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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Families of Three MIAs From Vietnam, Korea to Receive Remains

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2005 – The families of three U.S. servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam and Korean conflicts will lay their loved ones' remains to rest in early July.

The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office reported finding and identifying the servicemen in separate announcements in recent days.

Two of them, Air Force Lt. Col. Darel D. Leetun of Hettinger, N.D., and Air Force Capt. David J. Phillips Jr. of Miami Beach, Fla., served in Vietnam. The third, Army Cpl. John O. Strom of Fergus Falls, Minn., fought in Korea.

Leetun was lost when his F-105D Thunderchief fighter jet was shot down over North Vietnam on Sept. 17, 1966. At the time, Leetun was leading a mission over Lang Son province. No emergency signals were received from the aircraft, and other pilots on the mission observed no parachute.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducted three separate investigations of the crash site between 1991 and 1995, and two more in 1999 and 2004, by a Vietnam team and a JPAC team, respectively. While human remains were recovered during one of the earlier investigations, JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists only recently identified them using mitochondria DNA.

Leetun's remains are being returned to his family. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on July 8 with full military honors.

Philips, another pilot whose aircraft was downed by enemy fire, was attacking enemy targets over Kien Gian province in South Vietnam when his F-5 Freedom Fighter jet was hit. He was unable to eject, and heavy enemy fire at the time prevented a search on the ground.

Four investigations into Phillips' disappearance were conducted by joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams from 1993-2000, and 10 villagers were interviewed over the seven-year period. Two subsequent investigations by JPAC teams in 2003 and 2004 uncovered human remains, various artifacts, and personal effects. Laboratory analysis of the remains by JPAC forensic scientists, including comparisons of mitochondrial DNA, led to the positive identification. His remains have been returned to his family for burial July 3 in Savannah, Ga.

Strom was reported missing in action after his unit, the 1st Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, came under attack by Chinese communist forces near Unsan, North Korea, in a battle that lasted several days. In addition to Strom, more than 380 soldiers of 8th Calvary were unaccounted for.

Acting on information from a villager who had reportedly buried the remains of a U.S. serviceman found in another location, a team of U.S. and North Korean specialists excavated both sites in July and August 2002. They discovered human remains as well as some nonbiological material. They also were given an identification tag belonging to Strom that was found by the villager. Laboratory analysis, including comparisons of mitochrondrial DNA, led to the positive identification of Strom.

Strom will be buried in Fergus Falls, Minn., on July 6.

(Note: See my previous post on Cpl. Strom here)

About 8,100 personnel from the conflict in Korea and more than 1,800 from the Vietnam War remain unaccounted for. But that does not mean the U.S. military is not looking. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, located at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, conducts 10 on-the-ground missions in Southeast Asia every year - four in Vietnam, five in Laos and one in Cambodia.

The command's investigations, team members say, are painstaking processes to recover and identify human remains and artifacts of the war, and its Central Identification Laboratory, the largest forensic anthropology lab in the world.

At a June 17 gathering of the families of servicemen still missing in Southeast Asia, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. government is dedicated to the fullest possible accounting of the fallen and missing.

"This is a quest that we must pursue relentlessly, wherever it takes us, for as long as it takes us, until all are accounted for," he said.

Related Sites:DoD POW/Missing Personnel Office Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

Related Article:General Promises Families DoD Will Continue Searching for MIAs

Evening Headlines from

Army expects rosy recruiting numbers for June
Gen. Myers: 'There's a bit of good news'
06/29/05 06:16 PM, EDT
The Army is expected to exceed its active-duty recruiting goal in June after significant shortfalls in the last four months, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.

Veterans programs to get more money for health care

At Work in the US Army

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, raid an area of Taji, Iraq, where insurgents are believed to be hiding. Photo by Russell Cooley IV.

Soldiers with their Bradley Fighting Vehicle from 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, patrol an area near Al Ubayd, Iraq.

Soldiers from the 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) learn specialized rappelling skills from Army Mountain Warfare School instructors on the cliffs of Qalat, Afghanistan.

Still Want to Cozy Up to Europe?

If you do, you might change your mind after reading this article at David's Medienkritik.

Berlin Outrage: Checkpoint Charlie Monument to be Bulldozed

I've been hearing from some of our European friends who've taken a look at the blog lately, which actually made me relax a little - we actually DO have friends over there. But the timing of this is not an accident. It's a blatant shot at us. And it's pretty darned unnerving. Bulldozing a freedom monument. How much of a statmement is THAT?

If I were living in Europe - especially Germany - right now, I would be afraid. Very afraid.

Hat Tip to Greyhawk.

The Truth About Quagmires...

Are we in a Quagmire? Instead of listening to the MSM or people like Gitmo Dick and John Kerry, how about getting it from a more reliable source?

Forwarded email from a Hero in Iraq:

Hi everyone! Sorry I have not written more recently but my new job means I only have one internet computer in the building and it is shared by the rest of the platoon. Our connection speed is really slow too so it makes getting online a pain. My new job is great and I am finally getting to see and take part in the interesting work I missed out on earlier. Collecting human intelligence is interesting and exciting. The soldiers are the cream of the crop and I could not ask for more. Each day I learn something new. Anyway I felt compelled to write you after seeing a news story on CNN. It covered the recent briefing by the Sec Def and senior military commanders to Congress. In the brief several senior congressional leaders stated that they believed that we were in a "quagmire". Let me assure you that this drew a hearty laugh from everyone in the room. They even went on to say that we were losing the war. Last time I checked we had just finished a two week period in which our soldiers had captured the top insurgent in Northern Iraq as well as 3 of his most senior leaders. Insurgents are in a panic and we continue to pick up members of their cells each day. The insurgent leadership has consistently shown that they are more than willing to recruit poor, young, and uneducated men to carry out their dirty work while they reap material and monetary benefits.

The insurgent "leaders" are nothing more than common criminals with absolute zero redeeming qualities. The average Iraqi hates the "Ali Babbas" who kill their women and children. If some of these politicians would spend a week here they would feel the difference in the air. Just as the people gained confidence in the election process in January they now are beginning to gain confidence in their security forces. We still have a ways to go but the American soldier on the ground and the people of Mosul know that things are getting better and progress is being made. Those who would have the United States pull out are willing to simply abandon a people fighting for freedom as well as turn their backs on the men and women of the US Military who made the ultimate sacrifice. Please don't think that we are over here with our heads down and kicking the sand. Our troops are confident and always ready to go out and engage the insurgents 24/7. Our resolve has not wavered one bit because we know we are making a difference. Each time a patrol rolls out the wire it brings hope and security with it. The Iraqi people (Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, and Yezedis) want us here.

Please don't believe the negative reporting and know positive things are happening here everyday.

Thanks for listening to me vent and stay safe,

Thanks to Lynne, Glen, and Patti

My Brave Soldier at a Roadside Bomb

This photo was sent by Soldiers' Angel Cathy - her adoptee April has a reporter tagging along.

April, keep your helmet on and your head down. Thank you for all that you do, and we hope you can come home soon.
PRESIDENT MEETS TROOPS – President George W. Bush greets soldiers after delivering remarks on the war on terror at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Tuesday, June 28, 2005. White House photo by Eric Draper

In Today's News - Wednesday, June 29, 2005

News of Note
"Our land, the first garden of liberty's tree --
It has been, and shall be, the land of the free."
--Thomas Campbell, Song of the Greeks

Operation Iraqi Freedom
New Offensive in Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
Seventeen aboard crashed US chopper in Afghanistan

Supporting our Troops
Congress plans emergency funds for vets health care
Rumsfeld: Media Focuses on 'Negative'

Fallen Heroes
Car Bombs Kill Troops

Welcome Home!
America's Battalion Returns to Kaneohe Bay

Same Old Song...
U.S. accused in Iraqi journalist's death

Other News of Note
U.S. military says can defeat nuclear-armed N.Korea

Fox News
'As Long as We Are Needed'
Transcript: Bush Speech on Iraq
Dems Blast Sept. 11 References
Soldiers, Family Laud Bush Speech
Iraqis Lukewarm on Bush's Speech
Strong Reactions to Bush Speech
Opponents: Iraq War Open-Ended
U.S. Chopper Likely Was Shot Down in Afghanistan- Video: Chopper Down
Redesigned Freedom Tower to Be Unveiled
Pentagon, CIA Oppose Covert Operations Transfer
U.S. General Says North Korean Attack Would Fail
Calif. Terror Suspect Fired
Historian Shelby Foote Dies

Bush Address, Pt. 1
Bush Address, Pt. 2
Sen. Warner Lauds Bush

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Iraqis split over Bush pledge on troops
Israeli troops clash with Jewish settlers
Board said to OK Iraq detainees' release
Rice makes first U.N. visit in new post
N.J.-born Israeli soldier gets jail time
Saudis issue list of 36 terror suspects
Israelis, Palestinians warned of tactics
Clan chief caught between U.S., insurgents
Iran's leader orders smear campaign probe
Egypt candidate pleads innocent to forgery
Israelis take sides in Gaza pullout issue

Reuters: Top News
S.Arabia says high oil not yet hit growth
Bush says Iraq war worth it, cites bin Laden
Israel fears sabotage spree against Gaza pullout
Rice makes debut at UN, shuns media queries
WHouse to accept most WMD report recommendations

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Bush rejects major changes to Iraq strategy
Iraqi leader denies rebel talks

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Bush: U.S. Will Remain Until Job is Done Story
Transcript of President Bush's Speech
Veterans' Health Care Focus of Hearing — Story
New Camp Paves Way for Future Operations — Story

Training for Iraq Boosts Security in Caucasus — Story
Operation Diablo Reach Back Targets Militia — Story
Mountain Warfare Instructors Train Troops — Story

Soldiers Bring Fresh Drinking Water to Iraqis
Airborne Army Medics Work to Save Lives
Battalion Aid Station Finds Order in Chaos
Troops Distribute Supplies to Iraqi Villagers
Airmen, Soldiers Open Lines of Communication

Deployed Marine Shares Combat Skills

Slovakian Native Protects American Dream — Story

President Thanks Troops, Urges Americans to Thank Them Too – Story
Baseball Pitchers Show Support
North Carolina Volunteers Saluted
Home Depot Offers Discount

Rice Topic: Progress, Insurgents
Focus on Progress, Leaders Say
Momentum Favors Democracy
Police Graduate 86 from Training
Navy Qualifies Patrol Boat Officers
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)
'Eye on Iraq' (pdf)
Fact Sheet: Helping Women in Iraq

Soldiers Discover, Neutralize IEDs
Afghanistan Daily Update

DoD Works to Improve Detainee Ops
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Reserves, Guard Bring Vital Skills
FDIC Supports Guard, Reserves
Group Honors General, Mrs. Myers
Rumsfeld Talks Recruiting, Retention
Iraqi PM Visits Walter Reed Patients
National Guard, Reserve Update

from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
1613 - Shakespeare's Globe Theater burns down
1767 - The British Parliament passes The Townshend Acts, levying taxes on America.
1776 - Virginia adopts its state constitution, and names Patrick Henry as governor.
1862 - Day 5 of the 7 Days-Battle of Savage's Station
1863 - Lee orders his forces to concentrate near Gettysburg, PA.
1913 - The Second Balkan War begins.
1916 - The first flight of a Boeing aircraft.
1940 - The U.S. passes the Alien Registration Act.
1949 - South Africa begins implementing apartheid with the banning of mixed marriages; U.S. troops withdraw from Korea following WW II.
1952 - The USS Oriskany becomes the first aircraft carrier to sail around Cape Horn (she was decommissioned in 1989, and now is due to be scuttled in May 2006 to form the world's largest artificial reef.
1954 - The Atomic Energy Commission votes against Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer's reinstatement.
1964 - After more than eighty days of Senate filibuster, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed.
1965 - USAF Captain Joseph Henry Engle reaches 85,530 m in the X-15.
1966 - The U.S. bombs fuel storage facilities near North Vietnamese cities.
1967 - Israel re-unifies Jersualem, removing barricades.
1969 - The first Jewish worship service is held at the White House.
1970 - The U.S. concludes a two-month military offensive into Cambodia.
1971 - Soyuz 11 docks with Salyut 1 for 22 days .
1972 - The U.S.S.R. launches Prognoz 2 into Earth orbit.
1982 - The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is extended.
1984 - The U.S.S.R. offers to start talks on banning SDI.
1985 - NASA launches Intelsat VA

1858 - George Washington Goethals, engineer (Panama Canal)
1865 - Shigechiyo Izumi, achieved oldest authenticated age (120 y 237 d) ; William E. Borah lawyer/(Sen-ID)
1934 - Carl Levin (Sen-MI)
1948 - Fred Grandy, actor (Gopher-"Love Boat")/(Rep-Iowa)

1852 - Henry Clay, Senator, Secretary of State, "The Great Compromiser"
1923 - General J.C. Gomez, Venezuala's first vice president, assassinated
1978 - Bob Crane, actor (Hogan's Heroes), murdered

Reported Missing in Action
Lindsey, Marvin Nelson, USAF (LA); RF101C shot down, no parachute seen

Jones, Murphy N., USAF (LA); F105D shot down, released by DRV February, 1973 - retired from the USAF as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Hardy, William H., US Army ; Released by DRV February, 1973 - alive as of 1996

Owen, Timothy S., US Army (NY); disappeared while conducting a night ambush

Aldern, Donald D., USN (SD); A7A shot down, no parachute seen