Vietnam War POW/MIA Issue - POW/MIA Activist Organizations

POW/MIA Activist Organizations

The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia was created by Sybil Stockdale, Evelyn Grubb and Mary Crowe as an originally small group of POW/MIA wives in Coronado, California and Hampton Roads Virginia in 1967. Sybil Stockdale's husband, Navy Commander James Stockdale, was shot down in 1965 and she was determined to make the American people aware of the mistreatment of U.S. POWs. This publicity resulted in better treatment of U.S. POWs from fall 1969 on.

After the war, the National League of Families became the leading group requesting information about those still listed as missing in action. It was led by Ann Mills Griffiths. Its stated mission was and is "to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving our nation during the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia." The League's most prominent symbol is its POW/MIA flag. This group was more established, less radical, and more connected to the government.

The National Alliance of Families For the Return of America's Missing Servicemen was founded in 1990. Its goal was and is to resolve the fates of any unreturned U.S. prisoners of war or missing in action from World War II on forward, not just Southeast Asia, and to gain the return of any live prisoners. It is a 1980s-origined splinter from the National League of Families, created by members who were dissatisfied with Ann Mills Griffiths' leadership. Compared to the older group, the National Alliance took a more activist, radical stance, especially towards belief in the existence of live prisoners in Southeast Asia.

The chair and co-founder of the group is Dolores Apodata Alfond, whose brother was shot down in 1967 during the Vietnam War. The group was visible during the Kerry Committee hearings of the early 1990s, but disagreed with the committee's findings that there was no compelling evidence of any live prisoners in Southeast Asia.

Businessman and POW/MIA advocate Ross Perot, who had done much to help POW families during the war, was also very active on this issue.

Read more about this topic:  Vietnam War POW/MIA Issue

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