POW-MIA
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POW-MIA RibbonThis page was last updated 19 January 2016.


You should be listening to Britt Small & Festival performing "Captured Eagles" dedicated to our POW-MIAs. I believe at least some of our POW-MIAs are still alive and being held in foreign lands against their will. I pray they will come home soon.


POW-MIA Flag


Throughout my life I have met many people along the way. Some of them were Prisoners-of-War (POW) while others are family members of those men and women who are still listed as Missing-in-Action (MIA).

Last year's National POW-MIA Day was 16 September 2011!

Pure History: Prisoners Of War Betrayed A good documentary on Hulu.com.

One of the women I have met in the past few years as I traversed back and forth through Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri is Diane (Kuhn) Nicholson. She wrote a lovely poem entitled ONE AMERICAN LIFE on 8 May 2003 and I have her permission to post it here. I hope you like it too:

ONE AMERICAN LIFE

On the nightly news, broadcast from faraway places

I see a platoon of American faces.

In the back of my mind I imagine each one

I wonder about their families and the burdens they bear

I can't help but consider the cost of freedom is...

ONE AMERICAN LIFE

He's the boy next door with the twinkle in his eye

The hometown hero who caught the game-winning fly

In the middle of the desert his courage was tested

He saved his company, but he paid the price, he's...

ONE AMERICAN LIFE

She was the girl from church that everyone loved

She had the voice of an angel; a special gift from above

Her mama's pride and her daddy's joy

Its hard to envision what she must have endured, she's...

ONE AMERICAN LIFE

He was a daddy to three

Loving husband to Marie

He was the gunny sergeant that taught the ways of the war

And he gave his life for them on a distant shore.  He's...

ONE AMERICAN LIFE

There isn't a community that hasn't been touched by a war

Don’t take for granted the liberty you enjoy.

Freedom isn't free; the cost is oh, so high...

ONE AMERICAN LIFE

NEW BOOK AND DOCUMENTARY!

An Enormous Crime: The Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia (Hardcover)
by Bill Herndon and Elizabeth Stewart is now available.
I remember meeting Bill in DC back in 1989 (I think) and listening to him speak about his research into this topic. I'm glad his book has finally been published. It is described as: 

The dramatic history of living American soldiers left in Vietnam, and the first full account of the circumstances that left them there

 

 

 


 

A new documentary is also available at Missing Presumed Dead which everyone should see! It is about Bill Dumas's search for his brother Roger--MIA since Korea.

 

 

 

 

LIBYA

Four reporters were reported to be captured in Libya on Tuesday 5 April 2011. Among them were Americans Clare Morgana Gillis, 34, from New Haven, CT who works for The Atlantic and USA Today and James Foley, 37, from Rochester, NH who works for GlobalPost. Manu Brabo a Spanish photographer and Anton Hammerl a South African photographer were also detained. Clare was detained while working on the story of the Libyan uprising. She was taken outside Brega in eastern Libya but then transported to Surte and then to a women's civilian jail in Tripoli. She communicated with James and Manu through empty electric outlets until she was separated from the men. Anton was not with the other three journalists at all. As of 21 April, Clare finally spoke with her parents saying she was alive and well but wearing pink pajamas in the women's prison where most of the women only spoke Arabic. The journalists were released on 18 May.

       

 

ENDURING FREEDOM

The Department of Defense announced the death of a sailor and the identity of another sailor listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN).  The announcement resulted from a July 23 incident in Logar province, Afghanistan, while the sailors were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom-- 

Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley, 30, of Wheatridge, Colo., died from wounds sustained from the July 23 incident.  Coalition Forces recovered his body July 25 after an extensive search. He was a Hull Maintenance 2nd Class Naval Reservist assigned to Assault Craft Unit One (ACU-1), San Diego.

 

 

 

 

 

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, 25, of Renton, Wash., is listed as DUSTWUN from the July 23 incident. He is a  Naval Reserve Culinary Specialist 3rd Class. Search and recovery efforts are ongoing, and the incident is under investigation. Sadly his body was found by US military personnel on Wednesday 28 July 10 in Yousuf Khiel! Unknown at this time exactly how he died.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA PFC Bowe R Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, ID was captured on 3 July 2009 by the Taliban. He is a member of 1st Bn, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, AK. Video has been aired of him and everyone hopes he can be returned home safely. Another video of him was released just before Christmas 2009 but it was unknown as to when it was made or if he is still alive. This article Bowe Bergdahl: Taliban claim captured U.S. solider is teaching fighters bomb-making skills has made the internet! A video has surfaced Bowe Bergdahl Alive! Video of US soldier held by Taliban for 18 months! Bowe was released during a prisoner exchange in May 2014! He was taken to Germany then onto the US where he remained hospitalized until he requested to be returned to active duty. He is under investigation as to his capture. It has been announced that he will be charged with desertion and have a court martial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STILL MIA--American civilian Cyd Mizell, 49, from Atlee, VA was taken hostage on 26 January 2008. She was working for the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation in Kandahar, Afghanistan at the time of her abduction. Fluent in the local language and culture Cyd taught English at Kandahar University and gave embroidery lessons at a girl's school. It is hoped that she will be released soon.

 

 

 

 

IRAQI FREEDOM

I was quite surprised to see that DoD has announced a missing civilian. Issa T Salomi, 60, of El Cajon, CA has been unaccounted for since 23 January 2010. He was last seen in Baghdad where he is assigned to the US Forces, Iraq. He is listed as Excused Absence Whereabouts Unknown (EAWUN) while supporting OIF. Issa returned to the US Embassy.

Sadly I had to report that the remains of SPC Alex R Jimenez and PVT Byron Fouty were found and identified. Their status was changed on 10 July 2008 from missing to deceased. Three Americans were taken hostage on 12 May 2007. They were members of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. Although PFC Joseph J Anzack Jr's body was later found his two buddies were missing until recently: (L-R) SPC Alex R Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, MA and PVT Byron W Fouty, 19, of Waterford, MI. While funerals were held in their hometowns--their remains were buried together in Arlington National Cemetery.

       

 

Deceased--US Army translator SSG Ahmed K Qusai Altaie, 41, became missing on 24 October 2006 while visiting his wife's family in Baghdad. He remained MIA although reports claimed he was alive no one had been able to locate him even with a reward being offered for him. His remains were located and identified on 25 Feb 12.  From Ann Arbor, MI he had been assigned to the Provincial Reconstruction Team, Divisional Training Center, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, TX.

 

 

 

 

CIVILIAN Jill Carroll, 28, was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group on Thursday 30 March 2006. She was later turned over to the Americans and was believed to be in the heavily fortified Green Zone. She has since returned to the US and her family. The most recent war in Iraq produced POW-MIAs just like all our other wars. Jill, originally from the Ann Arbor, MI region is a freelance journalist reporting for the Christian Science Monitor. She was abducted on 7 January 2006 after an interview she went on in Baghdad turned out to be a hoax. Although she is fluent in Arabic she traveled with an Iraqi translator who was killed on the spot while her driver managed to get away. Jill was in Iraq reporting on the Iraqi people themselves rather than the war. She had graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1999 with a degree in journalism. Jill is the 36th journalist to be kidnapped since April 2004 and the first American woman. Her parents, James and Mary Carroll of Ann Arbor, MI and her twin sister, Katie, had been praying for her safe return. Their prayers were answered!

 

 

Sadly I have to report that the remains of POW-MIA SSG Keith "Matt" Maupin of Batavia, OH were found and identified through DNA. Matt was a PFC with the Army Reserve's 724th Transportation Company from Bartonville, IL serving in Iraq when he was captured on 9 Apr 04. Though past media reports have stated that he was killed by his captors--his remains were not located until the week of 24 Mar 08 and his family was notified on Sunday afternoon 30 Mar 08 by a three-star general that his remains were in fact identified. There is an article What Happened To Matt Maupin? -- Feb. 21, 2005 that can be found in the Time magazine online. Many reports are currently online about his life and death. Matt graduated from Glen Este High School, east of Cincinatti, OH, in 2001 and attended the University of Cincinatti for a year before he enlisted in the Army Reserve. Many thoughts and prayers are with his parents Keith and Carolyn Maupin at this time. Hundreds of people from across the nation attended his funeral. Christina Sharik--an Army Mom--wrote the following poem--and I'd like to thank her for letting me post it here--

 

 

 

IN MEMORY OF MATT MAUPIN

 Yellow ribbons

wave and flutter

while wind-laced rains 

spit and stutter ~

Those of us who kept you

close in prayer,

and those of us who

hoped you would come

home from there,

feel numb.

 

This dark night, I

have sent a prayer

heavenward for you ~

though I know you are

with angels

and your suffering is

through.....

 

I have said a prayer

for your family,

your sad father and

your grieving mother

You were everyone’s

loved one,

everyone’s son or brother.....

 

Rest easy, now

You were one of the best.

You’re mission is over

Just rest, just rest.

 

But this time history was made once again. Among those captured or missing were three women: (L-R) PFC Jessica Lynch, PFC Lori Piestewa and SPC Shoshana Johnson.

 

               

As members of the ill-fated 507th Maintenance Company out of Fort Bliss, TX they were ambushed on 23 March 2003 outside Nasariyah. Jessica was rescued by a Special Operations team on 1 April becoming the first American POW to be rescued. That same night the team found the remains of other 507th members among them was Lori--the first Native American female Hopi Indian to be killed in action. AND on 13 April, Shoshana was found alive along with four others from the 507th (SPC Joseph Hudson, SPC Edgar Hernandez, SGT James Riley and PFC Patrick Miller) and 2 helicopter pilots (CWO2 Ronald Young Jr. and CWO2 David Williams) from the 227th Aviation Rgt. from Fort Hood, TX.

A lot has been written about Jessica but something which didn't get a lot of coverage was her promise to Lori whom she roomed with both at Ft Bliss and through their journey into the desert of Kuwait and Iraq. That promise was that if anything happened to either of them--the survivor would do everything possible to take care of the other's family. Jessica kept her promise! She was in constant contact with the Piestewa family in Tuba City, AZ. In 2005 Jessica helped arrange for them to get a brand new home with the help of the ABC-TV program "Extreme Home Makeover" with Ty Pennington and his amazing crew. The crew not only built a new home for Lori's family in nearby Flagstaff but they also constructed a Native American Cultural Center in Tuba City to honor all the Native American men and women who have served our country.

On Friday 19 January 2007 Jessica gave birth to a 7 pound baby girl! She named the baby Dakota Ann Robinson in honor of her fallen friend Lori Piestewa's Native American heritage. Dakota means friendship or ally and Ann was Lori's middle name. Considering what Jessica went through since March 2003 it was a miracle that she even got pregnant--CONGRATS to Jessica and Wes Robinson!

GULF WAR

During the Gulf War (Operation Desert Shield/Storm/Victory) 1990-1991 quite a few Americans were POWs including two women: (L-R) MAJ Rhonda Cornum--now a BG and SPC Melissa Rathbun-Neely. Although I never met either one of these women I have read Rhonda's excellent  book She Went To War about her time in captivity.

   

 

On 2 August 2009 the DoD announced that remains were found in Al Anbar Province and positively identified as those of CPT Michael Scott Speicher (photos below)! Full military burial took place in Jacksonville, FL. He had been listed as MIA from the Gulf War and 15 others who are listed as Killed in Action/ Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR). I suggest that you visit Tribute to LCDR Michael Speicher, USN POW/MIA to learn more about this case. Another site set up to keep the pressure on for Scott coulld be found by going to Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher - Saturday, October 9, 2004.

               

 

VIETNAM

JACK RITTICHIER finally came home from Vietnam. He was positively identified and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 6 October 2003 on Coast Guard Hill!

Several women were listed as POW-MIA during the long Vietnam War. They were Elizabeth "Betty" Ann Olsen, Eleanor Ardel Vietti, Evelyn Anderson and Beatrice Kosin. BUT because they were American civilians they didn't get much coverage except by those of us who REALLY care about this issue!

One of the former POWs I met is Theodore "Ted" Gostas. I'm surprised that more people don't know about him but he has kept a rather low-profile since returning on the Freedom Bird in January 1973 during Operation Homecoming. Ted was held in the Hanoi Hilton Prison and kept in solitary confinement almost the entire time he was there.

As I said I have met many family members of POW-MIAs. One such couple heads Task Force Omega. Colonel Earl and Patty (Skelly) Hopper Sr lead the quest to have our POW-MIAs accounted for. While I had known about them for a number of years I didn't meet them until 1993 for the first time. Patty was not married to Earl during the war but came to know him through his efforts to find his son Lieutenant Colonel Earl Hopper Jr. Remains were found many years later and identified as being LTC Hopper Jr--he was buried by his father who died a couple of years ago. Photo donated by COL Earl Hopper. Patty still runs Task Force Omega, Inc. and is heavily involved with researching all information about the men and women listed as POW-MIA who have yet to return from Vietnam as well as other wars. Please visit this important site.

 

 

 

KOREA

Not too long ago a gentleman sent me some photos. Willard Adams was a Navy Third Class Radioman aboard the USS Repose 1953-1954. He wanted to share some photos he had taken on the day some American POWs were repatriated and boarded his ship in September 1953. The photo on the left is of some enlisted men while the photo on the right is on some officers. If you recognize any of these men please contact  me or Willard directly.

       

 

World War II

WWII Military Nurse POWs--this listing was provided to me by Diane Fessler from Phoenix:

Navy Nurse Corps Prisoners of War in the Philippines December 1941 to February 1945

1.      Chief Nurse Laura Mae Cobb, Wichita, Kansas

2.      Mary F. Chapman, Chicago, Illinois

3.      Bertha R. Evans, Portland, Oregon

4.      Helen C. Gorzelanski, Omaha, Nebraska

5.      Mary Rose Harrington, Elk Point, South Dakota

6.      Margaret "Peg" A. Nash, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

7.      Goldia  A. O'Haver, Hayfield, Minnesota

8.      Eldene E. Paige, Lomita, California

9.      Susie J. Pitcher, Des Moines, Iowa

10.  Dorothy Still, Long Beach, California

11.  Edwina Todd, Pomona, California

Army Nurse Corps Prisoners of War in the Philippines December 1941 to February 1945

1.      Chief Nurse Maude Campbell Davison, Washington, D.C.

2.      Mina A. Aasen, Minot, North Dakota

3.      Louise M. Anschicks, Mendota, Illinois

4.      Phyllis J. Arnold, Minneapolis, Minnesota

5.      Agnes D. Barre, Orange, Texas

6.      Clara Mae  Bickford, Tivoli, Texas

7.      Earlyn  Black, Groesbeck, Texas

8.      Ethel "Sally" L. Blaine, Bible Grove, Missouri

9.      Ruby G. Bradley, Spencer, West Virginia

10.  Hattie R. Brantley, Jefferson, Texas

11.  Minnie L. Breese, Arlington Heights, Illinois

12.  Myra V. Burris, San Antonio, Texas

13.  Helen  Cassiani, Bridgewater, Massachusetts

14.  Beatrice E. Chambers, Manila, Philippine Islands

15.  Edith M. Corns, Cleveland, Ohio

16.  Mildred  Dalton, Jefferson, Georgia

17.  Kathyrn L. Dollason, Augusta, Georgia

18.  Sallie P. Durrett, Louisville, Kentucky

19.  Bertha "Charlie" Dworsky, Halletsville, Texas

20.  Dorcas E. Easterling, Abbot, Texas

21.  Magdalena Eckman, Pine Grove, California

22.  Eula R. Fails, Houston, Texas

23.  Adele F. Foreman, Masten, Pennsylvania

24.  Earleen Allen Francis, Chicago, Illinois

25.  Helen L. Gardner, Aberdeen, Ohio

26.  Eleanor Mae Garen, South Bend, Indiana

27.  Marcia L. Gates, Janesville, Wisconsin

28.  Beulah M. "Peggy" Greenwalt, Seattle, Washington

29.  Alice J. Hahn, Chicago, Illinois

30.  Helen M. Hennessey, Leavenworth, Kansas

31.  Gwendolyn L. Henshaw, Los Angeles, California

32.  Verna V. Henson, Trinity, Texas

33.  Rosemary Hogan, Chattanooga, Oklahoma

34.  Geneva Jenkins, Sevierville, Tennessee

35.  Doris A. Kehoe, Pacific Grove, California

36.  Imogene "Jeanne" Kennedy, Philadelphia, Mississippi

37.  Blanche Kimball, Topeka, Kansas

38.  Eleanor O. Lee, Lonaconing, Maryland

39.  Frankie T. Lewey, Dalhart, Texas

40.  Dorothy L. Ludlow, Little Rock, Arkansas

41.  Inez V. McDonald, Tupelo, Mississippi

42.  Letha McHale, Haverhill, Massachusetts

43.  Winifred P. Madden, Montello, Wisconsin

44.  Gladys Ann Mealor, Gorgas, Alabama

45.  Mary Brown Menzie, New Orleans, Louisiana

46.  Adolpha M. Meyer, St. Louis, Missouri

47.  Clara L. Mueller, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

48.  Frances Louise Nash, Washington, Georgia

49.  Josephine May  Nesbit, Parlin, Colorado

50.  Mary J. Oberst, Owensboro, Kentucky

51.  Eleanor "Peg" O'Neill, Providence, Rhode Island

52.  Rita G. Palmer, Hampton, New Hampshire

53.  Beulah M. Putnam, Worthington, Ohio

54.  Mary J. Reppak, Shelton, Connecticut

55.  Rose F. Rieper, St. Louis, Missouri

56.  Dorothy Scholl, Independence, Missouri

57.  Edith E.  Shacklette, Brandenberg, Kentucky

58.  Ruth M. Stoltz, Dayton, Ohio

59.  Ethel M. Thor, Tacoma, Washington

60.  Madeline M. Ullom, O'Neill, Nebraska

61.  Evelyn B. Whitlow, Leasburg, North Carolina

62.  Anna E. Williams, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

63.  Edith M. Wimberly, Campti, Louisiana

64.  Anne B. Wurts, Leominster, Massachusetts

65.  Eunice F. Young, Arkport, New York

66.  Alice M.  Zwicker, Brownville, Maine

Other Women Imprisoned with the Army Nurses in the Philippines 1942 to 1945

1.      Marie Adams, field director for the American Red Cross

2.      Brunetta Kuehlthau, army physical therapist

3.      Ruby Motley, army dietitian

4.      Vivian Weisblatt, civilian dietitian

5.      Maude "Denny" Denson Williams, nurse-anesthetist. Member of the Army Nurse Corps before and after the war.

Navy Nurse Corps POWs captured in Guam December 1941 to August 1942

1.      Chief Nurse  Marion Olds

2.      Lorraine Christiansen

3.      Virginia Fogarty

4.       Leona Jackson

5.       Doris M. Yetter

Army Air Force Nurse POW captured  in Germany 27 September 1944 to January 1945

            1.    1LT Reba Z. Whittle, 24 at the time, captured with five men when the plane they were on was shot out of the sky. They were held in Aachen until 1 October when German soldiers moved them to a prison camp. Five days later she was sent to Stalag 9C in Meiningen where she worked in the hospital taking care of other POWs. Swiss personnel found her there and negotiated her release along with 109 male POWs. She was eventually flown back to the US where she continued to serve until 13 January 46. Her status as a POW was undocumented by the US military thus she was ordered by the Army not to talk about it. She and her husband fought the bureaucracy to recognize her status--finally accepting a cash settlement in 1955. Her story was kept quiet until her POW status was officially conferred by the military in 1983 but it was two years after she passed away from breast cancer.

 

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