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Our Korean War POW/MIA's, Courtesty of a joint effort by Gary Neuhart and Sandy Easton


Let Us Pray For Them



Declared Lost In Korea, April 4, 1952
Lost In Korea, in a B-26 Bomber, similar to this civilian version!


JAMES ALWARD VAN FLEET JR.
Pilot
JOHN A. MCALLASTER
Navigator
RALPH L. PHELPS
Gunner



CPT James A. Van Fleet Jr. was an Air Force pilot, assigned to the 13th Bomb Sqaudron, Kunsan Korea, in mid-March 1952. His B-26 bomber (SN 44-34300) was lost over Korea on April 4, 1952, on what was his fourth and last combat mission. His navigator was CPT John A. McAllaster, also of the 13th, and his gunner was SGT Ralph L. Phelps (on loan from the 90th Bomb Squadron).

CPT Van Fleet Jr. was the son of General James A. Van Fleet, who was then the 8th Army Commander, and Field Commander of UN Forces fighting in Korea.

The dates are often conflicted in the known, available records. On March 31, 1954, the United States government made a presumptive finding of death in the cases of all three crewmembers, and changed their status to "died while missing, body not recovered", effective April 4, 1952. What little else is known about the fate James Jr. and his crew members raises many disturbing questions about the issue of "unreturned" Korean War POW/MIA's!


What His Father Stated!

and others:


As far back as 1953, retired Lieutenant General James A. Van Fleet, who had commanded the U.S. 8th Army in Korea (and whose son was among the POW/MIAs), was quoted in the New York Times as saying that "a large percentage of the 8,000 American soldiers listed as missing in action are still alive." Van Fleet was not alone in this assessment. General Mark Clark, former U.S. commander in Korea, upon his sudden resignation from the Army in 1953, accused the communists of holding several thousand American servicemen after the prisoner switches supposedly had been completed. But even such blunt comments from well-respected leaders evoked no results; indeed, the remarks were soon forgotten.

Nevertheless, reports continue to surface about Americans being held alive in North Korea from the days of the Korean War. A recent report that appeared in the Bangkok-based Asia Times included an interview with a former Pyongyang secret police official, Oh Young Nam, whose father was reportedly a bodyguard to the late North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung. Oh Young Nam reported that between 1982 and 1993 he made numerous visits to a secret prison camp north of Pyongyang where elderly black and white men were housed, which was described to him by guards as a facility for U.S. prisoners from the Korean War. He said that one segregated sector was marked "USA" in Roman letters. Defector Oh recalled that once, during the early 1980s, he offered a beer to a black American at the camp.

After both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Washington kept a tight lid on the story of abandoned POWs. Consider the frustration, four decades after the comments by Generals Van Fleet and Clark, of a Vietnam War hero, Colonel Millard Peck, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency's MIA/POW office. Peck's assignment came after a series of embarrassments exposed the DIA's "mindset to debunk" reports about living POWs in Southeast Asia.

After being stymied at each attempt he made to follow up on live sighting reports, Peck resigned in disgust in the spring of 1991. In his resignation letter, the Green Beret Colonel said that the POW effort "is being controlled and a cover-up may be in progress. The entire charade does not appear to be an honest effort, and may never have been.... That national leaders continue to address the prisoner of war and missing in action issue as the 'highest national priority' is a travesty."


Click on any photograph to read more about each man!
Van Fleet Jr McAllaster Phelps
POW Honor Plagues
A presumptive finding of death in each case!


KNOWN RELEASED
AIR INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION

Identification Tags


(From: 6004th AISS Det #2, Report #302-5-52, D/I 09030, 15 May 52):
Information obtained, by this Source from a villager indicated that two friendly aircraft were downed at (YC 400126.) One pilot died in the crash and the other pilot was captured. At 1200 hours, 4 Apr 52, he witnessed a group of Communists investigating the dead pilot's belongings.

(From: 6004th AISS, Det #2, Report #493-5-52, D/I #09301, 26 May 52): A twin engine UN bomber crashed at Hangpo-dong (XC 279069) at dawn, 4 Apr 52. The inhabitant observed an American corpse dressed in an OD jacket and no pants lying 30 meters north of where the plane crashed. No other bodies were observed.

Note: The next is a "real puzzle", because of a date discrepancy!

(From: MISG/FE Interr Report #KT 3458, D/I #12344, 25 Jul 52):
On 28 March 52, Source heard from a civilian that a UN aircraft possibly a twin engine, crashed in the vicinity of (YC 1968) at 0100 that morning. Later that day, three caucasians were observed about 30 years old, being marched under three guards. The three caucasians were wearing tan uniforms and brown boots. Their uniforms had zippered pockets on the trouser legs. The civilian heard that these three caucasians bailed out from the aircraft and the fourth was believed killed when his parachute failed to open.

(From: 6004th AISS, EEI File #2, 25 Sep 53):
An interrogator told Source that VAN FLEET was being held in Pyongyang by the Chinese. He was being interrogated on UN use of bacteriological warfare. The Chinese were also trying to force VAN FLEET to write about "The Glory of the Communists for their Treatment of Prisoners of War." Source felt that the reason that they were told this was that the interrogators felt that by mentioning names of POWs, of high rank or prestige, and the fact that they too were being coerced into signing BW charges, that this would tend to make personnel like Source confess to these charges.

(From: 6004th AISS, EEI File #2, 26 Sep 53):
Source was told by another returning POW, who got it from a Chinese interrogator, that Lt. VAN FLEET was alive and was being held a prisoner by the Chinese Communists. One Chinese interrogator said that VAN FLEET was alive and another Chinese interrogator said that he was dead. Source received this information on 5 Sep 53, enroute to Kaesong for repatriation.

(From: 6004th AISS, EEI File #2, 2, Gen File Vol 4, Sep 53):
Source indicated that on or about May 52, and unknown Chinese English speaking interrogator informed Source that Capt VAN FLEET had previously been interrogated at Pyongyang.

(From: IG OSI, Dist Off #2, APO 77, Date Unknown 1953):
".....According to Lee(Source), during a conversation that ensued, (a secondary informant) 'Min' (who was a member of the Social Security Bureau of North Korea) made the statement that General Van Fleet's son, who was a pilot had also been captured. Lee did not recall whether he was alive. He claims to dimly recall 'Min' saying that VAN FLEET was captured in the Koksan area"


Reports of Korean War POW/MIA's Persist!

Excerpts From A VOA Newsletter!

What Is The U.S. Doing About Those 10-15 POW's?


Let Us Pray For Them

POW-MIA

Where Is Uncle Sam Now?

As a free society, you should know that the United States Government has acknowledged that 389 known "by name" Prisoners of War did not return after the Korean War ended. As late as 1992, it was thought that this number may even be higher, possibly as many as 900 - 1000 may have been "retained" under Communist control. As with those lost in Southeast Asia, we have been unable to convince many authorities that many still remain alive, the United States has been unable recognize this issue, and find a way to free those men captured, or to even obtain a proper accounting of them.

Write to the President !

Write to the Vice-President !

Write your Congressman/Senator !


Where Is Uncle Sam Now?

For more information on the Korean War POW/MIA issues
visit The Korean War MIA/POW Help Desk.

POW-MIA

 

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Visit the 13th Bomb Squadron Association (Korea) !
Learn more about the unit these men were in !
Our thanks to Sandra Fenton & Charles Hinton for permission to use the photographs!
Photo of Van Fleet Jr. by Ray Anastos.

Many of these graphics were created by Sandy's Patriotic Graphics !
Sandy is our Friend, and a true Veteran Supporter!

The ID Tag graphic on this page was created by "wave", with our fondest thanks!


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