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The Vietnam-Era Prisoner-of-War/Missing-in-Action Database

Subject: Vietnam-Era Unaccounted for Statistical Report

CURRENT AS OF: January 30, 2001

BACKGROUND: The Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Service, and the Department of State report the current numbers of Americans who are unaccounted for in Southeast Asia:

AMERICANS UNACCOUNTED FOR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

COMPONENT
COUNTRY OF LOSS

VN VS LA CB CH TOTALS
ARMY 10 486 105 35 0 636
NAVY 277 92 28 1 8 406
MARINE CORPS 24 202 18 8 0 252
AIR FORCE 218 165 255 18 0 656
COAST GUARD 0 1 0 0 0 1
CIVILIANS 0 22 12 5 0 39
TOTALS 529 968 418 67 8 1,990 *

PURSUIT STATUS

           
FURTHER PURSUIT 226 495 362 47 4 1,134
DEFERRED 60 116 28 3 1 208
NO FURTHER PURSUIT 243 357 30 15 3 648
TOTALS 529 968 420 65 8 1,990

VN = VIETNAM, NORTH VS = VIETNAM, SOUTH CB = CAMBODIA

CH = CHINA LA = LAOS

* INCLUDES 459 AT SEA/OVER WATER LOSSES

ACCOUNTING FOR U.S. PERSONNEL: The Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii reports that since 1973, the U.S. has accounted for 593 Americans from Southeast Asia.

AMERICANS ACCOUNTED FOR POST-1973

REPATRIATED BY:

VIETNAM
426
*
CHINA 2 **
LAOS 149
CAMBODIA 16
TOTAL 593 ***

NOTES:

* 34 remains from the Official Died in Captivity Lists provided by the Vietnamese in 1973.

** 2 ashes returned from China.

*** 4 remains were recovered and turned over to the U.S. by indigenous personnel; 1 from NorthVietnam and 3 from Laos. They are included in the country count.

U.S. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS: Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, the U.S. Government

has acquired 21,761 reports possibly pertaining to Americans in Southeast Asia:

SUMMARY OF REPORTS

FIRSTHAND LIVE SIGHTINGS
1,909
HEARSAY SIGHTINGS REPORTS 4,845
CRASH/GRAVE SITES 5,255
DOGTAGS 9,752
TOTAL 21,761

Of the 1,909 firsthand reports received since 1975, 1,896 (99.32%) reports are resolved.

  • 1,318 (69.04%) reports were equated to Americans who are accounted for (i.e., PW returnees, missionaries, civilians jailed at various times for violation of Vietnamese codes).
  • 45 (2.36%) reports were correlated to wartime sightings of military personnel or pre-1975 sighting of civilians who remain unaccounted for.
  • 533 (27.92%) reports were determined to be fabrications.

The remaining 13 (0.68%) unresolved firsthand reports represent the focus of the U.S. Government analytical and collection efforts:

  • 12 (0.63%) pertain to Americans reported in a captive environment.
  • 1 (0.05%) reported sighting of an American in a non-captive environment (i.e. working as truck drivers; married with Vietnamese family).

The following timeline presents an overview of unresolved firsthand sightings by the year of the sighting:

TIMELINE: UNRESOLVED LIVE SIGHTING REPORTS

Pre-76 76-80 81-85 86-90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99
Total
12 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13

SUBJECT: VIETNAM-ERA UNACCOUNTED FOR STATISTICAL REPORT

BACKGROUND: The Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Service, and the Department of State report the current numbers of Americans who are unaccounted for in Southeast Asia:

AMERICANS UNACCOUNTED FOR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA*

COUNTRY OF LOSS PW/MIA KIA/BNR TOTAL
NORTH VIETNAM 283 246 529
SOUTH VIETNAM 408 560 968
LAOS 259 159 418
CAMBODIA 35 32 67
CHINA 6 2 8
TOTAL 991 999 1,990

* Status as of Homecoming

Figure 2 summarizes all unaccounted for Americans in Southeast Asia by components:

U.S. LOSSES BY SERVICE COMPONENT

COMPONENT
PW/MIA
KIA/BNR
TOTAL
USA 336 300 636
USN 101 305 406
USMC 90 162 252
USAF 431 225 656
USCG 0 1 1
CIVILIAN 33 6 39
TOTAL 991 999 1,990

KEY OBSERVATION ABOUT REPORTING: A Vietnamese Government misinformation program has been associated with recent reporting on missing Americans. Those reports all pertain to the alleged recovery of remains and identifying data (i.e., dog tags) by Vietnamese citizens.

Since mid-1982, 9,745 "dog tag" reports on 8,275 individuals reveal the following trends:

7,719 (93.28%) of those names reported are individuals who returned to the U.S. alive;

386 (4.66%) of the reports correspond to U.S. remains that have been recovered/identified and buried in the U.S.;

170 (2.05%) relate to individuals who remain unaccounted for.

In all instances, dog tag reports receive thorough investigative attention, to include informing the military services of those reports with valid names so next of kin can be advised as appropriate.

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