FORT BELVOIR, Virginia –
On 26 January 2023, William Newell, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) Indo-Pacific Directorate Research Analyst, received direct support from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) Archives in researching homecoming statements of specific personnel who returned to the U.S. at the end of direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
The mission and the vision of DPAA is to maximize the number of missing personnel accounted for while ensuring timely, accurate information is provided to their families. JPRA provides mutual support to the mission by providing access to thousands of archived records that showcase the personal experiences of former POWs. DPAA uses this information to assist in accounting efforts for missing personnel.
Of interest for Mr. Newell were archived records of four returnees who were interned in a semi-permanent POW camp where one unaccounted-for person died of kidney failure due to beriberi and was buried in 1969. The camp was believed to lie on the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Mr. Newell was looking for post-captivity statements that would allow DPAA to narrow down the area where they were held, including names of places, terrain features, significant events that occurred within observational distance, and marching times from known locations. Also of interest were any names of enemy camp staff at the time for possible identification and interview.
JPRA Archives assisted Mr. Newell in finding records related to B-52 bombings on specific days, which narrowed down the area where the returnees were encamped when the one unaccounted-for individual passed away. This information will be used as a basis to request wartime imagery in hopes of locating the camp.
“The JPRA Archives is a national treasure and we are thrilled that we had the information Mr. Newell was looking for,” stated Barb Connors, JPRA Branch Chief.
JPRA will continue to work with DPAA and provide access to additional archived records to assist them in their accounting efforts.