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

Subject: Vietnam-Era Unaccounted for Statistical Report

CURRENT AS OF:  March 9, 1999

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 10 498 110 35 0 653
NAVY 286 92 28 3 8 417
MARINE 
CORPS
26 204 22 14 0 266
AIR FORCE 235 165 272 17 0  689
COAST 
GUARD
0 1 0 0 0 1
CIVILIANS 0 22 12  5 0 39
             
TOTALS 557 982 444 74 8 2069*

* INCLUDES 468 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 1897
HEARSAY SIGHTINGS REPORTS 4657
CRASH/GRAVESITES 5114
DOGTAGS 9664
   
TOTAL 21332

a. Of the 1897 firsthand reports received since 1975, 1832(96.57%) reports are resolved. 

    -- 1283(67.63%) 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(2.37%) reports were correlated to wartime sightings of military personnel or pre-1975 sighting of civilians who remain unaccounted for. 
    -- 504(26.57%) reports were determined to be fabrications. 

b. The remaining 65(3.43%) unresolved firsthand reports represent the focus of the U.S. Government's analytical and collection efforts: 

    -- 57(3.00%) pertain to Americans reported in a captive environment. 
    -- 8(0.43%) 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
42 9 1 4 1 0 1

 
94 95 96 97 98 99 Total
1 0 1 4 1 0 65

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 382*
CHINA 2**
LAOS 127
CAMBODIA 7
   
TOTAL 518***

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. 

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