Vietnam MIA Statistics

Skysoldier

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Reading the other thread about the death statistics from Vietnam, I also wanted to mention some stats regarding MIA,s

The total number of MIA’s was 1,973.
The remains of 728 have been repatriated.
There are still 1,245 cases unresolved.

I have a friend who was an Anthropologist at the
University of New Mexico, and also a former Marine in Vietnam. He has made many trips back to Nam in the last 40 years, searching for remains.
The last time I talked to him, he told me that quite a few of the remaining cases are suspected
to be cases where the person probably went AWOL, but still have to be listed as MIA for lack of evidence.
Given the high rates of AWOL and Desertion during those years, it seems pretty plausible to me.
 

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A friend of mine spent his time in the Air Force as a Thai/Lao interpreter, working with the joint teams roaming around SE Asia looking to resolve some of those cases. He said they found plenty of remains, which he saw as a good thing; it provided closure for the families, at least.

This was in the mid-1990s.
 

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Reading the other thread about the death statistics from Vietnam, I also wanted to mention some stats regarding MIA,s

The total number of MIA’s was 1,973.
The remains of 728 have been repatriated.
There are still 1,245 cases unresolved.

I have a friend who was an Anthropologist at the
University of New Mexico, and also a former Marine in Vietnam. He has made many trips back to Nam in the last 40 years, searching for remains.
The last time I talked to him, he told me that quite a few of the remaining cases are suspected
to be cases where the person probably went AWOL, but still have to be listed as MIA for lack of evidence.
Given the high rates of AWOL and Desertion during those years, it seems pretty plausible to me.
I can't help but wonder how many, if any, Deserters, there are still alive. And if they were to be discovered, if the military would still prosecute to the full extent of the UCMJ or would just rubber stamp it.
 
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I can't help but wonder how many, if any, Deserters, there are still alive. And if they were to be discovered, if the military would still prosecute to the full extent of the UCMJ or would just rubber stamp it.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Carter pardoned all the deserters and draft dodgers, I think?...I have always said The Vietnam War is what made me want to be in the military and become a Marine. It’s the War all my uncles fought in and my father just missed, he was in boot camp when they started pulling out of Saigon. Vietnam is the War I have read the most books about, favorite war movies, and done the most research on. I even had a POW/MIA empty table setting for one beside me at my wedding (even more important than all the quests on my wife’s side,😂).

I can’t help but think that there has to be some remains on the Cambodian and Laos borders when we were not suppose to be there. Great post Skysoldier!!!!! It’s a matter that’s very near and dear to my heart! And thank you for stomping around that place taking out as many as those little commie bastards as possible. Hopefully you spit back at the f***in hippies when got home!!!👍🏻🇺🇸💜
 

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Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Carter pardoned all the deserters and draft dodgers, I think?...I have always said The Vietnam War is what made me want to be in the military and become a Marine. It’s the War all my uncles fought in and my father just missed, he was in boot camp when they started pulling out of Saigon. Vietnam is the War I have read the most books about, favorite war movies, and done the most research on. I even had a POW/MIA empty table setting for one beside me at my wedding (even more important than all the quests on my wife’s side,😂).

I can’t help but think that there has to be some remains on the Cambodian and Laos borders when we were not suppose to be there. Great post Skysoldier!!!!! It’s a matter that’s very near and dear to my heart! And thank you for stomping around that place taking out as many as those little commie bastards as possible. Hopefully you spit back at the f***in hippies when got
Looks like Proclamation 4483 on pardoned draft dodgers and not deserters.

Justice.gov
 

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Back when they identified the remains of the Unknown Soldier from Vietnam, there was a lot of attention paid to this. Something to the effect of it being almost impossible to actually have Unknown Soldiers from present and future wars thanks to advances in accountability, DNA testing, and changing attitudes toward body recovery and burial.

I doubt soldiers ever wanted to leave their fallen comrades in any war, but in the past it was more acceptable than it is now.
 
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This is a great information thread. We didn't lose anyone to desertion, or POW/MIA. Any of you guys experience things like this while you were there?
Not while deployed but I remember as a young Marine on duty as A driver doing the company runs to mainside and seeing all the guys they caught and brought back. They were all chained up and in there Service A’s or B’s going into there Court Martial and getting thier Big Chicken Dinners and Brig time. We used to scream LIBBBO out the window at them!😂😂
 

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Not while deployed but I remember as a young Marine on duty as A driver doing the company runs to mainside and seeing all the guys they caught and brought back. They were all chained up and in there Service A’s or B’s going into there Court Martial and getting thier Big Chicken Dinners and Brig time. We used to scream LIBBBO out the window at them!😂😂
I am not familiar with the term LIBBO. What does it mean?
 
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Yes, WW1 is where the big issue is. Once you fell in no mans land that was it. Nobody came to retrieve you or your dog tags. Hard to believe that number is that low.
We were only in that war for about a year, and only involved in major combat for about eight months starting from the battle at Cantigny, in the closing stages of a war that had bled our enemy white already.

For perspective, the unidentified/unrecovered British dead on the Somme was over 72,000. And that was just one battle, albeit a very long one. the French had nearly 140,000 unidentifiable remains at Verdun. The Germans of 1915/16 were still thinking they'd win.
 

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Back when they identified the remains of the Unknown Soldier from Vietnam, there was a lot of attention paid to this. Something to the effect of it being almost impossible to actually have Unknown Soldiers from present and future wars thanks to advances in accountability, DNA testing, and changing attitudes toward body recovery and burial.

I doubt soldiers ever wanted to leave their fallen comrades in any war, but in the past it was more acceptable than it is now.
Once upon a time, training with a British SAS guy, he brought this up. They felt the idea of leaving nobody behind was a weakness of US military. They trained that once you were dead, you are a bag of bones and shouldn't put the living in harm's way to bring home the dead.
 

Picton

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Once upon a time, training with a British SAS guy, he brought this up. They felt the idea of leaving nobody behind was a weakness of US military. They trained that once you were dead, you are a bag of bones and shouldn't put the living in harm's way to bring home the dead.

I see his point. That's very logical, and there've been times we've done it that way. But for better or for worse, the ethos has changed.
 

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Yeah, I'm not taking sides on the issue. I thought it was an interesting thought exercise at least.

I think everyone acknowledges the "leave no man behind" mindset gets people killed. The example of Shughart and Gordon is unmistakeable.

I also think the calculus is that it strengthens morale for soldiers to go in knowing their buddies will sacrifice themselves to bring them home, whatever happens. That can forge a powerful bond, when it's done correctly.
 

Andy in NH

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I can’t help but think that there has to be some remains on the Cambodian and Laos borders when we were not suppose to be there.
The history of MACV SOG is one my favorite military genres to read about and research.
According to John Stryker Meyers (a SOG vet) there are 50 Green Berets still MIA in Laos and Cambodia.

I wore a POW/MIA bracelet for many years.
During the late '80s at the booth at the local flea market (you know the one), I picked a name of a Marine (like me) who was a LCpl (like me) and who went missing (Jun 68), the month before I was born.
Kurt E. LaPlant
One day in '08 or '09 I happened to see an article on military.com, "Remains of missing Marines identified" and opened it.
From the middle of the page, his name jumped right out at me.
There is a lot more to his story, but I was able to track down his sister (the only living family member) and sent her the POW/MIA bracelet.
She invited me to his internment at Arlington, but I was unable to go.
 
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The history of MACV SOG is one my favorite military genres to read about and research.
According to John Stryker Meyers (a SOG vet) there are 50 Green Berets still MIA in Laos and Cambodia.

I wore a POW/MIA bracelet for many years.
During the late '80s at the booth at the local flea market (you know the one), I picked a name of a Marine (like me) who was a LCpl (like me) and who went missing (Jun 68), the month before I was born.
Kurt E. LaPlant
One day in the early 2000s I happened to see an article on military.com, "Remains of missing Marines identified" and opened it.
From the middle of the page, his name jumped right out at me.
There is a lot more to his story, but I was able to track down his sister (the only living family member) and sent her the POW/MIA bracelet.
She invited me to his internment at Arlington, but I was unable to go.
Thank you for sharing!
 
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The Wall is the most powerful and emotional war monument we have in my opinion. Every American not only needs to experience DC landmarks in thier lifetime, they need to head over to Arlington National Cemetery and visit The Wall. Seeing our warriors and family members bent over crying and leaving smokes, booze and mementos for thier fallen brothers,sons,nephews,cousins,fathers and uncles is something I will never forget. I’m just waiting for my youngest to get a little older so I can take them there to see what real sacrifice means.
 

fencer

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The history of MACV SOG is one my favorite military genres to read about and research.
According to John Stryker Meyers (a SOG vet) there are 50 Green Berets still MIA in Laos and Cambodia.

I wore a POW/MIA bracelet for many years.
During the late '80s at the booth at the local flea market (you know the one), I picked a name of a Marine (like me) who was a LCpl (like me) and who went missing (Jun 68), the month before I was born.
Kurt E. LaPlant
One day in '08 or '09 I happened to see an article on military.com, "Remains of missing Marines identified" and opened it.
From the middle of the page, his name jumped right out at me.
There is a lot more to his story, but I was able to track down his sister (the only living family member) and sent her the POW/MIA bracelet.
She invited me to his internment at Arlington, but I was unable to go.
That is an awesome story Devil Dog. You must have damn near shit your pants when you saw that article.
I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.
Really cool
 

Andy in NH

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I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.
Copy & pasted from various sites:
Kurt was a mortarman with 1/4, but he and several others had volunteered to help defend a hill near Khe Sanh.
On 06 June 1968, they became engaged by a considerably superior North Vietnamese Army force.
The ground commander requested an emergency extraction and an airborne CH-46 from HMM-165 responded.
As the CH-46 lifted off it came under enemy fire and crashed on a hillside, then rolled down the hill and came to rest in a gulley.
The area around the crash had been sprayed with defoliants, so that the wreckage could be seen without difficulty - but the crash site still was surrounded by leafless trees.

A Marine Forward Air Controller, "Fingerprint 22", spotted four survivors outside the wreckage and requested immediate helo support.
An Army UH-1, "Chicken Man 22", responded and proceeded toward the crash site.
On arrival, the FAC advised that A-1 ground attack aircraft were inbound for tactical support.
The Huey crew could see several hundred NVA troops approaching the crash site from several directions - and could see the injured CH-46 crewmen, clearly unable to move.
It was impossible for the Huey to land next to the wreckage, but there was an opening in the trees some distance away.
The Huey crew agreed that they would touch down, and that its crew chief and gunner would dismount and go to the crash site to assist the survivors ... and that's what they did.
Although the A-1s did their best to suppress the enemy, the Huey and the men on the ground remained under enemy fire for some time.
The two Huey cremen were able to make two trips from the landing site to the wreckage.
They checked the CH-46 wreckage, ensuring that there were no survivors within the cabin section.
The four CH-46 crewmen were then lifted to the Khe Sanh medevac pad.

Within an hour and a half, a search and recovery (SAR) team was inserted into the crash site.
They were able to recover the bodies of eight men, but lacked the equipment needed to extract the other five men from the wreckage.
Another effort later in June led to the recovery of another body, but four men had to be left entombed in the CH-46, Kurt being one of them.
His remains were recovered on October 19, 2006 and identified on August 5, 2008
Semper fidelis!
 

M60

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Once upon a time, training with a British SAS guy, he brought this up. They felt the idea of leaving nobody behind was a weakness of US military. They trained that once you were dead, you are a bag of bones and shouldn't put the living in harm's way to bring home the dead.
Lots of honor, those brittish guys.
 
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