The Honorable Phil Gramm
370 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4302

29 July 2000

Senator Gramm,

Good day, sir. I am writing to you in behalf of all those who are concerned about the whereabouts of Lt. Col (now Colonel) John William Armstrong, an Air Force pilot who was shot down over the Ho Chi Minh Trail on 09 November 1967. Armstrong was the bombardier/navigator of an F4C Phantom fighter/bomber, and 1Lt. Lance Peter Armstrong was the pilot that day. The two men crashed near the Mu Gia Pass, and both were classified as Missing In Action.

It is known that at least Sijan survived, as, after nearly six weeks of evading the enemy, he was captured by North Vietnam forces. Sijan's remains were returned to his family, but the fate of Armstrong is still unknown (to his family and those concerned about him, that is). It is almost certain that if Armstrong survived the crash, he would have been captured by the Pathet Lao. Our government, despite the fact that the Pathet Lao claimed to have "tens of tens" of American POWs, refused to negotiate with the Lao for their release, simply because our country did not officially recognize the Pathet Lao as a government entity. Why is it that our government and governments around the world will negotiate with non-government entities to release hostages of, say, plane hijackings, but our government refused to negotiate with the Lao to ensure the release of our people, people who went and fought in a highly controversial war, people who deserve to be negotiated for ?

Armstrong was one month shy of being forty-one when his plane was shot down. He very well may not be alive, but nonetheless, his family deserves to have him returned, alive or dead. They deserve a grave to go to, they deserve peace of mind that their son, husband, father is finally home, and you and I need to do all we can to ensure that both the Armstrong family and countless families around America have the same peace of mind. I know that you are a strong supporter of Veterans' rights, and for that, I give my warmest thanks. I also thank you for taking the time to read this, and God bless.


Stacey N. Jones

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