2013 - American POWs Kept Behind After the Korean War What Happened to Them?

We recently found this Air Force film. Much of it appears to be from early in the war. Our friends at the National Alliance of Families and Coalition of Families (see lower left of this page), two leading POW/MIA groups, say they've never seen this film.

If you can identify any of these men, or have details about this film, please email: investigator (at)

We're also interested in whether DPMO, the Pentagon POW office, has this film and what if anything they've done to investigate it. See the full version below.



North Korea Also Kept Many South Korean POWs:

Some Have Escaped in Recent Years --
Click Here for Info

New: The 1979 Disappearance of PFC Roy Chung -- Is This Newly Released State Department Report About Him?

KPOWS needs your here

New: Ghost Pilots & Mystery Aircraft of the Korean War
What is the Government Doing to Recover American Pilots Taken by the Soviets?
Did the Soviet Union Secretly Fly US Jets Against American Forces During the War?
Click the  here to see the report, documents, video and pictures of selected Air Force pilots at our sister site: Korean Confidential

Don't miss the new Zimmerlee Report -- click here!

Read about Bob Dumas, Korean War vet, and his 60 year search for his POW/MIA brother Roger at Find out more from the documentary about Roger and America's other 8,000+ POW/MIAs from Korea:

How Do We Know the Communists Kept American Prisoners After Korea?

Numerous US intelligence reports during and after the war -- from Soviet officers to refugees -- documented the movement of American POWs out of North Korea to China and the Soviet Union. For example, Army intelligence confirmed and monitored secret prison camps in China -- no Americans returned from them. Hundreds of prisoners held in North Korean camps the communists did acknowledge -- such as Sgt. Richard Desautels, above -- were not released at the end of the war. In the years since, information about their survival in Russia, China and North Korea has continued to emerge.
The General in Charge Admitted US POWs Were Kept Back

"I was in a quandry. The question to me was, 'How do you get these people back without pointing a gun at the communists?' When you have no gun threatening the Reds, there is no way to demand and enforce compliance from them," said General Mark Clark, Commander-in-Chief of UN and US forces, seen here signing the truce that ended the Korean War.

The Pentagon Wanted Covert Action to Recover Them After the War

The US Government Asked Moscow to Give Them Back


So Why Isn't the US Government Doing More to Find These Lost Heroes?

By 1955, the US government had in large part determined it could never recover the lost men. "The problem becomes almost a philosophical one," concluded a then-classified 1955 Pentagon memo. "If we are "at war," cold, hot or otherwise, casualties and losses must be expected and perhaps we must learn to live with this sort of thing. If we are in for fifty years of peripheral "fire fights" we may be forced to adopt a rather cynical attitude on this (the POWs) for the political reasons."¯

Today's Pentagon POW/MIA effort focuses mostly on recovering remains of those known killed since WWII, an important task it does well. This involves determining where to look for the remains of missing (almost always those our former enemies claim were killed in battle during the war) and then recovering and identifying them.

There is no appetite for a relentless effort to trace those men known to have been kept after Korea. The Pentagon can expect no real help from the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans. And there is no pressure from the White House or Congress.

Imagine what the American leaders of 1953, not to mention the prisoners and their families, would think, especially given the cordial relations America has granted Beijing and Moscow, and the very food to keep alive many North Koreans, without ever requiring the truth about our lost heroes.

Declassified U.S. government records and other intelligence demonstrate that -- despite decades of official denials from both sides -- the communists secretly held U.S. prisoners during and after the war. Reports continued of their survival in North Korea, China and the Soviet Union following the war. What happened to them? The U.S. government owes these brave men and their families a relentless, high-priority effort to uncover the truth.

Take Sgt. Richard Desautels (picture at top). A known POW in a North Korean camp, he feared his Chinese captors would keep him, telling a fellow U.S. prisoner: "(I)f he should disappear to make inquires concerning his whereabouts with the proper military authorities...." When asked by America what happened to him, the Chinese in 1956 claimed he'd "escaped" during the war (they said the same about another GI who was a double amputee). For decades both China and the Pentagon insisted there was no evidence Sgt. Desautels had been secretly shipped to China.

Examples of the attitudes of the Pentagon and Chinese (the Russians have been little better): In 1990, Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Rear Admiral Ronald Marryott provided a written statement to Congress concerning American prisoners in North Korea that stated "there are no intelligence indicators that U.S. personnel from the Korean conflict were not returned to U.S. control at the end of the war." He went on to state that the Soviet Union and China had also been under intense US intelligence scrutiny for many decades. "I believe this scrutiny would have likewise revealed at least a hint of American prisoners held in either country had they been taken there. Again, no such evidence has ever surfaced,"¯ he stated. He was in sync with the Chinese government, which in 1992 claimed: "The Chinese side settled the issue of American prisoners of the Korean War long ago…None of the POWs under Chinese control was transferred to a third country or to the Chinese territory."

Then in 2003, Beijing admitted he'd been taken, but said he'd soon died of "mental illness" and China had lost his body (coincidentally, in a place wartime U.S. intelligence indicated was a trans-shipment point to Siberia.) Beijing even conceded it still had a classified file on the Sgt. But the Pentagon has failed to get that file or the full story about Desautels -- or hundreds of other Americans reported to have suffered similar fates.


Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2009 6:09 PM
Subject: Military Personnel Subcommittee / POW/MIA

Thursday, April 2, 2009     2:00pm       2212 Rayburn     – Open

The Military Personnel Subcommittee will meet to receive testimony on improving recovery and full accounting of POW/MIA personnel from all past conflicts.

·         Subcommittee Chairwoman Davis’ Opening Statement

·         Video Webcast Part 2 Part 3


Panel 1:

Mr. Michael H. Wysong (pdf)
Director of National Security and Foreign Affairs

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Mr. Philip D. Riley (pdf)

National Security and Foreign Relations
The American Legion

Ms. Ann Mills Griffiths (pdf)

Executive Director

National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia

Ms. Lisa Phillips (pdf)
WWII Families for the Return of the Missing

Ms. Lynn O’Shea (pdf)

Director of Research
National Alliance of Families

Mr. Frank Metersky (pdf)
Washington Liaison
Korea Cold War Families of the Missing

Ms. Robin Piacine (pdf)

Coalition of Families of Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs

Mr. Ron Broward (pdf)

POW/MIA Advocate

Panel 2:

The Honorable Charles A. Ray (pdf)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs

U.S. Department of Defense

Rear Admiral Donna L. Crisp, USN (pdf)

Commander, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

            U.S. Department of Defense

McCain and the POW Cover-up

The "war hero" candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam

Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. This is an expanded version, with primary documents attached, of a story that appears in the October 6, 2008 issue of The Nation.

By Sydney H. Schanberg
September 18, 2008

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books. .....

"There is evidence; moreover, that indicates the possibility of survival, at least for a small number, after Operation Homecoming."

This one sentence has always struck us as rather abstract, giving the impression that the Committee's conclusion was based on the overwhelming body of evidence but without specific information on individual servicemen. This has left us wondering and asking over the years, what is a small number? We recently learned the answer to our question. The small number is…


BOOK REVIEW - A must read
Vietnam POW/MIAs: An Enormous Conundrum

The Conservative Voice - Kernersville , NC , USA
An Enormous Crime: The Definitive Account of American POWs

Abandoned in Southeast Asia, by Bill Hendon and Elizabeth A. Stewart

(Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press)

In the Twentieth Century the United States fought three wars in Asia: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In all three, thousands of Americans were captured and became prisoners.

The fate of live American POWs in World War II was comparatively easy to establish, because the Japanese were vanquished, they surrendered unconditionally, and virtually all the territory they had occupied came under American or allied control. After the surrender, there were few, if any, places the Japanese could hide live American prisoners of war, nor any reason they would want to........  

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW  -   Vietnam POW/MIAs: An Enormous Conundrum

Verbatim Transcript
July 10, 2008
House of Representatives
Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Military Personnel
Committee Hearing

Special Study: Southeast Asia/POW-MIA Affairs

Standard Report 22JUN92.pdf
Standard Report 23AUG92.pdf
Standard Report 26OCT92.pdf
Standard Report 14AUG92.pdf
Standard Report 18DEC92.pdf
Vietnam's Last Known Alive
The Mooney documents
POWs and Politics - What Hanoi Knows
Russian Memoirs