DoD Vows to Rededicate Itself to MIA Mission
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
FORT MYER, Va., April 27, 2001 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the example of the seven Americans and nine Vietnamese killed in a helicopter crash April 7 will serve to renew the commitment to further their work of accounting for missing Americans in Southeast Asia.
Wolfowitz spoke during a memorial service here April 25. On the altar of the memorial chapel were the flags of the United States, Vietnam and the POW-MIA organizations. Family members of the seven Americans and co-workers from Joint Task Force-Full Accounting and POW-MIA Affairs attended the service. In addition, Vietnamese Deputy Chief of Mission Pham Van Que and members of the Vietnamese Embassy attended.
The 16 men died in a helicopter crash in Quang Binh province, Vietnam during a site survey for an upcoming mission to recover the remains of U.S. servicemen lost during the Vietnam War.
"Let us remember the words of Abraham Lincoln ... when he said 'It is for us the living to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they so nobly advanced,'" Wolfowitz said. "Our resolve is strengthened by their example."
Wolfowitz told the mourners that the U.S. mission would continue. "On behalf of those we honor today and on behalf of those still missing we rededicate ourselves to the fullest possible accounting of every American [missing in Southeast Asia]," he said.
The Vietnamese minister said his country will also continue to support the search effort and told the families his country mourns with them.
Since its founding JTF-Full Accounting has returned more than 600 sets of remains from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The command is based at Camp Smith, Hawaii.
The seven Americans killed in the crash were: Army Lt. Col. Rennie Cory Jr., Army Lt. Col. George Martin, Air Force Maj. Charles E. Lewis, Army Sgt. 1st Class Tommy J. Murphy, Air Force MSgt. Steven Moser, Navy Chief Petty Officer Pedro J. Gonzales and Air Force TSgt. Robert M. Flynn.