Remains found 03/84 boat deck SR 29

Name: Raymond D. Miller
Rank/Branch: Civilian
Unit: Glomar Java Sea, Subsea International Inc., diving supervisor
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 25 October 1983
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates:
Status (in 1973):
Refno: 5001

Personnel in Incident: Herman Arms; Jerald T. Battiste; Sebe M. Bracey; Patrick
B. Cates; Wei Chen; Xiong Chen; Shu Guo Cheng; Jacob K. J. Chong; David P.
Clifton; James F. Cusick; Thomas J. Dixon; Shao Jien Feng; Jerald J. Flanagan;
Nigel Furness; Leonard E. Ganzinotti; La Juan A. Gilmore; Henry M. Gittings;
James K. Gittings; Terance C. Green; Jun Tian Guan; David Higgins, Jr.; Tyronne
Higgins; Hong Xi Huang; Rui Wen Huang; Yong Liang Huang; Timothy Jarvis; John W.
Jennings Jr.; Thomas J. Kofahl; Fan Xiang Kong; Guo Zhen Lai; John W. Lawrence;
Tong L. T. Lee; Chong Chang Li; Xuan Qiu Li; Zhan Jun Liang; Jie Feng Lin; Bing
Guang Liu; Edgar S. Lim; Gary Looke; Robert M. McCurry; Jerry L. Manfrida;
Raymond D. Miller; Xie Yi Mo; Tian Xue Mo; Kenneth W. Myers; Larry K. Myers;
Donald J. Ouellet; John D. Pierce; Peter Popiel; Clarence Reed; Jewell J.
Reynolds; E.J. Russell Reynolds; Walter T. Robinson; Kenneth B. Rogers; Lawrence
M. Salzwedel; William R. Schug; Richard E. Shoff; Christopher J. Sleeman; Delmar
A. Spencer; George G. Sullivan; Chong Jian Sun; Gustaf F. Swanson; Kevin C.
Swanson; Guo Dong Tang; Michael W. Thomas; Jiang Wang; Yu Fang Wang; Dong Cai
Wang; Guo Rong Wu; jing Sheng Xia; Xing Xing; Hui Xu; Ming Rui Xu; Mua Guang
Yuan; Xing Zhen Zhang; Yi Hua Zhang; Ji Chang Zhen; Shu Rong Zhou; Yao Wu Zhou;
Jie Fang Zhou; Da Huai Zhu.

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 10 December 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.


SYNOPSIS: The 5,930-ton American drilling ship, "Glomar Java Sea" was owned by
Global Marine of Houston, Texas, and leased to Atlantic Richfield Company
(ARCO). In the fall of 1983, the vessel was on duty about 200 miles east of the
Vietnamese coast. The ship was drilling for oil in the South China Sea in a
joint venture of ARCO and China Naitonal Offshore Oil Corporation, a state-owned

The "Glomar Java Sea" is a sister ship of the "Glomar Explorer," which, under
the guise of being utilized by the late Howard Hughes in a deep sea mining
operation in the Paficic, was really being used by the CIA and Navy in a $350
million project to retrieve a sunken Soviet Golf-class submarine. A large part
of the submarine was in fact recovered in 1974 before details of the project
were publicly revealed.

The Glomar Java Sea, with its crew of 81, began drilling operations on January
9, 1983 and was the first American wildcat operaton off the Chinese coast. On
October 25, 1983, the vessel was sunk during Typhoon Lex.

Documents removed from the ship by a crewman before the disaster indicate that
the vessel was being shadowed by armed Vietnamese naval craft and that there
were submarine mines beneath the "Glomar Java Sea," placed there and retrievable
by its crew. Another document indicates that the ship was damaged prior ot the
typhoon when a Chinese supply boat rammed into its side, causing some $320,000
damage to the vessel. The Glomar Java Sea did not leave its post for repairs.

Communications between ARCO and Global Marine, as well as telegraphic and radio
communications of the U.S. Western Pacific Rescue Coordination Center (WESTPAC)
reveal information about the search for the crew of the Glomar Java Sea.

The documents indicate that a number of survivors from the stricken vessel were
floundering in the water off the coast of Vietnam for hours after the disaster.
There is also indication that the men were picked up by Vietnamese coastal
patrols and are held captive of the Hanoi regime.

The crew of the Glomar Java Sea included 37 Americans, 35 Chinese, four British,
two Singaporeans, one Filipino, one Australian, and one Canadian.

From a transcript of a radio communicaton between WESTPAC and Global Marine on
October 28, three days after the sinking, WESTPAC was told:  "We are informed
that the SOS transmission could not have been transmitted except by human
operators..." There were two 64-man lifeboats aboard the drilling ship, plus
smaller lifeboats.

In an October 29 communicaton from WESTPAC to Global Marine, it is clearly
stated that five strobe lights were sighted by rescue aircraft in the vicinity
of 17-30 North 107-45 East. The aircraft were dispatched to the area because
strobe lights had been previously sighted. Lifejackets from the Glomar Java Sea
were equipped with strobe lights to signal rescuers.

Another October 29 communication between ARCO and Global Marine states that
ARCO's search aircraft had spotted survivors in the water at 17.27 North 107.54
East, and had attempted to divert surface vessels to this location. The
communication expressed the urgency to rescue the men before dark.

At 8:01 a.m. on October 29, ARCO had dropped a rescue raft to survivors.  Pickup
would be delayed for several hours, but the "Salvanquish," a Singapore-based
salvage ship, was within one half-mile of the site.

At 8:38 a.m search aircraft reported pinpointing the survivors' positions by dye
markers released by the survivors into the water. Two survivors were confirmed
with a possible third some distance away. Plans were also made to return to the
downed vessell to offlift survivors.

Another document shows that on nine different occasions radio transmissions were
picked up from a lifeboat. They ranged from "very strong" to "weak" with most
being described as "strong."

Inexplicably, despite the successful search, no rescue was made of the
survivors. Later that day, the Chinese Navy picked up a Vietnamese broadcast
reporting that the Vietnamese had sighted a lifeboat near their coast. The
location of the lifeboat was not confirmed by friendly search parties.

ARCO-Global Marine determined that this sighting was in the vicinity of Hon Gio
Island, located about 80 miles up the Vietnamese coast from the old U.S. base at
Da Nang and about 14 miles offshore, which placed it in Vietnamese territorial
waters. It appears that rescue craft were hampered in fully investigating the
report due to its location and the hint of possible interference by the
Vietnamese military.

It is likely that survivors would have been picked up by the Vietnamese if they
had in fact drifted within Vietnam's territory.

In the years following the loss of the Glomar Java Sea, a number of reports, all
unconfirmed by the U.S., indicate that survivors were seen in captivity in
Vietnam. It is known that the Vietnamese had shown a hostile interest in the
vessel, and the Glomar Java Sea had standing orders to be alert for Vietnamese
vessels in the area. The Chinese Navy served as protection for the vessel and
stood ready to take action should Vietnamese craft wander too close. The waters
below the vessel were mined.

A month after the Glomar Java Sea went down, Chinese divers went down to the
wreckage and went through the ship with a video cameras.

In March 1984, American divers were able to retrieve 31 bodies from the sunken
vessel. Fifteen of the bodies were identified as Americans. In addition, three
British and one Singaporean were identified. The bodies of another American and
two Chinese were tentatively identified. Divers photographed two bodies they
were unable to retrieve. They also found one of the Chinese divers that had
explored the wreckage in November 1983, lashed to the deck of the ship.

The American divers determined that one of the ship's large lifeboats was
launched and that an attempt had been made to launch another. Their film was
seen by the mother of one of the lost crewmen. She reported that the crack in
the hull of the ship at one point was a hole 48 inches across, which was
punctured inward, "as though the rig had been hit by something that exploded."
This fueled additional speculation that the vessel had, in fact, been attacked
rather that simply mortally damaged by the typhoon.

The National Transportaton Safety Board officially determined in November 1984
that an "unexplained crack" in the hull of the Glomar Java Sea was responsible
for its sinking during the typhoon. Apparently, the crack in the hull allowed
two storage tanks to fill with water, causing the vessel to become off-balanced,
making it vulnerable to the forces of the typhoon. Officials believed it was
possible that survivors may have been able to abandon the ship before it sank.
It was determined that the ship had been improperly prepared for the storm.

During 1984, there were reports from Southeast Asia that between six and twelve
survivors of the Glomar Java Sea were being held in prisoner of war camps in
Vietnam. One of the survivors was identified by a Vietnamese refugee as American
crewman John Pierce.

Douglas F. Pierce, father of John Pierce, reported that the refugee had seen his
son, five other Americans and eight Chinese when they were brought into a prison
in Da Nang, where the refugee was being held. John Pierce gave the refugee his
father's business card and two sticks of gum.

Mr. Pierce gave the information to Defense Intelligence Agency who determined
that the refugee had not been in the camp at all, but had received the business
card by mail from a friend, not directly from Pierce. DIA further determined
that the incident had occurred in late October 1983 (shortly after the Glomar
Java Sea went down). The refugee gave Mr. Pierce the original letter, which
contained the names and addresses of two mutual Vietnamese friends.

No followup was conducted on the two names in the letter by DIA, and DIA
discounted the information provided by the refugee. It was not until 1990 that
it became apparent that the Defense Department felt no responsibility for the
Americans lost on the Glomar Java Sea. At that time, DIA reported that the
responsibility for these civilians belonged to the U.S. State Department.

Mr. Pierce did not stop there. He uncovered a U.S. State Department document
that revealed that Cheng Quihong, the secretary and wife of the Director of
China's Visa Office, was overheard telling her companion at a Hong Kong dinner
that survivors from the Glomar had been picked up and were held by the

Pierce also learned that a JCRC report sent to DIA dated November 6, 1984,
reported that a former prisoner from Pleiku prison had been held with a Chinese
man who claimed to have been off the Glomar. The man said he was one of three
men who were captured, and that the other two were Americans.

Pierce adds that to his knowledge, neither of these reports were followed up by
U.S. officials, and Pierce has received no reply to his queries regarding them.

In 1989 a Japanese monk named Yoshida was released from prison after being held
for years by the Vietnamese. Yoshida was shown a photograph of John Pierce and
stated that Pierce looked very familiar, and that he had either seen him or
someone who looked very much like him.

In November, 1990, Vietamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach traveled to the
U.S. and spoke with U.S. officials on a variety of matters. At this time, he
announced that there was a black American named Walter T. Robinson living
illegally in Vietnam, and invited U.S. representatives to come and help find
him. Thach provided a social security number and two photographs.

The Pentagon told "The Washington Times" that the two photographs of Robinson
provided by Thach are of a black man. However, the Pentagon has since admitted
that the photos "are not very well developed" and appear to be of either a black
man or a dark Asian. Photocopies of old newspaper articles concerning Robinson,
obtained by Homecoming II, show a dark-haired man of relatively dark complexion.

The Pentagon has not released the photographs to the press.

The Defense Department determined that Walter T. Robinson had never been listed
as missing in Vietnam. Thach had provided a social security number, and
according to DOD, this information correlated to a white American living in the
Midwest. They concluded that the Thach information, therefore, was in error.

Later information indicated that a Walter T. Robinson was listed on the crew
roster of the Glomar Java Sea. When queried, the Defense Department reported
that they were aware of this Robinson, but that civilians were the
responsibility of the State Department.

It seems apparent that the U.S. is not vigorously looking for the men missing
from the Glomar Java Sea, and that like the missing and prisoners who served in
military and civilian capacities during the Vietnam war, they have been