The Four-Way Essay --written by Judy


Yes, there are presently 17,000 POW/MIAs still left in Southeast Asia from as early as the Korean War. The word "POW" refers to a prisoner of war. The word "MIA" refers to a soldier who is missing in action. The United States became involved in the Korean Conflict in 1950. The confilct ended in 1953 in a truce, and to this day there are still 50,000 troops stationed in Korea to help keep the peace. The United States became involved in the Vietnam Conflict in 1964. The American troops were officially withdrawn from Vietnam in 1973, but the conflict ended with the fall of Saigon in 1975, with the communist forces dominant. As in Korea, there are still U.S. forces stationed in Vietnam.

In 1973 Laotian forces revealed they held 100 live POWs and prepared to give full accounting of them. The U.S. government responded 9 days later, declaring that they were all dead, without even talking to the Laotians about the POWs they were holding. From 1970-1976 the French paid an unspecified amount of money to the Vietnamese, who released the POWs captured in 1954. Prior to 1976, the North Vietnamese claimed that the POWs from 1954 had died. In 1984 Bobby Garwood, a POW released in 1979, reported seeing 70 live captive Americans long after the Vietnam War ended. In 1986, The WALL STREET JOURNAL reported that the White House knew in 1981 that Vietnam wanted to sell an unspecified number of POWs for 4 billion dollars. They decided the offer was genuine, but ignored it. Again in 1986, THE NEW YORK TIMES reported that a Pentagon panel had estimated up to 100 live American POWs were held in Vietnam alone. In October 1986 CIA Director William Casey said: "Look, the nation knows they [the POWs] are there, but there's no grounds well of support for getting them out. Certainly you are not suggesting we pay for them, surely not saying we could do anything like that with no public support." In 1988, a cable from the Joint Casualty Resolution Center stated that during General Vessey's visit to Hanoi, "The Vietnamese people are prepared to turn over 7 or 8 live American POWs if Vessey told them what they wanted to hear. All the prospective returnees were allegedly held in a location on the Lao side of the border." In 1990, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Interim Report on POW/MIAs in Southeast Asia concluded that despite public assurances in 1973 that no POWs remained in the region, the Defense Department " 1974 concluded beyond a doubt that several hundred American POWs remained in captivity in Southeast Asia."

By 1991, Col. Millard Peck, Chief of Pentagon's Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, resigned in protest of being ordered by policy makers in POW/MIA Inter-Agency Group not to investigate live sighting reports of American POWs. During the summer of 1991, a flood of evidence of live POWs poured from Southeast Asia: pictures, handwriting samples, fingerprints, foot-prints, maps, and other physical proof. The Bush administration disregarded the evidence and attempted to discredit it by rumor and innuendo. Some photos are scientifically validated--and have never been scientifically disproven.


No, it is not fair to the men and women who have remained in captivity. What about their families? Do they not deserve at least some closure, some relief from the years of agony they have suffered through, not knowing if their loved ones are dead or alive? If one can read the evidence above and say that this abomination is fair, then something is wrong. It it ridiculous to have so many people still missing, but our senators and representatives are looking the other way about this matter. One can adopt a POW or MIA if they have a home page via the Internet. To obtain a POW or MIA, one types in the address of a Web page specifically designed for that purpose, such as The POW/MIA Freedom Fighters. The prospective adopter fills out a form, and is later e-mailed with a POW's or MIA's statistics and synopsis of what happened to that person. One such MIA is David Murray May, born January 29, 1945 in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Hyattsville, Maryland. His unit was the 48th Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. On February 20, 1971, 20 miles southeast of Sepone, Laos, 1st Lieutenant David May, SP5 Randolph L. Johnson, W1 Jon E. Reid, and SP4 Robert J. Acalotto were flying in a UH1C helicopter when they were hit by hostile fire and crashed. The helicopter landed upright on its skids, and two people were seen exiting the aircraft on the right side, running toward some nearby trees. The left side of the aircraft was jettisoned and both forward seats were empty. Several attempts were made to rescue the crew, but failed because of heavy enemy fire. The 1st ARVN Division was to assist, but the tactical situation changed and the unit had to be pulled out before the infantry could reach the area. No radio contact with the crew was ever established after the crash. Jon Reid was seen alive by other U.S. POWs in March 1971, again in May, and once in June. When the POWs were released in 1973, Reid was not among them, nor were the other three personnel involved in the helicopter crash. Proof af the deaths of May, Reid, Johnson, and Acalotto was never found. No remains came home; none were released from prison camp. They were not blown up; nor did they sink to the bottom of the ocean. Someone knows what happened to them, but no one has made a move to research this or speak up.


Yes, if we bring home our POWs and MIAs, it wil bring goodwill and friendships, not only tho the families of these people, but also our country, and also the other countries involved. In these countries in which soldiers are still being held captive, it would be a welcome relief to have the foreigners out of their country at last. America will have their people home and the Southeast Asian countries will finally have ther land back at last, with the exception of the troops still stationed in Vietnam and Korea to keep the peace. The families will be overjoyed to have their loved ones back, dead or alive.


It will probably put a dent in the budget, but we spend enough money on frivolities that we could take that money and put it to good use. The taxpayers will at least know their money is being put to good use, along with building schools, roads, and making sure that our country is being run properly. The technology used to find the POWs and MIAs would be appliances such as radar and tracking devices. It is not as if the United States does not have the money or technology. We do, but the leaders in Washington have their sights set on less important issues. But probably the most important issue here is: Why should we have to pay these countries money to bring our soldiers home? One would think that after nearly half a century that North Korea and Vietnam would release the captives free of charge, for the wars are, for the most part, over with. The way these countries demand money for people is appalling. Vietnam, North Korea, Laos, and others are treating our soldiers as property, or inanimate objects that can be bought and sold. When the U.S. holds, POWs, we do no demand money for the safe return of the captives. And the POWs' and MIAs' families will have some closure if we bring our pepole home. It might not be necessarily good news, but they will know about what really happened to our men and women.