Dear Ms. Dietch:
Thank you for your September 13 inquiry to Assistant Secretary Veroneau on behalf of Senator Harkin's constituent, Ms. Stacey Jones. She is seeking information on Navy Commander Frank C. Green, Jr., who is unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. As the Department of Defence (DoD) agency responsible for accounting for missing Americans from our nation's wars, we are pleased to provide you the following information.
Commander Green was lost July 10, 1972, when his A-4 aircraft crashed during a night armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. His wingman reported that Commander Green crashed while making a bombing run on the target. After the crash, the wingman began a search under flare illumination and identified the crash site. A search and rescue effort was initiated but no emergency signals were heard and no voice contact was ever established with Commander Green. Returning American POWs did not report ever seeing him in the North Vietnamese prison system or in the jungle prisons in Laos and South Vietnam.
Since 1993, DoD investigators have conducted seven investigations in Vietnam in an effort to account fro Commander Green. Although his crash site has been located, he remains unaccounted for at this writing. In accordance with 50 USC Sec. 435 Note (Public Law 102-190, commonly referred to as the McCain Bill) we are unable to provide Ms. Jones with more information regarding Commander Green because his family has not consented to the release of information regarding his loss.
Ms. Jones makes reference to a claim that a search and rescue team found that his aircraft crash site had been camouflaged. We have reviewed all of our agency's material on Commander Green's loss and are unable to find any information to support a belief that his crash site was camouflaged. In recent years, US teams have visited the crash site which is at the top of a 720-foot karst comprised mainly of large, unstable boulders and deep crevasses. The slope of the mountain runs 80 - 90 degrees and our teams had to use ropes and harnesses to get to the site. This fact further belies the claim that anyone could have camouflaged the crash site immediately following the loss.
Commander Green has not been forgotten. President Clinton, like President Reagen and Bush, has affirmed the POW/MIA issue to be a matter of the highest national priority. At present, the DoD has more than 500 people in Washington, Hawaii, Southeast Asia, and Russia who work full time to determine the fates of our unaccounted for Americans. DoD is diligently perusing accounting for our missing personnel in Southeast Asia. Since 1988, American teams have completed more than 2,000 investigations in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in an attempt to account for Americans lost during the war. These efforts have resulted in the recovery, identification, and return of 590 missing Americans for interment with full military honors. At this writing, 1,993 remain unaccounted for from the war in Southeast Asia.
I hope this information is helpful. We who are privileged to be involved in this important humanitarian issue gratefully acknowledge and appreciate Senator Harkin's support for our efforts. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.
[signed] Charles W. Henley
Charles W. Henley
Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs
Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office
Navy casualty office