Only two months after Vietnam quietly announced unprecedented levels of cooperation regarding on-going U.S. POW/MIA efforts in Southeast Asia (SEA), a delegation from the National League of POW/MIA Families and a parallel group of Green Beret Vietnam veterans will travel to Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, & Thailand) January 11-30th to meet key U.S. and Vietnamese officials. And, if the weather cooperates, they will visit in the field staff from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency working to locate and account for the remaining 1,602 Americans still in SEA.
The league delegation will be led by Chairman of the Board/CEO Ms. Ann Mills-Griffiths. She will be joined once again by the League Senior Policy Advisor Richard Childress, COL, USA (Ret), and, for the first time, MIA daughter Cindy Stonebraker, a second-term elected member of the League’s Board of Directors. Childress, a highly respected Vietnam veteran, has worked with the league since 1989 following an eight-year stint as the senior policy advisor and director of Asian affairs for the National Security Council from 1981 to 1989 with President Reagan.
Parallel to the league delegation, representing the joint Special Operations Association (SOA)/Special Forces Association (SFA) POW/MIA Committee will be Mike Taylor, LTC, USA/SF (Ret), vice president of SOA and chairman of the joint SOA/SFA POW/MIA Committee. He will be joined in Hanoi by fellow Green Beret Robert J. “Spider” Parks, CSM USA/SF (Ret), a member of the SOA/SFA POW/MIA Committee. Mrs. Elli Childress and Mrs. Laura Taylor will accompany their respective husbands and participate with delegation members in social and cultural events and other activities.
Both delegations are either flying to SEA today (Jan. 11) or have landed in SEA where they are scheduled to meet with U.S. ambassadors, embassy officials, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Stony Beach SEA specialists and DPAA Detachment personnel in each country, according to a League Jan. 7 update.