National Alliance of Families For The Return of America's Missing
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf Wars
Dolores Alfond -
Lynn O'Shea --- 718-846-4350
Web Site http://www.nationalalliance.org
Jan. 8, 2005 Bits N
WHO WANTS TO TELL MATT MAUPIN HE'S NOT
POW Status - For the last several years, we have written
about the fact that the Department of Defense (DOD) quietly eliminated the
designation/status Prisoner of War as it applies to captured American
service personnel. DOD representatives, specifically those from the
Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) have told us we are wrong. They say the POW
status still exists. We've asked representatives of DPMO, on more than one
occasion, to provide us with a copy of the controlling directive governing
and describing the conditions under which a member of the Armed Forces
would be listed POW. Needless to say, they have been unable or unwilling
to provide this directive. This leads us to believe, in spite of their
statements to us and the media, that there is no directive under which a
member of the Armed Forces would be listed as POW.
DOD Controlling Directive 1300.18, issued Dec. 18, 2000,
does not provide for a Prisoner of War designation/status. Under this
directive, the most a captured service member can hope for is the
ambiguous designation/status Missing/Captured or MIA-C.
Section E126.96.36.199. of the Directive reads, in part
"Missing. A casualty status applicable to a person who is not at his
or her duty location due to apparent involuntary reasons and whose
location may or may not be known...."
Subsection E188.8.131.52.3 deals with captured personnel
stating "Captured. The casualty has been seized as the result of
action of an unfriendly military or paramilitary force in a foreign
Thus the new status "Missing-Captured" or
"MIA-C.) No where in the December 20, 2000 directive will you find
the phrase Prisoner of War or its acronym POW.
When the Navy changed Capt. Scott
Speicher's status from Missing to Missing/Captured, then Secretary of Navy
Gordon England wrote, "This category denotes that a service member
has been seized as the result of action of an unfriendly military or
paramilitary force in a foreign country..... if the government of Iraq is
holding Captain Speicher he is entitled to Prisoner of War status under
international law and the Geneva Convention..... Although the controlling
missing persons statute and directives do not use the term "Prisoner
of War," the facts supporting a change in Captain Speicher's category
from Missing in Action to Missing/Captured would also support the
conclusion that, if alive, he is a Prisoner of War."
In other words if the status existed,
the Secretary of Navy would have designated Capt. Speicher a POW.
We realize that our enemies violate the rules of
international law and the Geneva Conventions regarding the care and
treatment of captured American Service Personnel. Terminology will not
change that. Terminology does change world perception regarding the value
we place on our captured personnel. In the eyes of the enemy, doesn't it
downgrade the worth of a battered American service member, displayed on
television worldwide, for the Department of Defense to designate him or
her Missing/Captured rather than Prisoner of War?
The status Missing/Captured fails to provide this
nation's service members the moral dignity and international recognition
provided by the Prisoner of War status.
Call To Action - We're asking
your help to get the Prisoner of War status reinstated. DOD isn't going to
do it. Elimination of the POW status is part of their overall plan to end
the POW issue. With no POW status, they will never again leave a POW
We're asking all who read this to contact their Senators
and Congressional Representative, informing them that the POW status has
been eliminated and state your opposition to this move by the Dept of
Defense. We're betting that most if not all Senators and Congressional
Representatives are unaware of this.
We've set up a web site listing all Senators and
Congressional Representatives along their addresses, phone and fax
numbers. There are also samples of two letters that you can download, to
send to your representatives. You can also adapt these letters to send to
your local newspapers. This issue needs to be brought to the attention of
all Veterans groups and the public at large.
We can't do it without you. For the list of Senators,
Congressional Representatives, and sample letters visit http//www.nationalalliance.org/powstatus.index.htm
Why Is This Important -
Neither International Law or the Geneva Conventions recognize the status
Missing/Captured. Our captured service personnel must be designated with a
status recognized by the International community and it's conventions.
Those of us involved in the POW/MIA issue have often
stated that one of our goals is to make sure that no POW is ever left
behind, again. With the elimination of the Prisoner of War status, the
Dept of Defense has taken care of that, the easy way. They simply
eliminated the designation/status Prisoners of War.
We're going to make the issue of the elimination of the
Prisoner of War designation/status a priority for 2005.
However, we can't do it alone. We need every POW/MIA and
Veterans Group and each individual to write the letters. Once the letters
are written, we need follow-up. We can not let the Dept of Defense strip
our captured service personnel of the designation/status POW and the legal
and moral protection that status implies.
A Little Late But Here It Comes
- In early 2000, we obtained a copy of DPMO briefing slides detailing long
range plans and goals. List among DPMO goals was the plan to
"Transition the accounting process from active operations to reactive
efforts triggered by new information by FYE 2004."
We created quite a stir with our statements that DPMO
was preparing to end recovery operations. DPMO even accused us of
spreading misinformation, until we posted the briefing slides on our web
site. Well, we are now in FYE 2005 and unfortunately more and more cases
are being categorized "No further Pursuit."
This past week we received an email from Chris Rich,
husband of Diane Moore. Diane is the daughter of confirmed POW, CMS Thomas
Moore. Chris informed us that DPMO is ready to declare this case "No
Thomas Moore, Samuel Adams, Charles Dursing and Jasper
Page were captured by the Viet Cong on October 31, 1965. Two days later,
on November 2nd, while being transferred to detention camp, the four
attempted escape. Only Page succeeded. When the war ended, the Vietnamese
government listed Moore, Adams and Dursing as having Died in Captivity.
In recent years investigations conducted led to
excavations in an attempt to recover remains. Unfortunately, the
excavations were unsuccessful.
There is no question that the three were Prisoners of
War. There is no question that the fully cooperating Vietnamese government
know what happened to these men. They admitted in 1973 that the three died
in their custody. Yet, they have failed to lead investigators to a
successful recovery of remains.
If cases of confirmed POWs are now being declared
"No Further Pursuit" what chances do other case have as we
approach the DPMO goal to "Transition the accounting process from
active operations to reactive efforts triggered by new information
A letter to President Bush is needed asking how we can
continually certify the Vietnamese government as "fully
cooperating" on the POW/MIA issue when they have failed to account
for men they admit died in their custody.
Candlelight Vigil - Friends
Working to Free Scott Speicher will mark the 14th year since the shootdown
with a Candlelight Vigil. The Vigil will be held on Monday, January 17th,
2005, at 730pm at Lake Shore United Methodist Church, 2246 Blanding
Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32210. The group will also remember PFC Matt
Maupin during the Vigil. Scheduled speakers include for MIA-C Ron Young,
(Who wants to tell Ron Young he was never a POW) and Carolyn & Keith
Maupin, parents of PFC Maupin.
If you are in the Jacksonville area, please come out and
show your support for Capt. Speicher and PFC Maupin, while remembering all
our POW/MIA's from World War II, Korea, the Cold War, and Vietnam.
For more information contact Georgia Davis at Georgiand@aol.com
If You Can't Make It to Jacksonville - Make a call to
the White House on Monday January 17th and let the President know we
haven't forgotten Scott Speicher. Call the White House Comment Line at
202-456-1111 between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM EST.