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

Subject: Vietnam-Era Unaccounted for Statistical Report

CURRENT AS OF:  October 31, 1997

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 10 502 110 36 0 658
NAVY 289 93 31 2 8 423
MARINE 
CORPS
28 205 22 14 0 269
AIR FORCE 247 170 276 19 0 712
COAST 
GUARD
0 1 0 0 0 1
CIVILIANS 0 23 13 5 0 41
             
TOTALS 574 994 452 76 8 2104*

* 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  20050 reports pertaining to Americans in Southeast Asia:

Figure 2
SUMMARY OF REPORTS

FIRSTHAND LIVE SIGHTINGS 1867
HEARSAY SIGHTINGS REPORTS 4406
CRASH/GRAVESITES 4927
DOGTAGS 9340
   
TOTAL 20540

a. Of the 1867 firsthand reports received since 1975, 1781(95%) reports are resolved. 

    -- 1249(66%) 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(3%) reports were correlated to wartime sightings of military personnel or pre-1975 sighting of civilians who remain unaccounted for. 
    -- 487(26%) reports were determined to be fabrications. 

b. The remaining 86(5%) unresolved firsthand reports represent the focus of the U.S. Government's analytical and collection efforts: 

    -- 77(4%) pertain to Americans reported in a captive environment. 
    -- 9(1%) 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 82 83 84 85 86 87 88
62 9 0 2 0 1 0 1 1 2

 
89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 Total
0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 86

3. ACCOUNTING FOR U.S. PERSONNEL: The Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, reports that since 1973, the U.S. has accounted for 460 Americans from Southeast Asia. 

Figure 4
AMERICANS ACCOUNTED FOR POST-1973

VIETNAM 358*
CHINA 2**
LAOS 114
CAMBODIA 5
   
TOTAL 479***

NOTES
*      31 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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