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R 120032Z OCT 93 ZYB PSN 784161P27

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INFO WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASH DC
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DIA WASHINGTON DC
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RUEHBT/CJTFFA DET ONE BANGKOK TH

UNCLAS //N03460//

MSGID/GENADMIN/CDR JTF-FA/J223//

SUBJ/INTERVIEW OF REQUESTED SOURCE, LE NGHIA SY//
REF/ A/FAX/CJTFFA DET ONE/lOCT93/ /
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS A VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTION OF AN ORAL
HISTORY PROJECT FIELD REPORT//

RMKS/1. BACKGROUND. ON 13 SEPTEMBER 1993,  A JOINT U.S./VIETNAM ORAL
HISTORY PROGRAM INTERVIEW TEAM INTERVIEWED RETIRED SENIOR COLONEL
(SRCOL) LE NGHIA SY, A 70 YOA RESIDENT OF 90/88E NGUYEN DINH CHIEU
STREET,  DISTRICT l, HO CHI MINH CITY (HCMC). SRCOL SY IS THE FORMER
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE GROUP 559 POLITICAL DEPARTMENT AND CURRENTLY THE
DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE DISTRICT 1, HCMC CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL VIETNAM
VETERAN'S ASSOCIATION. THE JOINT TEAM MET AT THE EXTERNAL RELATIONS
OFFICE,  6THAI VAN LUNG STREET, DISTRICT 1,  HCMC, TO INTERVIEW SRCOL
SY. LISTED IN REFERENCE AS A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF INFORMATION CONCERNING
U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION (MIA) IN VIETNAM. THE U S. CONTINGENT
CONSISTED OF MR. [XXX][XXX][XXX]. DET 2 CASUALTY RESOLUTION SPECIALIST,
AND SGT [XXX][XXX][XXX] JTF-FA ANALYST/LINGUIST. THE VIETNAMESE CENTRAL
GOVERNMENT CONSISTED OF LTC LE KY. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND MR. NGUYEN
VAN THANG LOI, MINISTRY OF INTERIOR. OTHER PERSONNEL ATTENDING THIS
INTERVIEW WERE MR. LE KIM LAM. HCMC MIA TEAM CHIEF; MR- HA, HCMC PUBLIC
SECURITY SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE;

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AND PAVN TRAN VAN TAN, MILITARY REGION SEVEN (MR7) HEADQUARTERS
REPRESENTATIVE.

2. SUMMARY. THE SOURCE, SRCOL LE NGHIA SY, PROVIDED EYEWITNESS
ACCOUNTS OF TWO INCIDENTS OF U.S. AIRCRAFT SHOOTDOWNS, ONE OF
WHICH INVOLVED THE CAPTURE OF A U.S. PILOT IN OCTOBER OR NOVEMBER
OF 1967. THE FIRST INCIDENT INVOLVED AN RF-4C HIT BY AAA FIRE
THAT CRASHED IN THE VICINITY OF HUONG DO VILLAGE,  HUONG KHE
DISTRICT, HA TINH PROVINCE. THE PILOT WAS CAPTURED ALIVE, BUT
THE SOURCE HAD NO INFORMATION REGARDING THE ULTIMATE FATE OF THE
PILOT. THE SECOND INCIDENT OCCURRED IN DECEMBER OF 1970, AND
INVOLVED THE SHOOTDOWN OF AN AC-130 IN QUANG TRI PROVINCE AT AN
UNSPECIFIED POINT NEAR ROUTE SOUTHWEST OF KHE SANH. ACCORDING

TO SRCOL SY,  THIS INCIDENT HAD NO SURVIVORS AND NO REMAINS
RECOVERED. NEITHER INCIDENT, AS DESCRIBED BY THE SOURCE, CAN BE
CORRELATED TO ANY MIA CASE AT THIS TIME. THE SOURCE CLAIMED NO
KNOWLEDGE OF U.S PERSONNEL,  LIVING FREELY OR AGAINST THEIR WILL,
IN VIETNAM SINCE 1973.

3. DETAILS. AFTER INTRODUCTORY STATEMENTS BY THE JOINT TEAM,
THE SOURCE PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
    A. SRCOL LE NGHIA SY (LEEK NGHIAX SYX) BEGAN HIS MILITARY CAREER
IN 1946, ALTHOUGH HE SAID HE HAD ACTUALLY RECEIVED THE RANK OF
RECRUIT ON 22 DECEMBER 1944. HE SAID THAT IN 1956 HE BEGAN SERVICE
AS AN OFFICER BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1958 THAT THE SERVICE ACTUALLY
ASSIGNED RANKS. IN 1958, ASSIGNED THE RANK OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL, HE
WAS SENT TO THE COMMAND STAFF OF GROUP 559. HE CONTINUED TO SERVE IN
GROUP 559 THROUGHOUT THE WAR, WAS EVENTUALLY ELEVATED TO DEPUTY
CHIEF OF THE POLITICAL OFFICE, AND RETIRED AS A SENIOR COLONEL IN
1973. SRCOL SY SAID THAT DURING THE WAR, AS THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF
THE POLITICAL OFFICE, HE WAS AWARE OF THE ACTIVITIES OF MANY
DIFFERENT LOWER ECHELON COMMAND UNITS FROM THE NORTH TO SOUTH OF
VIETNAM, AS WELL AS IN LAOS AND CAMBODIA HE SAID THAT DUE TO HIS
POSITION HE WAS AWARE OF THE GENERAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF SOME INCIDENTS
IN WHICH U.S. PERSONNEL MAY HAVE BEEN KILLED OR CAPTURED BUT THAT
THE UNITS HAD NO MEANS OF KEEPING ACCURATE RECORDS. SRCOL SY
EXPLAINED THAT THERE WERE NO TAPE RECORDERS, AND IN SOME INSTANCES
NO PAPER. HE RECALLED WITNESSING TWO INCIDENTS DURING THE WAR IN
WHICH U.S. AIRCRAFT WERE SHOT DOWN.
    B. THE FIRST INCIDENT TOOK PLACE IN OCTOBER OR NOVEMBER OF
1967,  DURING THE RAINY SEASON. SRCOL SY AND OTHERS FROM HIS UNIT
HAD BEEN DEPLOYED TO THE HUONG KHE DISTRICT. HA TINH PROVINCE
SEGMENT OF THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL FOR SIX OR SEVEN MONTHS THAT
YEAR. SRCOL SY SAID HE KNEW THAT THIS INCIDENT OCCURRED DURING THE
RAINY SEASON  BECAUSE HEAVY RAINS HAD TURNED ALL OF THE SMALL STREAMS
INTO RIVERS. FOR GROUP 559,  HE SAID THAT IT WAS STILL RELATIVELY
EARLY IN THE WAR, AND HE WAS WITH A CELL OF CADRE PREPARING TO

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FORM  A UNIT FOR A DRY SEASON CAMPAIGN. HE SAID PREPARATION
ACTIVITIES WERE UNDERWAY ON BOTH SIDES OF THE VIETNAM-LAOS BORDER
IN THE AREA NEAR THE PROVINCIAL BOUNDARIES OF QUANG BINH AND HA
TINH. DUE TO LACK OF COMPASSES. SRCOL SY SAID HE COULD NOT BE
SURE ON ANY GIVEN DAY WHETHER HE WAS IN LAOS OR VIETNAM. OR
WHETHER HE WAS IN THE OPERATIONS AREA OF MILITARY REGION FOUR
(MR4) OR GROUP 559. HE COULD NOT RECALL WHICH DAY THIS INCIDENT
OCCURRED. BUT AT ABOUT 1600 HOURS. HE OBSERVED AN OV-10 FLY OVER
HIS POSITION. FOLLOWED SOON THEREAFTER BY TWO F-105'S AND TWO RF-
4C'S ON A STRIKE MISSION AGAINST THE FORCES CONCENTRATED IN THAT
AREA. HE BELIEVED THE OV-10 SPOTTED A TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY AND
CALLED IN THE INFORMATION FOR AN AIR STRIKE. DUE TO THE HEAVY
CONCENTRATION OF GROUND FORCES IN THE AREA, DURING THE SUBSEQUENT
ATTACK. ONE OF THE F-4'S WAS HIT BY AN UNSPECIFIED AAA UNIT.
CAUGHT FIRE,  AND WENT DOWN IN THE VICINITY OF HUONG DO VILLAGE
(UNLOCATED). ONE PILOT EJECTED SAFELY AND PARACHUTED DOWN TO A
NEARBY MOUNTAIN TOP. SRCOL SY HEARD THAT LOCAL VILLAGERS
CAPTURED THE PILOT WHILE HE WAS SEEKING A SUITABLE LOCATION TO
EVADE CAPTURE IN THE VICINITY OF TAN AP VILLAGE (UNLOCATED) JUST
BEFORE DARK. BY 2000 HOURS, BLACKOUT PROCEDURES WERE IN EFFECT,
AS AN ANTI-AIR RAID MEASURE. AND DUE TO DARKNESS THE GROUND
FORCES WERE ONLY AWARE OF THE ONE PILOT. THE VILLAGERS TURNED THE
PILOT OVER TO THE MILITIA. AND THE MILITIA DELIVERED THE PW TO
THE LOCAL DISTRICT  HEADQUARTERS (UNLOCATED). ONCE THERE,  MR4
OFFICIALS ASSUMED CONTROL OF THE PILOT. ANTICIPATING THE ARRIVAL
OF A U.S. SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM AND FEARING RETALIATORY AIR
STRIKES, THE PAVN SOLDIERS AND MR4 OFFICIALS EVACUATED THE
IMMEDIATE AREA IN ORDER TO AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES OF A POTENTIAL
SECOND AIR ATTACK THAT NIGHT. SRCOL SY RECALLED HIS UNIT HAD TO
CROSS THE NGAN SO (NGAAN SOO) RIVER TO THE NORTH IN ORDER TO
EVACUATE THE AREA. HE SAID THAT EVEN THOUGH HE WAS AN EYEWITNESS

TO HIS INCIDENT INVOLVING THE CAPTURE OF A U.S. AVIATOR,  HE HAD
NO SPECIFIC INFORMATION TO CONTRIBUTE WHICH MIGHT DIRECTLY ASSIST
IN THE INVESTIGATION OF THIS CASE. SRCOL SY SAID THAT THIS
INCIDENT WAS THE CLEAREST INCIDENT IN HIS RECALL BUT THAT HE
//

MSGID/GENADMIN/CDR JTF-FA/J223//

SUBJ/INTERVIEW OF REQUESTED SOURCE. LE NGHIA SY//

RMKS/
COULD PROVIDE  NO FURTHER INFORMATION.

   C. SRCOL SY COULD PROVIDE NEITHER A NAME NOR A PHYSICAL
DESCRIPTION OF THE PILOT. HE EXPLAINED THAT SINCE THE PILOT WAS
CAPTURED AT NIGHT AND BLACKOUT PROCEDURES WERE IN EFFECT. HE
NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO SEE THE PILOT IN THE LIGHT. SRCOL SY WAS
ALSO SOME DISTANCE FROM THE PILOT SRCOL SY CLAIMED NO KNOWLEDGE

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OF THE FATE OF THE PILOT AFTER THE EVACUATION, ADDING THAT THE
SHOOTDOWN OCCURRED OVER MR4 TERRITORY; THEREFORE, MR4 OFFICIALS HAD
COMPLETE JURISDICTION OVER THE INCIDENT AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
PRISONER. SRCOL SY SAID HE REALIZED THE INFORMATION HE PROVIDED WOULD
NOT BE OF ANY HELP TO THE JOINT TEAM IN RESOLVING THE CASE,  BUT ADDED
HE WAS CERTAIN THAT EITHER THE PILOT HAD BEEN REPATRIATED IN 1973  OR
HIS REMAINS HAD BEEN TURNED OVER TO THE U.S. SIDE.
    D. THE SECOND INCIDENT OCCURRED IN DECEMBER OF 1970  AND
INVOLVED THE SHOOTDOWN OF AN AC-130 IN QUANG TRI PROVINCE. HE
SAID THAT NO PERSONNEL ABOARD THE AC-130 SURVIVED THE INCIDENT
SRCOL SY WITNESSED THE SHOOTDOWN WHILE HE WAS DEPLOYED TO THE
473RD DIVISION ACCOMPANYING A CONVOY OF TRUCKS TRANSPORTING PAVN
TROOPS THROUGH QUANG TRI. AT THAT TIME' ACCORDING TO SRCOL SY.
THE U.S. HAD JUST BEGUN USING AC-130'S EQUIPPED WITH ELECTRONICS
FOR NIGHT STRIKES AGAINST CONVOYS OF PAVN TRUCKS,  AND THIS
INCIDENT WAS THE FIRST SHOOTDOWN OF THE NEWLY CONFIGURED AC-130
OVER VIETNAM. DUE TO THE CONSISTENTLY LOW FLIGHT PROFILE USED BY
THE ATTACKING AC-130'S' THE PREFERRED PAVN DEFENSIVE TACTIC WAS

TO SET UP AAA BATTERIES AT BOTH ENDS OF A STRETCH OF ROAD TO DEFEND
AGAINST INCOMING AIRCRAFT FROM ALL DIRECTIONS. IN THIS PARTICULAR
INSTANCE,  THE [C-130 FLEW IN EXTREMELY LOW OVER THE CONVOY,  WAS
HIT BY 57MM ARTILLERY  ROUNDS AT A POINT VERY CLOSE TO THE GROUND,
THEN IMPACTED THE EARTH AND EXPLODED. SRCOL SY CLAIMED THERE
WERE NO SURVIVORS AS THE PLANE WAS FLYING TOO LOW FOR ANY OF
THOSE ON BOARD TO HAVE A CHANCE OF BAILING OUT SRCOL SY COULD
NOT REMEMBER THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE CRASH SITE,  ONLY THAT IT
WAS IN QUANG TRI PROVINCE NEAR ROUTE 9 SOUTHWEST OF KHE SANH
(XD8438). HE RECALLED THAT THIS AIR STRIKE FOLLOWED THE SAME
PATTERN AS B-52 STRIKES; THE STRIKE WAS FOLLOWED BY ARTILLERY:
SRCOL SY SAID THAT ALTHOUGH THE AAA TACTIC EMPLOYED SPECIFICALLY

TO SHOOT DOWN THE AC-130'5 DURING ATTACKS ON CONVOYS WAS VERY
EFFECTIVE,  IT OFTEN RESULTED IN THE LOSS OF THE VERY SAME
AAA  BATTERY BECAUSE OF THE TRAJECTORY OF A DAMAGED
AIRCRAFT.
    E. AFTER THIS INCIDENT. A SPECIAL THREE-MAN TEAM COMPOSED OF
"SOVIETS" AND SPECIALISTS TRAINED BY THE "SOVIETS" REQUESTED TO
TRAVEL TO THE SITE OF THE DOWNED AC-130 AIRCRAFT IN ORDER TO STUDY
THE MATERIALS AND ELECTRONICS OF THE AC-130. AFTER THE MINISTRY OF
DEFENSE AGREED TO ALLOW THE TEAM ACCESS TO THE WRECK,  PERSONNEL
FROM SRCOL SY'S UNIT ESCORTED THE TEAM TO THE SITE. SRCOL SY
SAID THAT IN SIFTING THROUGH THE WRECKAGE,  THE TEAM WAS UNABLE TO
FIND ANY INTACT COMPONENTS. HE SAID THAT ALL AIRCRAFT COMPONENTS
AND MATERIALS,  HAD BEEN COMPLETELY DESTROYED DURING THE CRASH AND
THE SUBSEQUENT U.S. BOMBING OF THE SITE. SRCOL SY ADDED THAT NO
REMAINS WERE EVER RECOVERED FROM THE WRECKAGE. IN HIS
EXPERIENCE, THIS WAS NOT UNUSUAL SINCE THE PAVN WAS ACUTELY AWARE
OF THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF THE B-52 RAID. TO ILLUSTRATE, SRCOL

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SY SAID THAT IN A LARGE NUMBER OF INSTANCES,  A UNIT WOULD KNOW
THE EXACT NUMBER OF PERSONNEL IN A COMMAND POST TRENCH, AN AAA
EMPLACEMENT, OR A BOMB SHELTER DURING A B-52 STRIKE. AFTER THE
STRIKE IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON FOR THE UNIT TO BE UNABLE TO FIND ANY
TRACE OF HUMAN REMAINS. SRCOL SY SAID THAT HE WAS AWARE OF
EXTENSIVE PAVN EFFORTS DURING AND AFTER THE WAR TO RECOVER PAVN
REMAINS WITH VERY LITTLE RESULTS.
    F. DURING THE 1970-1971 TRANSPORT CAMPAIGN IN THE GENERAL
QUANG  TRI AREA,  HE SAID, UNITS IN HIS AREA SHOT DOWN TWO
HELICOPTERS, ONE RF-4,  AND ONE AC-130. IN EACH INSTANCE,  THERE
WERE NO SURVIVORS AND THERE WERE NO REMAINS RECOVERED
    G. THE SOURCE CLAIMED HIS UNIT KEPT NO RECORDS ON EITHER OF THE
TWO INCIDENTS WHICH HE RELATED TO THE JOINT TEAM. HE WENT ON TO
EXPLAIN THAT THE VIETNAMESE WERE NOT EQUIPPED WITH MODERN RECORD
KEEPING DEVICES SUCH AS CAMERAS, COMPUTERS,  AND TAPE RECORDERS AND
WERE NOT TASKED WITH KEEPING ORGANIZED RECORDS. HE CLAIMED ALL RECORDS
REGARDING MOVEMENT OF PRISONERS FROM THE SOUTH TO HOLDING CAMPS IN THE
NORTH WOULD HAVE BEEN MAINTAINED BY MILITARY REGION FIVE (MR5).
    H. THE SOURCE ALSO MENTIONED THE DIFFICULTY VIETNAM HAS HAD
RESOLVING ITS OWN MIA ISSUE AND SUGGESTING THAT IF THE U.S OFFERED
TO HELP THE VIETNAMESE IN THAT REGARD,  THE U.S. MIGHT ENJOY BETTER
COOPERATION FROM THE VIETNAMESE. SRCOL SY EXPRESSED HIS
UNDERSTANDING OF THE HUMANITARIAN NATURE OF THE ISSUE AND
ACKNOWLEDGED VIETNAM HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE
RESOLUTION OF THE CASES AT THE SAME TIME,  HOWEVER,  HE FELT THERE
WAS LITTLE HOPE OF FINDING MORE REMAINS AND REITERATED HIS FIRM
BELIEF THAT THERE ARE NOT NOW,  AND HAVE NOT BEEN SINCE 1972. ANY
U.S. PERSONNEL HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL IN VIETNAM.
    I. WITH NO FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR SRCOL SY,  THE JOINT TEAM
AGREED TO CONCLUDE THE INTERVIEW.

4. CORRELATIONS TO EXISTING POW/MIA CASES. NONE. THE INCIDENTS, AS
DESCRIBED BY SRCOL SY,  CANNOT BE CORRELATED TO ANY U.S. LOSSES AT
THIS TIME.

5. POTENTIAL LEADS: NONE.

6. MATERIAL EVIDENCE: NONE. THE SOURCE BROUGHT NO RECORDS,
NOTEBOOKS, DIARIES, OR ANY MATERIAL EVIDENCE ASSOCIATED WITH
UNACCOUNTED FOR U.S PERSONNEL.

7. COMMENTS.
    A. SRCOL SY SEEMED GENUINELY PLEASED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY

TO MEET THE JOINT TEAM AND EXPRESSED A SINCERE DESIRE TO HELP.
HE DELIVERED HIS STATEMENTS OPENLY AND IN AN HONEST MANNER. HE
EMPHASIZED THAT A LONG TIME HAS PASSED SINCE THESE INCIDENTS TOOK
PLACE; THEREFORE, MANY OF THE SPECIFIC DETAILS ARE NO LONGER

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CLEAR IN HIS MIND.
   B. REQUEST THE VNOSMP MAKE SRCOL SY AVAILABLE FOR
REINTERVIEW IF NECESSARY.//

BT

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