Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Researchers
POW/MIA Databases & Documents - Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
  Home >> POW/MIA Home >> Vietnam POW/MIAs

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

Subject: Vietnam-Era Unaccounted for Statistical Report

CURRENT AS OF:  September 18, 2000

1. 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: 

Figure 1
AMERICANS UNACCOUNTED FOR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
COMPONENT                                 COUNTRY OF LOSS

  NORTH 
VIETNAM
SOUTH 
VIETNAM
LAOS CAMBODIA CHINA TOTALS
ARMY 10 486 105 35 0 636
NAVY 278 92 28 1 8 407
MARINE 
CORPS
24 202 18 8 0 252
AIR FORCE 220 165 258 16 0  659
COAST 
GUARD
0 1 0 0 0 1
CIVILIANS 0 22 12  5 0 39
             
TOTALS 532 968 421 65 8 1994*
    PURSUIT    STATUS    
Further Pursuit 231 499 365 48 4 1147
Deferred 58 110 30 2 1 201
No further pursuit 243 359 26 15 5 646
TOTALS 532 968 421 65 8 1994

* INCLUDES 459 AT SEA/OVER WATER LOSSES 

2. U.S. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS: Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, the U.S. Government has acquired  21332 reports pertaining to Americans in Southeast Asia: 

Figure 2
SUMMARY OF REPORTS


FIRSTHAND LIVE SIGHTINGS 1908
HEARSAY SIGHTINGS REPORTS 4831
CRASH/GRAVESITES 5247
DOGTAGS 9745
   
TOTAL 21731

 

a. Of the 1908 firsthand reports received since 1975, 1832(98.48%) reports are resolved. 

    -- 1309(68.61%) 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. 
    -- 525(27.52%) reports were determined to be fabrications. 

b. The remaining 29(1.52%) unresolved firsthand reports represent the focus of the U.S. Government's analytical and collection efforts: 

    -- 26(1.36%) pertain to Americans reported in a captive environment. 
    -- 3(0.16%) reported sightings of Americans in a non-captive environment (i.e. working as truck drivers; married with a Vietnamese family). 

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

Figure 3.
TIMELINE: UNRESOLVED LIVE SIGHTING REPORTS

Pre-76 76-80 81-85 86-90 91 92 93
22 3 0 2 0 0 0

 
94 95 96 97 98 99 Total
0 0 1 1 0 0 29

3. ACCOUNTING FOR U.S. PERSONNEL: The Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, reports that since 1973, the U.S. has accounted for 518 Americans from Southeast Asia. 
 
 

Figure 4
AMERICANS ACCOUNTED FOR POST-1973

VIETNAM 423*
CHINA 2**
LAOS 148
CAMBODIA 16
   
TOTAL 589***

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 North Vietnam and 3 from Laos. They are included in the country count. 



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.
 
a.       Since mid-1982, 9745 "dog tag" reports on 8275 individuals reveal the following trends:

  • 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.
b.       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.
Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> POW/MIA Home >> Vietnam POW/MIAs
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  July 27, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us