POW/MIA advocate and researcher Lynn O'Shea.

POW/MIA: The Passing of Lynn O’Shea

News and views in the POW/MIA world

By John Bates, VietNow Naitonal POW/MIA Chairman

Researcher extraordinaire, Lynn O’Shea served many years, until her death, as the director of research for the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Servicemen. Lynn testified before Congress three times, wrote an important book about the POW/MIA issue – Abandoned In Place, The Men We Left Behind and the Untold Story of Operation Pocket Change – and never gave up the fight to discover the truth. She will be greatly missed. Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Reitano, DoD and Congressional Liaison from the National Alliance of Families.

Very sad news from the National Alliance of Families, letting us know that Lynn O’Shea has passed away. Lynn was the mastermind of digging up and finding information in the files on POWs, and the person whose energy led to finding information about missing servicemen. Lynn fought a battle with cancer, but no one thought she would leave this world before the POW/MIA issue was resolved. Last June we all knew was that she going through treatment, but I believe most of us thought she would win her battle and beat this cruel disease. But it was not to be. She would be called home and would leave us.

Lynn was amazing in the way she could find bits of information that at the time didn’t mean much, but later in doing research in the many files she looked at, she would come across some little bit of additional information – and together with the other bits – piece together what had happened or what the government was trying to prevent us from knowing about. Her energy and abilities were first class. Lynn’s book, “Abandoned in Place,” is a prime example of the in-depth research she did.

So now what will the National Alliance of Families do, without Lynn doing all this research? I believe they will continue with new players – and yes, this won’t happen immediately – but over a span of time the new people will step up and continue the fight against what our government has done to block access to information about those we left behind. This is what I think Lynn would want us to do.

You can help the efforts by sending a gift in Lynn’s memory to the National Alliance of Families, c/o Janella A. Rose, 2528 Poly Drive, Billings, Montana 59102 – and please mention that you heard about this in the “VietNow National Magazine.”

Law suit against the CIA

In regard to the law suit filed against the CIA by Roger Hall, the good news is that the court ruled that the CIA will have to pay Roger’s attorneys $400,000 for their fees. This took eleven years, all because the CIA, at every possible turn, did everything to stall and drag their feet in completing court-ordered actions.

If you want to contribute to this case, send a donation to Roger Hall, POW/MIA FOIA Litigation Account, Attn: Roger Hall, P.O. Box 8044, Silver Springs, Maryland 20907. Roger tells me that every penny of the money received and ordered by the court goes to the lawyers who have worked for so many years on this case, and that this is no simple effort. And of course, everything they do has a price attached to it, including copying the files. Please remember that we (VietNow National) support the National Alliance and the FOIA Litigation Fund. These two groups continue to fight for the truth about what happened to the men who didn’t return home.

We will continue the fight against a government that will do everything possible to block information about the truth about those left behind. Congress may have forgotten about our POW/MIAs, but we have not, and we will continue to stand up for them.


In case you’re wondering, it seems that the “new and improved” DPAA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Group), whose job it is to find and account for POW/MIAs, may have a new name, but the agency is still following the same old ways of wasting money. The count remains at 1,627 missing from the Vietnam War. This includes 1,269 in Vietnam, 302 in Laos, 49 in Cambodia, and seven in China – and the count is at a near standstill. My count of those identified is 69, a long way from the mandated 200 recoveries per year, as Congress said needed to happen.

Of the 69 remains recovered, only seven from Vietnam were identified. This points to no action by Congress or DPAA, especially in regard to those missing from Southeast Asia. The number identified includes the work to identify the crew members from the U.S.S. California and U.S.S. West Virginia who were buried in a mass grave at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii after the attack at Pearl Harbor, but the number is only five identified so far. This is the new DPAA.


John Bates, VietNow National POW/MIA ChairJohn Bates, USNR serves as a VietNow National Director and as the VietNow National POW/MIA Chair..