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AFP & others have said it for years; now proof emerges U.S. soldiers still held in Southeast Asian camps


By Christopher J. Petherick

There is new evidence that American GIs are being held against their will in Southeast Asia more than three decades after the Vietnam War officially ended. A letter recently received by the father of a U.S. pilot, who went missing in action in 1971, could provide a key piece of information that proves American prisoners of war are alive and imprisoned in remote areas of South Vietnam.

Over the years, historians, researchers and independent journalists have made a compelling case that, during the Cold War, thousands of U.S. POWs were moved among Soviet, Chinese and North Korean labor camps, where they toiled and died under the worst conditions.

Families of POWs and MIAs say the U.S. government has turned a blind eye to the plight of these men, even going so far as to sabotage their efforts at finding out what exactly happened to their loved ones.*

But Joe Milliner’s incredible story of his son, told at the June 20 meeting of the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families in Crystal City, Va., could change all of that. Documentation compiled by Milliner could finally force the country to come to terms with the fact that thousands of Americans were abandoned by the U.S.

There is confusion over what happened to Milliner’s son, U.S. Army Warrant Officer William P. Milliner, when the helicopter he was co-piloting disappeared on March 6, 1971. What is known is that William, who was 20 years old at the time, was the co-pilot on an AH1G Cobra helicopter gunship. He was returning from a combat support mission over Laos when he disappeared in cloudy weather.

The military reportedly dispatched a search-and-rescue team to locate William and the pilot of the helicopter, John F. Hummel. Tragically, the two were never located, and the Army eventually gave up looking for them. Over the years, the Milliner family has never given up hope that their son would be found. As with many families of missing soldiers, the U.S. military has been unhelpful, some would even say willfully obstructing honest inquiries into what happened to lost loved ones.

However, recent events have renewed the Milliner’s faith that William is alive and is being held in Southeast Asia against his will, possibly as a slave laborer. The first occasion came as a result of a classified document, which was given to Milliner by a source inside the Pentagon who is sympathetic to MIA-POW families.

The official document was dated Oct. 4, 1989, and reports of a Thai businessman who said U.S. citizens, including a “William P. Milliner,” are being held in a dangerous “no-man’s land” controlled by thugs and warlords in a mountainous region in Laos.

A Thai businessman said he could secure William’s release

if the U.S. government were willing to pay a ransom. According to Milliner, U.S. officials shot down any discussion of a reward, effectively killing off any hopes of freeing the American.

Were it not for his friend at the Pentagon, Milliner said the classified account of the exchange between U.S. officials in Thailand and the unnamed businessman was slated to be archived for 50 years and would not be released—even to family members—until 2039.

Since that time, Milliner says that there have been sporadic sightings of his son, including another U.S. document that claims warlords were seeking only $1,800 for the release of his son.

But the most compelling piece of evidence arrived just last year in the form of a letter from a doctor who had been working in Cambodia. According to Milliner, the physician’s account proves to him that his son is still alive somewhere in the jungle.

In September 2007, Milliner says, he received an unsigned letter from someone claiming to be a physician working in Cambodia and Laos.

The doctor wrote that, in early September 2007, he had treated an American man with certain tell-tale wounds. The doctor said that the patient was suffering from a poor amputation of his arm. He also described certain scars that matched other sightings of William that the Milliners have collected over the years.

The doctor said he was unnerved by the extent of secrecy surrounding this patient. He had been driven through the jungle for what he described as a long time, and he was allowed to bring just a few medical instruments and medicine—but no assistants.

The doctor wrote that the guards kept a close watch over this patient. However, in a free moment, the man said in perfect English, punctuated by some Vietnamese, that he is an American being held against his will.

Milliner received that letter in September of last year. Since then, Milliner says he believes the doctor now fears for his life and has gone into hiding. Over the years, he says, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) have both undermined efforts to help Americans who are still being held against their will. McCain and Kerry have both weighed in against offering reward money for the release of U.S. citizens who may still be in captivity in Laos, Vietnam, China and North Korea, said Milliner.
*For more read Perfidy: The Government Cabal That Knowingly Abandoned Our POWs and Left Them to Die by Sgt. John Top Holland and Fr. Patrick Bascio. Softcover 225 pages. Price: $25 for one copy. $19 per copy for active and retired U.S. military. Order from AFP, 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100, Washington, D.C. 20003. Call 1-888-699-NEWS toll free to charge. No S&H inside the U.S.

Christopher J. Petherick is AFP’s founding editor. He now runs BRANDYWINE HOUSE BOOKS & MEDIA, P.O. Box 638, Cheltenham, MD 20623. Toll free: 1-866-656-7583.

(Issue # 27, July 7, 2008)

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