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January/February 2024 -   -  

POW-MIA Issues: Our Most Solemn Commitment  


For many, the fact that modern-day warfare has had few instances of unrecovered military personnel means that the POW/MIA issue is no longer relevant, and that the official POW/MIA flag and its symbol are relics of the Vietnam War that most would forget ever occurred. For Vietnam Veterans of America, however, that symbol represents our commitment to the families of those who served with us and never came home, and the fact that we will not relent in the pursuit of fully accounting for every one of them. Even more, we galvanized the nation around that symbol to ensure that in the future no American service personnel in any war would be left on the battlefield.

For the 1,577 families of the still-unaccounted-for Americans from our war, VVA is part of a fast-shrinking group of organizations and activists working to keep alive their dream of bringing their loved ones home alive.

On January 17, 2024, for the second year VVA hosted an informal meeting of a broad coalition of veteran and family organizations in our Silver Spring headquarters. We held a roundtable discussion about how to keep the issue alive and how to support each other’s goals and work together in the future, so the Vietnam War experience is not repeated. This was another example of VVA taking the leadership role in our most-solemn commitment that was facilitated by POW-MIA Committee Chair Grant Coates and Communications Director Mokie Porter.

I wish that the government bureaucrats were playing nicely with each other on the POW/MIA issue. But unfortunately, some things remain the same, no matter how many resources Congress throws in to fix this long-delayed situation. I can say that if the spirit of cooperation displayed by this informal coalition is channeled correctly, and egos are put aside, that collectively and cooperatively we can overwhelm those bureaucrats and make faster progress on MIA recoveries in Southeast Asia.

The clock is ticking, and we must use what time we have left to support POW-MIA families depending on VVA for resolution, closure, and peace.


At the 2023 VVA National Convention in Orlando, the delegates voted on a series of actions on implementing a Strategic Plan for the Dissolution of VVA and our state councils and chapters. That included agreeing to set up a Legacy Taskforce and the requirement for me to name a committee chair.

In October, I selected—and the Board of Directors approved—Jack Devine, a former VVA National Vice President and long-term Board member, to fill that position. The plan itself will be presented to delegates at the 2027 National Convention.

The officers and staff leadership are working with Jack Devine on choosing the members of the Taskforce. We will have more information on that in the next edition of The Veteran.




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Geoffrey Clifford Mark F. Erickson Chuck Forsman