US POWs Since Vietnam

| April 18, 2015

Since the end of conflict in Southeast Asia, AKA the Vietnam War – and, in some cases, concurrent with it – US military forces have been involved in other conflicts. In a few cases, US personnel have been taken captive by America’s enemies.

The numbers involved are not large. However, when there’s a benefit to be gained – as we’ve seen far too many times here – someone will eventually       lie through their teeth       falsely claim to have “been there, done that”.

For other than the Vietnam War DPAA does not seem to publish lists of those US personnel who returned alive after being held as POWs. However, the numbers are small enough that I’ve been able to put together lists.  I believe these to be reasonably complete and accurate, with a couple of caveats:

  1. The lists which follow do not include US military personnel taken captive by terrorists in peacetime terrorist incidents. (Examples would include the captivity of US Army BG James Dozier and the temporary captivity and execution of US Navy PO2 Robert Stethem on TWA Flight 847.) Sorry, compiling such a list and verifying it to any degree of accuracy would be a massive undertaking that would take a great deal more time than I have available at present.
  2. The lists which follow do not include personnel taken prisoner during Cold War intelligence operations. (An example would be Gary Powers, captured and held prisoner by the Soviets after his U2 was shot down over the USSR on 1 May 1960.) That too is a major undertaking, and one for which some pertinent details and names may possibly not yet be declassified.

With those caveats, let me describe what follows. The article is broken into 4 sections. The first is a section that lists known POWs returned alive, by conflict, since the Vietnam War. The second section is a special section discussing Korea since the armistice. The third section lists US military personnel known to have been taken POW since the Vietnam War, but who did not return alive. The last section lists some “dogs and cats” – e.g., a small number of questionable cases, plus those personnel (civilian and military) who were lost during US conflicts since Vietnam but who are still not formally accounted for.

 

I: POWs Since Vietnam Who Returned Alive

Dominican Republic – none.

1979 US Tehran Embassy Seizure

See the follow-on article linked here for a list of personnel taken captive (and, for the military personnel taken captive, later accorded POW status) during the 1979 US Tehran Embassy seizure.  Please note that one of the individuals taken captive was NOT accorded recognized POW status – the linked article provides the rationale for that determination.

Grenada – none.

Lebanon

One US Naval Officer was taken POW and returned alive in Lebanon.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
LT GOODMAN, Robert O. USN 4-Dec-83 Captured by Syrian forces after the A6 in which he was Bombadier/ Navagator was downed during operations in Lebanon. Released by Syria on 3 Jan 84.  Aircraft’s pilot was KIA.

Panama – none.  However, given the ridiculous loophole in the definition of a “former POW” in current Federal law – specifically, in 38 USC 101(32)(B) – it’s an open question whether the incident described here might qualify.  (IMO Congress really needs to tighten up this loophole by requiring DoD – not the VA Secretary – formally to declare someone a POW before the VA can authorize that individual benefits as a former POW.  The VA has proven it is absolutely institutionally incompetent to make that determination.)

Gulf War

DoD recognizes a total of 21 individuals to have been taken prisoner and released alive by Iraq at the end of the Gulf War (see p. A-13 of the linked document).

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
Lt Col ACREE, CLIFFORD M. USMC 18-Jan-91 Captured after the OV-10 he was piloting was shot down over Kuwait. Released by Iraq March 1991
Capt ANDREWS, WILLIAM USAF 27-Feb-91 Captured after his F16 was shot down over Kuwait or southern Iraq and rescue attempts were unsuccessful. Released by Iraq March 1991
Capt BERRYMAN, MICHAEL C. USMC 28-Jan-91 Captured after his AH8B was shot down over Kuwait Released by Iraq March 1991
MAJ CORNUM, RHONDA US Army 27-Feb-91 Capured by Iraqi Armed Forces after helicopter crashed during attempt to rescue downed USAF pilot William Andrews. Released by Iraq March 1991
SGT DUNLAP, TROY 27-Feb-91 Capured by Iraqi Armed Forces after helicopter crashed during attempt to rescue downed USAF pilot William Andrews. Released by Iraq March 1991
Col EBERLY, DAVID WILLIAM USAF 17-Jan-91 Captured after the F15E he was piloting was shot down during the early portion of the Gulf War air campaign. Released by Iraq March 1991
Lt Col FOX, JEFFREY USAF 19-Feb-91 Captured after his A10 was shot down over Kuwait Released by Iraq March 1991
Maj GRIFFITH, THOMAS EDWARD JR. USAF 17-Jan-91 Captured after the F15E in which he was weapons systems officer was shot down during the early portion of the Gulf War air campaign. Released by Iraq March 1991
CWO HUNTER, GUY L. JR. USMC 18-Jan-91 Captured after the OV-10 in which he was a crewmember was shot down over Kuwait. Released by Iraq March 1991
SPC LOCKETT, DAVID US Army 30-Jan-91 Captured by Iraqi Armed Forces after vehicle became stuck in sand IVO Khafji, Saudi Arabia, while attempting to turn around after taking a wrong turn. Released by Iraq March 1991
SPC RATHBUN-NEALY, MELISSA US Army 30-Jan-91 Captured by iraqi Armed Forces after vehicle became stuck in sand IVO Khafji, Saudi Arabia, while attempting to turn around after taking a wrong turn. Released by Iraq March 1991
Capt ROBERTS, HARRY MICHAEL USAF Jan-91 Captured after his F16 was shot down over Iraq prior to 20 Jan 1991, exact date unavailable.. Released by Iraq March 1991
Capt SANBORN, RUSSELL A.C. USMC 9-Feb-91 Captured after his AV8B was shot down over Kuwait. Released by Iraq March 1991
LT SLADE, LAWRENCE RANDOLPH USN 21-Jan-91 Captured after the F14 in which he was RIO was shot down over Iraq. Released by Iraq March 1991
Maj SMALL, JOSEPH III USMC 25-Feb-91 Captured after the observation aircraft he was piloting was shot down over southern Iraq or Kuwait. Released by Iraq March 1991
SSG STAMARIS, DANIEL J. JR. US Army 27-Feb-91 Capured by Iraqi Armed Forces after helicopter crashed during attempt to rescue downed USAF pilot William Andrews. Released by Iraq March 1991
LT STORR, RICHARD D. USAF 31-Jan-91 Captured after his A10 was shot down over Kuwait or southern Iraq Released by Iraq March 1991
1stLt SWEET, ROBERT JAMES USAF 15-Feb-91 Captured after his A10 was shot down over Iraq Released by Iraq March 1991
Maj TICE, JEFFREY SCOTT USAF Jan-91 Captured after his F16 was shot down over Kuwait or southern Iraq prior to 20 Jan 1991. Released by Iraq March 1991
LT WETZEL, ROBERT USN 18-Jan-91 Captured after the A6E he was piloting was shot down over Iraq Released by Iraq March 1991
LT ZAUN, JEFFREY NORTON USN 18-Jan-91 Captured after the A6E in which he was RIO was shot down over Iraq Released by Iraq March 1991

Two other US military personnel apparently ended up in Iraqi custody under unclear circumstances, and were also released by Iraq in early March 1991. They do not appear on the list of POWs in the DoD document linked in the previous table.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
PVT JEFFRIES, LEM US Army unk Detained by Iraqi Armed Forces under unclear circumstances. Released by Iraq March 1991
1LT RICE, KEVIN US Army unk Detained by Iraqi Armed Forces under unclear circumstances. Released by Iraq March 1991

That’s it. No other individuals were taken captive by Iraqi Armed Forces during the Gulf War and released alive afterwards.

Somalia.

One US soldier was taken POW and returned alive in Somalia.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
CW2 Durant, Michael J. US Army 3-Oct-93 Captured by Somali militia forces after his UH60 was downed during Operation Gothic Serpent. Released by Somali militia forces on 14 Oct 93.

Bosnia/Kosovo.

A total of 3 individuals were taken prisoner and later released alive by Serbian forces during our involvements in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
SSG STONE, Christopher J. US Army 31-Mar-99 Captured by Serb forces Mar 1999. Released alive May 1999
SPC RAMIREZ, Andrew A. US Army 31-Mar-99 Captured by Serb forces Mar 1999. Released alive May 1999
SPC GONZALES, Steven M. US Army 31-Mar-99 Captured by Serb forces Mar 1999. Released alive May 1999

Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan, 2001-present)

No living POWs from the current conflict in Afghanistan are known to exist.  (At this point, there’s no way in hell I’m going to list Bergdahl here. I’ll let a court-martial decide if that . . . individual was a POW or a wartime deserter first.)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq, 2003-2010) and later Iraq Operations

A total of eight personnel were rescued or recovered by US forces during OIF and follow-on operations.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
SPC HERNANDEZ, Edgar US Army 23-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah after convoy took wrong turn Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003
SPC HUDSON, Joseph US Army 23-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah after convoy took wrong turn Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003
SPC JOHNSON, Shoshana US Army 23-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah after convoy took wrong turn Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003
PFC LYNCH, Jessica US Army 23-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah after convoy took wrong turn Rescued by US forces 1 Apr 2003
PFC MILLER, Patrick US Army 23-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah after convoy took wrong turn Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003
SGT RILEY, James US Army 23-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah after convoy took wrong turn Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003
CWO WILLIAMS, David US Army 24-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed Forces after AH-64 shot down over central Iraq Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003
CWO YOUNG, Ronald Jr. US Army 24-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed Forces after AH-64 shot down over central Iraq Recovered alive by US forces 13 Apr 2003

That’s it.  Other than post-Armistice Korea, the total is a maximum of 35 – 21 from the Gulf War (23 if JEFFRIES and RICE are given the benefit of the doubt), 1 from Somalia, 3 from Kosovo, and 8 from the GWOT.

 

II.  Post-Vietnam POWs Known to Have Died in Captivity

A small number of US military personnel are known to have been taken prisoner, but to have died in captivity since the end of the Vietnam War.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
PFC PIESTEWA, Lori US Army 24-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah; died of injuries shortly thereafter. Captured; died in captivity of injuries/wounds received while attempting to evade capture
SGT WATERS, Donald Ralph US Army 24-Mar-03 Captured by Iraqi Armed forces during ambush of 507th Maint Co convoy in Nasyriah; later separated from other POWs and executed. Taken POW by Iraqi forces; later executed by captors
SSG AL-TAIE, Achmed Kousay US Army 23-Oct-06 Taken prisoner by Iraqi insurgents in Baghdad after leaving base without authority, likely to visit family. Held prisoner for undetermined number of months, then executed.
SSG MAUPIN, Keith Matthew US Army 9-Apr-04 Taken prisoner during KBR convoy ambush IVO Baghdad International Airport. Taken POW by Iraqi insurgents; executed by captors
PFC MENCHACA, Kristian US Army 16-Jun-06 Taken prisoner during insurgent raid on checkpoint IVO Yusufiyah, Iraq. Executed by captors within days of capture.
PFC TUCKER, Thomas L. US Army 16-Jun-06 Taken prisoner during insurgent raid on checkpoint IVO Yusufiyah, Iraq. Executed by captors within days of capture.
CPT FREEMAN, Brian Scott US Army 20-Jan-07 Taken prisoner in insurgent raid on Karbala Provincial HQ. Held prisoner for short period, executed and body dumped by captors.
1LT FRITZ, Jacob Noel US Army 20-Jan-07 Taken prisoner in insurgent raid on Karbala Provincial HQ. Held prisoner for short period, executed and body dumped by captors.
SPC CHISM, Jonathan Bryan US Army 20-Jan-07 Taken prisoner in insurgent raid on Karbala Provincial HQ. Held prisoner for short period, executed and body dumped by captors.
PFC FALTER, Shawn Patrick US Army 20-Jan-07 Taken prisoner in insurgent raid on Karbala Provincial HQ. Held prisoner for short period, executed and body dumped by captors.
SPC JIMENEZ, Alex Ramon US Army 12-May-07 Taken prisoner during insurgent raid on checkpoint IVO Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. Executed by captors; body recovered from shallow grave approx 12.5 mi from capture site on 9 July 2008.
PVT FOUTY, Byron Wayne US Army 12-May-07 Taken prisoner during insurgent raid on checkpoint IVO Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. Executed by captors; body recovered from shallow grave approx 12.5 mi from capture site on 9 July 2008.   Autopsy indicated body showed signs of torture over a 4-mo period from May-Sep 2007.
PFC ANZACK, Joseph J. Jr US Army 12-May-07 Taken prisoner during insurgent raid on checkpoint IVO Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. Executed by captors; body recovered from Euphrates river 23 May 2007.

Afghanistan, 2001-present

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
CS2 NEWLOVE, Jarod US Navy 23-Jul-10 Taken prisoner by Taliban during vehicular movement. Held by Taliban for short period of time, then died or was executed. Remains recovered OA 27 Jul.

 

III.  Post-Armistice Korea

Post-Armistice Korea is an interesting case.  Because of the legal requirement for the individual’s capture to occur during a “period of war”, it is unclear if all personnel taken prisoner by North Korea qualify as “POWs” or not.  Nonetheless, I personally consider anyone captured and held captive by North Korea to have a legitimate claim to POW status.

A minimum of 86 DoD personnel – 84 military and 2 civilians – have been taken captive by Korea since the 1953 Armistice ending hostilities on the Korean peninsula.

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
multiple captured members of the crew of the USS Pueblo (81 mil, 2 civ) (Note: honorary crew members excluded.) US Navy 23-Jan-68 Ship seized by NK forces in international waters off eastern NK coastline. Released 23 Dec 1968.   One sailor was KIA during seizure.
CW2 SCHWANKE, Glen W. US Army 14-Jul-77 US Army CH-47 shot down after straying into NK airspace. 3 Killed, 1 captured Released alive during July 1977. Other 3 crew KIA.
CWO HALL, Bobby Wayne US Army 17-Dec-94 Aircraft shot down after navigational error took it several miles into NK. Released alive 29 Dec 1994. Co-pilot killed in shoot down and crash.

Post-Armistice Korea was – and remains – a dangerous place.  That was particularly true from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.  A fascinating page maintained by USFK documents many of the incidents that have caused US KIAs since the Armistice, including the two helicopter downings referenced above.

Including post-Armistice Korea and the USS Pueblo incident, the total of post-Vietnam POWs returned alive to US custody rises to at most 120.

 

IV.  Uncertain Cases

A number of other cases have circumstances such that it is unclear whether or not the individuals concerned  were taken POW.

Gulf War

Rank Name Service Date Missing Circumstances Status
SPC BUSH, DAVID US Army N/A Became separated from unit, later returned. Returned to duty; does not appear to have been held as POW.
SSG RICKETT, CRYSTAL L. US Army N/A Became separated from unit, later returned. Returned to duty; does not appear to have been held as POW.d

Iraq, 2003-2010

Rank Name Service Date Captured Circumstances Status
SGT KRAUSE, Elmer US Army 9-Apr-04 Disappeared during KBR convoy ambush IVO Baghdad International Airport. Possibly taken POW and died of wounds/was executed shortly thereafter; body recovered from shallow grave 23 April 2004.
SGT PADILLA-RAMIREZ, Fernando USMC 28-Mar-03 Disappeared during convoy operations in Iraq. Possibly taken POW; body recovered 10 Apr 2003, may have been executed by captors

 

Finally:  a total of six US personnel – 3 military, and 3 civilian contractors – remain unaccounted for from Operation El Dorado Canyon (Libya 1986), the Gulf War, and OIF.  This page from DPAA has the details concerning these individuals.

 

Summary.

As far as I can tell, that’s all.  While this list is not guaranteed to be 100% comprehensive and complete, I believe it to be reasonably so – subject to the caveats stated above.  Should anyone have verifiable information about any cases I’ve missed, please email the info and references to Jonn and ask him to forward same to me.  Once I’ve double-checked it, if it checks out I’ll add it above.

I would regard any claims of “I was a POW” from Lebanon, the Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia/Kosovo, or the GWOT that don’t check out above to be, well, bullsh!t; ditto for post-Armistice Korea.  I’d personally require a load of independently verifiable proof before I would accept any such claims as fact.

 

(Author’s Note:  this article is also linked to the TAH “Military Records” page as a reference.)

Category: Historical, Military issues, Veterans Issues, Veterans' Affairs Department

Comments (25)

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  1. 68W58 says:

    Patrick Miller was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the fight against the Iraqis before that Maintenance Company convoy was taken captive.

    It is maddening to know that some GIs were held captive and tortured for months in Iraq. It seems like we often here about raids that just missed rescuing this or that captive-I wonder if that isn’t also the case here.

  2. Enigma4you says:

    Well done sir.

  3. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    So, Hondo what you are saying, the thousands of other POWs that we see at the VAMCs (other than those noted above) are totally LEGIT, right?

    Great article!

  4. Skippy says:

    I apologize for my bad grammar and spelling. But I have a Question here for everyone.I was screwed out of my service by being Medically Retierd by the Army in 2013, I had to report to the VA in Las Vegas, Nevada. To get registered in the VA system while doing this at a OIF/OEF clinic I was Stunned at how many former POWs were at this hospital, about a week later one of the staff got BUSTED for claiming to be a POW and was not, in time I was doing treatment at the poly trauma clinic, my therapist said that it was one of the worst hospitals she had ever seen for people Lying about Being a POW and other issues !!!!!!, At the time I could not figure it out but after reading this and a few other story’s, Why or WTF is going on here and why is it not getting Stopped????? Any Answers anybody ??????

    • Skippy says:

      OK. 🙁
      So I’m not going to get a Answer to my Question. I’m good with that a brother at the VFW. said that’s just the way it is. It saddens me to see so many vets out here that need help. But the system is how do say ateup to say the least . I hope articles like this Wake people up to how jacked the system can be. And I’ll stop thinking about Why

  5. technical question says:

    What is the “UH-64” aircraft that CWO Young and CWO Williams were flying?

    I’ve never heard of that before, and Google only shows me AH-64 Apaches and UH-60 Blackhawks.

  6. HMCS(FMF) ret. says:

    Hondo – Bravo Zulu on the article and work done to put it together.

    Now if Congress would get off their collective asses and make DoD the authorizing authority for POW designation… as you said the VA Secretaries (past and present) have made this issue a Mongolian Class Cluster F$%^.

  7. OWB says:

    Good work, Hondo. Thank you.

  8. CCO says:

    Off topic, but related, I suppose. Did the Gulf War ever official end–the period of emergency declared by the DoD, I mean.

  9. Joe Williams says:

    Hondo offer your lists to the VBA for the bargain basement price of $500,000.00 . They would not buy I think it is Doug Strener’s list of Silver Stars awardees. Doug’s was lower I think about a $ 100,000.00. Joe

  10. Poetrooper says:

    Hondo, I went to college in Texas with this guy, Kurt Muse, who was reportedly a CIA operative in Panama. I actually took Kurt and his wife out to dinner on a business trip to Panama in the mid 80’s. Wonder if that put me on any DENI watch lists?

    This WIKIPEDIA article describes the special operations mission that sprung him:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Acid_Gambit

    Would Kurt count as a POW?

    • Hondo says:

      If he was a civilian, no – at least not for VA benefits purposes. 38 USC 101(32) specifically requires that the individual be taken prisoner in the line of duty while serving on active duty with the military during a period of war.

      It gets murky if he was military on loan to one of the IC agencies. In such a case, maybe – or maybe not. Dunno.

      My personal opinion would be that they should not, unless they were caught by a nation with whom we were actively at war. Intel activities are generally not open hostilities, and POWs are IMO military personnel taken prisoner by the enemy during times of open hostilities. But that’s just me.

      • Poetrooper says:

        Hondo, no, he wasn’t military. His father owned a communications/electronics business in Panama City which Kurt had inherited by the time I visited.

        However, even in college, we other couples living in the apartment complex there in El Paso suspected he was working for the G and used to tease him about it. His wife Annie was from a family involved in foreign service with the State Department.

        There was a large contingent of Persians at UTEP in those days, most loyal to the shah and some from very prominent and wealthy families. One of the older of them and his wife lived in our complex and were an integral part of both our social circle and the Persian students. Thus we had Iranians around the complex all the time. Even back then, I speculated to my wife that Kurt might be a Fed assigned to watch them.

        So, he may have been an agent even in college, but to my knowledge he never wore a uniform.

  11. I don’t remember what year it was, but I had my picture taken at the Pentagon with CWO Ronald Young, Jr.

    He and I were both Mormons, and we both had been stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/writesong/686204191/in/album-72157600590656501/lightbox/

    The other guy in the photograph is Charlie Chambers, who was a prisoner of the Germans during the Second World War, where he lost a couple of fingers.

    Note that I was still learning how to wear my decorations correctly, and the Combat Service Identification Badge hadn’t yet been invented.

    Having only recently learned of my Scottish ancestry, but not having the money to purchase a kilt, I elected instead to wear a tartan scarf around my neck, and pin the clan’s badge on it.

  12. Green Thumb says:

    Very sobering.

    A lot of posers are not going to like this…..

  13. Luddite4Change says:

    Hondo,

    Great work and I applaud your efforts on this issue.

    Since you mentioned the TWA hijacking above, there was a recent press release that those individuals are going to receive their POW medals shortly.

    http://www.13newsnow.com/story/news/military/2015/03/30/navy-divers-to-receive-pow-medal-30-years-after-hijacking/70657524/

    The Navy Divers from TWA and BG Dozier did not qualify for the medal at the time of the incident as detainment by terrorist was excluded in the DOD interpretation of the law. It was only through the efforts of the family of LtCol Higgins (who was captured and killed by Hezballah in Lebanon) that the law was changed.

    While I think the law could use some improvement, there is some gray area where individuals definitely should qualify for benefits based on their detainment but don’t qualify for the POW medal. The 2001 Hainan Island P-3 crew would clearly fall into this category.

    • Hondo says:

      Luddite4Change: see caveat 1 above. I simply don’t have the time to research ever international terrorist incident occurring since the end of the Korean (or even Vietnam) wars and see if a military member might have been involved.

      Regarding the “held under equivalent circumstances” issue: I have no issue with the SECDEF making that call, and declaring someone to be a POW due to having been held “under equivalent circumstances”. I trust the SECDEF, advised by a bunch of military personnel and a bureaucracy that has an institutional memory of what actual POW conditions historically have been, to make that call. I simply don’t trust the VA to make that call due to their historical inability to get it anywhere near right. Very few persons held by neutral nations during time of conflict are held in conditions approximating the conditions actual POWs experience. There certainly aren’t more such individuals out there than living POWs – and that’s exactly what the VA said was the case in 2009.

      Regarding the Hainan P3 incident – we’ll have to agree to disagree there. That was the result of a Chinese pilot being a hot-shot idiot and managing to off himself while simultaneously damaging one of our aircraft through a midair collision, not the result of a deliberate hostile act. IMO POW status should be granted only as the result of captivity due to hostilities directed against US forces or personnel – not due to an act of individual idiocy. Had the plane been shot down or been forced down under threat of being shot down, I’d feel differently.

      • Luddite4Change says:

        I just put out the TWA info as it was interesting, and they are being awarded their POW medals in the next 10 days or so. Trying to find all the other terrorist or “other” detainments would be a near impossible task; though I think the Joint Services SERE Agency would have a good idea.

        I don’t believe that we are in that much disagreement. I have no problem with SECDEF making the call for benefits purposes (and I am pretty certain that is what was done with the P-3 crew), but I also believe that DOD’s position on the POW medal has been historically bad. For instance DOD for years denied the medal to the crew of the USS Pueblo, and it took Congressional action to make that happen. How it couldn’t be considered a hositle act when the crew was awarded the CAR is beyond me.

        One of the issues with the medal, is that it is awarded for service that could be a short and relatively benign as the detainment Bobby Hall in Korea (less than 2 weeks) to what John McCain had to endure.

        Perhaps because I’ve worked within the IC, I see alot of the gray area’s where an individaul or a group of individuals should be given the VA benefits but perhaps shouldn’t be rated the medal. The P-3 crew being the public example.

        These individuals are operating under order from the National Command Authority, as is every other service member worldwide. Remember, there is no approved US Government list of “Enemies”.

        As for the nature of how someone becomes detained, I will have to disagree with you to a certain extent. Absent will full misconduct, the way an individual or group finds themselves under detainment shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor in approving/disapproving benefits.

        As a historical footnote; the two individuals from Desert Storm who were returned but had not previously listed at POW’s, where an engineer platoon leader and his driver who became lost after the cease fire went into effect (engineers were running all over the battlefield of southern Iraq destroying equipment). There was hell to pay on the chain of command as I recall, as no one had reported them missing.

  14. Hondo says:

    Made one addition to the above – Lebanon, 1983, LT Bobby Goodman, USN.

    I found one other major omission. That omission will be corrected in its own companion article some time in the near future, hopefully tomorrow AM.

  15. Charles says:

    You forgot Lt Bobby Goodman who was held for 30 days by the Syrians after his plane was shot down by Hezbollah/Syrian rebels over the Bekka Valley in 1983.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Goodman

    His pilot Lt. Mark Lange died on the ground due to a parachute failure from the low altitude ejection.

  16. Charles says:

    Also, I thought the lost of Capt. Fernando L. Ribas- Dominicci and Capt. Paul F. Lorence was solved when the “good” rebels in Libya returned some body parts and some aircraft parts in the victory lap that was the Obama involvement in the Libyan Civil War?

    • Hondo says:

      That would be a negative.

      During late 1988, Libya offered to return remains it had recovered and which were purportedly those of Capt Lorence. Those remains were identified in early 1989 using dental records, and were instead found to be those of the pilot of the aircraft in which both were lost: Capt Ribas-Dominici.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_L._Ribas-Dominicci

      That is why DPAA does not list Ribas-Dominici as being missing. His remains have been returned to US custody and definitively identified.

      Capt Lorence’s remains have yet to be recovered and definitively identified. As the last link in the article above shows, Capt. Lorence is still carried on DoD’s rolls as MIA, and presumed dead.