POW/MIA Affairs Committee Update March/April 2021

POW/MIA Flag

BY GRANT COATES, CHAIR

In accordance with VVA Convention Resolution P-7, here is the annual report of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Committee:

PM-3 Declassification of Information and Diligent Effort: The POW/MIA Committee monitors the actions of the National Declassification Center. The NDC has several military commands and secret correspondence that have completed declassification processing.

PM-4 Americans Missing in Laos and Cambodia: Efforts continue for better relations between Laos and Cambodia to further recovery missions in those countries.

PM-7 Possibility of Live POW/MIAs, and Facilitating the Return of Those Who Remain in Southeast Asia: VVA has formally acknowledged the possibility of live Americans being left in Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War, and elsewhere worldwide, as a result of later military operations and war. By definition of the resolution, until all known missing in action from the Vietnam War are accounted for and returned, no change to the resolution is foreseen.

PM-8 Fullest Possible Accounting of POW/MIAs in Vietnam: The POW/MIA Committee continues to receive timely information from the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency and other organizations regarding accountability of the missing in action from the Vietnam War. All identified missing in action names are immediately announced through the media. For several reasons, including wishes of the families, DOD announcements are often delayed beyond identification dates.

PM-11 Honoring All Returned POWs, and Giving Recognition of American Civilians Held as POW/Interned During World War II: VVA urges all chapters and state councils to seek opportunities to honor local former POWs and their families. VVA desires that Congress enact legislation to formally recognize the sacrifices of these individuals. VVA commends the extraordinary service rendered by public servants, military personnel, and citizens who have devoted their lives, vocation, time, and personal resources to resolving the issue of prisoners and missing from the Vietnam War and other conflicts.

PM-13 Public Awareness and Education on the POW/MIA Flag: By definition of the resolution: VVA encourages and supports compliance with U.S. Public Law 116-67, known as The National POW/MIA Flag Act. The bill changes the days on which the POW/MIA flag is required to be displayed at specified locations to all days on which the U.S. flag is displayed. VVA further resolves to continue efforts to educate public officials and others on the history and meaning of the POW/MIA flag and its proper display under Public Law 116-67. VVA recognizes that any official VVA function where the national colors are displayed should include the POW/MIA flag; it shall be posted or flown to the immediate left of the national colors. All other flags used in the display shall be flown to the left of the POW/MIA flag following published guidelines for positioning protocol.

PM-14 Forever POW/MIA Stamp: As of February 4, 2021, no member of Congress had introduced legislation regarding the Perpetual POW/MIA Stamp Act. A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President in order to become law.

VI-1 The Veterans Initiative, A National VVA Effort on Vietnam’s Missing in Action: In an effort to receive more information regarding the Vietnamese missing in action from the Vietnam War, the Veterans Initiative Program launched a new informational request advertisement in 2016 titled, “Were You There?” in The Veteran. In 2015 “The Veterans Initiative Needs
Your Help” announcement was placed on the VVA website’s POW/MIA page at www.vva.org/Committees/POW_MIA. Several eyewitness reports have been submitted to the committee for investigation. The end result of the veteran-to-veteran collaboration between VVA and Vietnamese organizations, we hope, will be the return of American MIAs.

VI-2 Scope of the Veterans Initiative: VVA reaffirms the primary mission of the Veterans Initiative to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all POW/MIAs in Vietnam and supports expanding the mission to include Southeast Asia.


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