred Schreckengost, Frederick Mellor, Gregory Harris, John O'Grady, Tom Mangino, Paul Hasenbeck, Danny Nidds, David Winters, and John McDonnell were all, according to the Tourison Memos, acknowledged as captured by the Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese acknowledgement of capture of these men should have come as no surprise to U.S. officials. One has only to look at the rationale for their selection as a "Project X" case.

Of Greer and Schreckengot, the Project X rationale stated; " Both individuals were reported in the custody of VC forces by many sources subsequent to their disappearance on June 1964. PFC Schreckengost was seen alive and in good health by both U.S. and Vietnamese sources on occasions as late as October 1974. No correlated reports of death have been received for either individual."

The rationale for Frederick Mellor states: "After he had made a successful landing, search and rescue aircraft were able to make voice contact with Capt Mellor. He indicated at that time that he was all right, although later attempts to locate him either by voice or electronic contact was unsuccessful. No reports of Capt Mellor's death have been received since the date of the incident."

The inclusion of Greg Harris in the Project X study is based on the fact that "Two Vietnamese who were wounded during the same action from which CPL Harris disappeared reported his capture by Viet Cong Forces. Although there are no reports confirming CPL Harris as a Prisoner, there have been no subsequent reports of his death

The rationale for inclusion of John O'Grady in the Project X study is less clear. In describing is incident of loss, the study reads; "After ejection from his stricken aircraft, Major O'Grady's parachute was seen twice in the air and once on the ground by a wingman of his flight. However, search and rescue aircraft were unable to re-locate his position."

The case rationale for Mangino, Hasenbeck, Nidds and Winters reads; " When last seen, all of the men were alive and unhurt in a sampan, and all could swim. An extensive search found nothing. One informant report indicates possible capture, but there have been no subsequent reports of death for any of the individuals in this incident."

Lastly, perhaps the most compelling of the Project X cases is that of Army Captain John T. McDonnell. The rationale for including McDonnell in the Project X study reads; "The other crewmember survived the aircraft crash and was subsequently found and medically evacuated. All signs indicated CPT McDonnel left the aircraft under his own power. No correlated reports of Capt McDonnel's death have been received since the incident date."

In spite of the Vietnamese acknowledgement of capture and survival into captivity of these 19 individuals none were ever considered for a status change to Prisoner of War. In fact, Mr. Tourison recommended against such a consideration but did state that one case that of L/Cpl Carlos Ashloch (sic), must be of priority interest.

Yet, the 19 individuals named as "captured" and "survived into captivity" are not the only unacknowledged POWs, held by the Vietnamese named within the Tourison documents. This assessment of POW status is not based on opinion. It is based as the notes state; "SRV acknowledged capture."

Of the names listed on the July 22nd and August 1st memos, six are very familiar to the National Alliance of Families, as their cases have been written about a number of times in this newsletter. They are: Greg Harris Tom Mangino, Paul Hasenbeck, Danny Nidds, David Winters and John McDonnell. We were not at all surprised to find their names within memos, stating they "survived into captivity." as we have long and loudly stated that very fact.

Greg Harris was a radio operator serving with the 5th Battalion of the Vietnamese Marine Corps, on June 12, 1966, when his unit was attacked by the Viet Cong. They suffered heavy losses. Friendly forces were able to retake the area on June 13th, recovering the wounded and dead. Greg Harris was not among them.

Two wounded Vietnamese Marines reported seeing Harris. One said he saw Harris was moving out of the area, toward the jungle. The other said the Viet Cong captured him. Some 25 years later, the Vietnamese admitted they captured Greg Harris. Now, 40 years later, we still wait for Greg Harris to come home.

We can not speculate how long Mangino, Hasenbeck, Nidds and Winters survived in captivity. We only know by Vietnamese admission that they survived into captivity.

A CIA report states that the 4 were captured and there were plans to move them to a western area. This report was dismissed by DPMO. Some 8 years after the Vietnamese admitted to capturing the 4, the Defense POW/MIA Office in a February 22nd, 2000 memo, to Jeanie Hasenbeck, stated: "to further comment on the CIA report, the first portion of the document does not relate to Refno 0646 loss. Nevertheless, the Field Comment analytical data in paragraph two relates to 0646 but the informant(s) incorrectly reported it to the collector. The informant apparently knew that something happened to four Americans, but was wrong in claiming their capture. Not only do we not know the source of the data reported in the field comment, we do not know the number of people the information was filtered through before the informant reported what is obviously hearsay."

The memo continued: "the person who obtained the information related in the field comment portion of the report most likely had access to JPRC (Joint Personnel Resolution Center, predecessor of the Joint Casualty Resolution Center which proceeded the Joint Task Force Full Accounting, now known as Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command or JPAC) files in Vietnam that detailed U.S. losses. Based on the date of the "capture," the location, and the number of men, the report writer probably made his own correlation to incident 0646. Again, his correlation of that portion was accurate. It was the information reported by the source in claiming that the men were captured as opposed to killed, which was inaccurate."

Ignored is the fact that the information was "evaluated possibly true" and that one source was rated "fairly reliable," indicating that he or she probably provided accurate information to U.S. forces in the past. Based on the Vietnamese admission of capture, it would seem that information contained in the CIA report was very accurate.

Ms. Hasenbeck forwarded a copy of the DPMO response to the National Alliance of Families, along with a cover note venting her frustration. "... I simply cannot comprehend how the rule of "credibility" is applied. Without confirmation, it sometimes is creditable and it sometimes is hearsay. Just how does that work? When it doesn't confirm their determination of fate, it becomes hearsay, when it does confirm their determination it is creditable. This is truly an ART as any rule of SCIENCE is thrown out the window.... It truly is an amazing logic they apply - most unique and never experienced anywhere else in my world."

There is also a May 5, 1967 report of 4 POW with a group of NVA correlated to Mangino, Hasenbeck, Nidds and Winters. There are two possible photo identifications (dismissed by DPMO) of Danny Nidds in captivity and one possible photo identification of David Winters on which no judgment has been made. None of this information is included in either the Project X rationale for selection or case summary. Additionally, we have documentation which indication that David Winters may have survived for over 1 year in captivity.

With the Vietnamese admission that Mangino, Hasenbeck, Nidds and Winters "survived into captivity," we must ask why U.S. investigators continue to maintain, based on Vietnamese witness statement that the four were ambushed and immediately killed by the gun fire and grenade blasts. Nor, do we understand how the four "survived into captivity" yet were immediately killed, their bodies submerged along a river bank in an effort to hide them from U.S. forces searching the village 2 hours after the 4 disappeared.

The discrepancies between the Vietnamese witness statements and contemporary U.S. records are too numerous to detail. Add these discrepancies to the facts the Vietnamese acknowledged their "survival into captivity," and the Project X study included them among the 57 American who could "Possibly …. Be alive" one is left to wonder….. What exactly happened to Mangino, Hasenbeck, Nidds and Winters.

Another case very familiar to the National Alliance of Families is that of Army Capt. John T. McDonnell. Listed as Missing in Action and eventually declared Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. There is no doubt that John McDonnell was a Prisoner of War. The only question open to debate is if John McDonnell died in captivity or survives today.

The Vietnamese have provided varying stories on McDonnell's fate. The first; McDonnell was injured in the crash of his Cobra helicopter, was immediately captured and died the next day. The second version has McDonnell shot while attempting to evade capture and dying of his wounds the next day. Still a third story states the wounded McDonnell was carried on a stretcher. While crossing a river, McDonnell fell off the stretcher, hit his head and died. The problem with the first version of the Vietnamese story is that there is absolutely no evidence that McDonnell was injured in the crash, as no blood was found at his position within the aircraft. Nor, was any blood found on his helmet, found outside the helicopter. As for the second and third versions, much of the statements provided by the Vietnamese were acknowledge hearsay. Only one witness was located who claimed to have actually participated in McDonnell's burial. The area was excavated. No remains were found. According to a JTF-FA field report the witness insisted that the area excavated was the burial site, "but bombing during the war and subsequent heavy rains and flooding completely wiped out all evidence or remains or a grave site. Consequently, the witnesses claimed it would be impossible for them to more accurately locate the burial site."

However, dismissed by U.S. investigators and analysis within DPMO are the two live sighting reports correlated to Capt. McDonnell putting him alive and in captivity as late as February of 1973. The first report was a firsthand observation, on three different occasions, between May and July of 1971, in Laos. Based on sources description, a member of the Joint Casualty Resolution Centers stated in the "Field Comment" -- "Records indicate that source probably observed Capt. John T. McDonnell, USA (JCRC Nr. 0176).... There is an indication that McDonnell may have been captured.... McDonnell's description follows: age in 1971 was 31, height: 1.77 meters; weight 75 kilos' hair; brown; race; Caucasian; wears white silver Seiko watch and large ring on left hand."

The second and far more detailed sighting of Captain McDonnell came during the period August 1972 – February 1973, in the Ba To area of Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam. On four occasions the source saw and spoke with "a captured American Artillery Officer... who was captured (estimated 1968-1969)." The source described the captured American as approximately 75 inches tall, with blue eyes and blond hair. He had a high bridged nose and was thin but had a large frame. The artillery Captain had a small mole on the upper portion of his left lip and a scar approximately 1 1/2 inches long behind his left ear. Subject had two tattoos- one on his right forearm (Dragon approximately 20 CM) and the other on his upper left arm (Nude Woman with two words probably in English). The American was married and had one girl 11 and one boy aged 5. Source states that on the four occasions he conversed with this Captain, a Sr. LT. Hinh, MR-5 (Military Region 5) interpreter, assisted him. Source states the Captain was from Texas, the same place where President Johnson lived, and from source's imitation of the sound of his name it may be inferred that the officer's first name was John (sic)...."

How does the description of Capt. McDonnell stack up against the description provided by the source? You decide.

JohnMcDonnell / Ba To POW

as described by source

First Name

John / John Rank

Capt./Arty / Capt./Arty

Captured / Captured

March 6, 1969 / 1968 - 1969 time frame

Loss Location

Thien / Thua Binh Dinh Height

70" / 75" Weight

175 lbs/ described by source as thin

Hair

Light Brown / Blond Eyes

Hazel / Blue

Scars

behind left ear/ behind left ear

Tattoos

unknown / 2

Home of Record

Texas / Texas

Married

Yes / Yes

Number of Children

3 / 2

Son 11,Son 9,Daughter8/ Son 5,Daughter 11,

In reviewing this material one must remember that all four conversations between the Source and the Army Captain were conducted through an interpreter. Minor errors of translation may have occurred regarding the number of children. It should also be remembered that the number of children is a minor detail, which the source may have been confused on. It is critical to remember that all major facts relating to the American "Captain" correlate to John McDonnell. Another interesting point is that the second and far more compelling sighting between 1972 -1973 was never mentioned in the Project X study.
,br> The report, in 1973, of a captured American with a dragon tattoo, was but the first. In the early 1980's another source provided a limited description of an American Prisoner seen in Hanoi in 1977, who had a dragon tattoo on his forearm. This second report of a dragon tattoo had U.S. investigators, once again looking at the case of Capt. McDonnell. All this leaves us asking…. What are the odds of two sources reporting an American in captivity with a dragon tattoo on his forearm?

19 New POWs cases…. Captured alive….. Survived into captivity…. Yet none of the 19 were acknowledged as captured or died in captivity by the Vietnamese in January of 1973. Today, 17 of the 19 remain unaccounted for, still listed as Missing in Action in spite of the fact that the Vietnamese have acknowledged their captivity.

We hear, in glowing terms, of Vietnamese full cooperation on the POW/MIA issue. Yet, we continue to negotiate for new levels of that cooperation, while waiting for the Vietnamese to return men they admit were captured.

It doesn't sound like full cooperation to us.

But the documents quoted here are not Vietnamese documents. They are U.S. documents generated by the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, based on reports from the Vietnamese, and real time intelligence. Yet, these documents and other remain largely ignored by DPMO.

How much more information on our unaccounted for service personnel remains available and ignored?

How many more servicemen were captured by the enemy and remain unacknowledged?

The answers are in Hanoi, the National Archives, Library of Congress and at Texas Tech.

The clock is ticking......

 
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