Are there any Vietnam War-era POWs still alive in Laos? – A trip to Sam Neua and Vieng Xai Caves.

Are there any Vietnam War-era POWs still alive in Laos? – A trip to Sam Neua and Vieng Xai Caves.

Above Photo: Satellite photo of a ‘Walking K’ sign in a rice field in northern Laos by a US Satellite in 1988. (US Govt. Photo)

I am writing this in a tiny town in Northern Laos called Sam Neua, where I have come to do some research on the Vietnam War for a novel I’m writing about a Special Forces mission to the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Southern Laos, interwoven with a modern-day backpacker jungle story, which I feel eminently qualified to write, given the experiences I usually have on these trips.

Sam Neua POW Central BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Sam Neua town centre at 9am.

As part of my book research I have been reading with great interest the online debates about whether there were any American prisoners of war left behind in Laos after the US pulled out in 1973, and if so, whether any of them are still alive today.

It remains a fact that no POW taken by the Pathet Lao was ever released by the Laotian government. A couple escaped from captivity, some, who had been sent to North Vietnam, were released in Operation Homecoming in 1973, but what happened to the rest, and how many were there?

That is what much of the online fighting is about.

Dieter Dengler skyraider engine crash site laos BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Laos still holds POW/MIA mysteries. The author with a previously undocumented Skyraider engine recovered from the jungles of Laos.

Were any left behind alive?

Signs and signals such as the one at the top of this article (which I discuss below), have been spotted over the years in Laos, communications have been intercepted, and while there are many claims, sightings and rumours of men who were left behind and living in captivity in the Laotian jungle after the war, the official US position, for example the findings of the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs, seems to be that there has been no concrete evidence produced to back up these claims. To which, opponents inevitably cry, “Cover Up!”

Whilst there may be no irrefutable, concrete proof, to my mind there is plenty of circumstantial evidence indicating that some people were left behind, and that they were alive into the late 1980s, but when you start trying to sift through the evidence and begin reading the claims and counter-claims, you usually end up bamboozled on swivel-eyed conspiracy theory websites, not really sure who or what to believe.

As of 19 September 2012, the Defense Prisoner of War – Missing Personnel Office of the Department of Defense gave a figure of 314 Americans still ‘unaccounted for’ in Laos.

I’m going to go with that figure. It is made up of 108 Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and 200 members of the Air Force, reflecting the extensive use of air power over Laos in the war.

Just because there are 314 ‘unaccounted for’ servicemen in Laos doesn’t mean they were alive after becoming unaccounted for, or that they were ever alive in the hands of Laotian forces, either before or after the war ended.

Some will have fallen into North Vietnamese hands, as they controlled much of Laos. Others will have died in plane crashes, firefights, ambushes, or while evading in the jungle, but their bodies have not yet been recovered. Yet more will have been quickly killed by their captors, a common fate for some Special Forces’ units.

I think some people mistakenly assume this ‘unaccounted for’ total is the number of servicemen somehow left behind alive in Laos.

Personally I believe some men were left behind, partly from my own hearsay conversations with people in Laos, and for me at least, simply on the balance of probabilities.

I cannot believe every living POW was handed over by the badly organized Pathet Lao to the North Vietnamese in 1973. The US were in a rush to disentangle from Vietnam, it was trying to deal with the North Vietnamese, and through them, the Pathet Lao, who themselves can’t possibly have known what was going on in every corner of the far-flung jungle, and where every POW was at that time. They hadn’t even taken control of the whole country themselves by then.

In such circumstances it cannot be unreasonable to believe that some men were left behind in Laos at the end of the war.

A JPAC helicopter in the Laotian jungle BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

A JPAC helicopter in the Laotian jungle as a remote crash site is located. (JPAC Photo)

How many were left behind?

Who knows, but probably not the hundreds I sometimes see quoted, which may simply be the result of a mistaken reading of the ‘unaccounted for’ figures I mention above. The real figure is anybody’s guess.

Even one man left behind is a terrible statistic, considering the fate of anyone abandoned in Laos after the war, and I’m pretty sure there were a lot more than one left behind in that jungle.

Some commentators such as Joe Schlatter, a retired US Army colonel, in this entertaining, robustly-written, highly abrasive but well-researched and well-argued site, have comprehensively rubbished the view that ANY servicemen were ‘left behind’ alive in Laos or anywhere else for that matter.

His is the best site to go to for debunking some of the more bizarre conspiracy theories about POWs in Laos, although he admits himself he writes in a controversial style, which some may not appreciate, and which may sometimes prevent his message getting across to a wider audience.

Other sites exist where all kinds of claims are made and documents produced by people who genuinely and sincerely believe that many men – perhaps hundreds – were indeed abandoned by the US in Laos, and that official cover-ups have gone on ever since.

I provide links to three of these sites below, two of which coincidentally contain claims about two of the POWs I feature later in this article, when I talk about my Vieng Xai Caves visit.

I don’t endorse these sites; I just offer them as examples of sites where strong claims are made by committed people that POWs were left behind in Laos after the war, and that many sightings occurred, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, and that some may still be alive today.

These sites are:

Karst mountains near Nhommarath in Laos BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Karst mountains near Nhommarath in Laos – scene of another positive sighting of POWs, in 1981.

Are they still alive?

As convinced as I am that some men were left behind in Laos after the Vietnam War ended, regrettably I believe there are now absolutely NO POWs remaining alive in Laos, or none that the Laotian government knows of, which is a very important qualification, as I witnessed something here on my present trip which strongly supports this view, and which I will write about once I have done more investigating and research into it.

It is true to say that the US still regularly receives reports of sightings of foreigners, alleged to be POWs, in the jungles and prisons of Laos and throughout south-east Asia. Upon investigation they often turn out to be real people, only not real POWs. They are found to be convicts, missionaries, aid workers or recluses living in the jungle.

Unfortunately there have been no recently reported credible sightings of alleged POWs still alive in Laos; you have to go back to the 1980s or early 1990s for the ‘latest’ ones I am aware of, and, as I say, I am now convinced none remain alive, or none the Laotian government knows about, at any rate.

Sam Neua and the Walking K Sign

USA and Walking K sign, Sam Neua BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

USA and Walking K sign, Sam Neua. POW signals?

Where I am now, in Sam Neau, Laos, is where some of the last credible evidence of POWs still alive long after the war was seen, and having journeyed here, I can see how that might have been possible, because Sam Neua is a remote, mountainous, inaccessible province, much of it covered in dense jungle.

To get here took a nine hour bus ride across mountains from the nearest main town, Phonsavan.

It was in Sam Neua that the above photograph was taken by a US spy satellite in 1988, fifteen years after the US had ended its involvement in the war. Etched into a rice paddy, this enormous sign contained the words ‘USA’ as well as a highly classified code, a ‘Walking K’ which would have only been known to US servicemen. It was built to be seen from the air, the ‘USA’ figures measuring 37.5 feet wide and 12.5 feet long.

It was only identified a year after the photograph was taken, and in the Report of the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs, issued in 1993, it was suggested it might have been the result of a child fooling around in a rice paddy and copying lettering he had seen on a stamp sent from his relatives in the USA, which is what a farmer and his son allegedly said when a team allegedly visited the site in 1992 and allegedly talked to locals.

One thing I can say with some certainty following my visit here is that farming kids in this dirt-poor province wouldn’t be able to write English that well, and they certainly wouldn’t be messing around in a rice paddy; they’d be working in it and getting their arses kicked by their parents if they tried to execute such pointless artistry when they should be doing something more economically productive to keep the family alive.

Such foolish desecration of a rice paddy by a child, as suggested in the Report as an explanation for this sign, is ludicrous and absolutely impossible for me to believe, having been here.

I have no doubt at all, that sign was a genuine cry for help from a POW who was alive long after the war and who was incarcerated in remote Sam Neua Province.

Can I prove it? No. But I have no doubt about it at all.

POWs in Vieng Xai Caves

The POW cave mountains Vieng Xai BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

The cave mountains seen from the centre of Vieng Xai.

On this trip I wanted to get a feel for both Sam Neua and also the Pathet Lao cave complex at Vieng Xai, in Houaphan Province, where downed US pilots were actually held during the war.

The impressive cave complex in Vieng Xai lies about 30km away from Sam Neua. Set in karst mountains, at the head of a beautiful rice-growing valley, the caves housed the headquarters of the Pathet Lao forces in the war, as well as the Pathet Lao government.

Vieng Xai POW caves laos BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Part of the barracks cave in Vieng Xai, which housed up to 2,000 troops.

There are hundreds of caves in the mountains, but only a few have been opened for tourism, including a barracks cave, a vast complex which could house 2,000 troops. The caves were bombed by US planes every day for nine years.

Vieng Xai interested me after reading well-documented reports of POWs being held in the caves during the war.

A tunnel in the barracks cave complex at Vieng Xai BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

A tunnel in the barracks cave complex at Vieng Xai.

Vieg Xai POW rescue attempt BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

One that got away – I was told by our guide that across the field shown on the above photograph, which I took from a former AAA gun position at the caves, a US plane was shot down early in the war. The pilot landed safely and took cover in a hole. Seeing this, the Pathet Lao forces left their anti-aircraft guns and rushed to capture him, “hitting him with sticks” because he wouldn’t come out of the hole. Suddenly a search and rescue chopper appeared, shot up his attackers and rescued the pilot. The defenders said they learned a lesson from this – don’t abandon the guns, ever!

 On the commentary, which we listened to through headphones as we walked through the caves, a chilling tale was told in a disarming way about a downed pilot held at Vieng Xai.
Inside the hospital cave at Vieng Xai. BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Inside the hospital cave at Vieng Xai. I was told Cuban doctors had worked here during the war.

The commentary said Pathet Lao forces had captured an “English-speaking bomber pilot” who told them his mission was to look for ducks and chickens and to bomb wherever he saw them. As a result of this, the Pathet Lao ordered all ducks, and white and red chickens to be killed around Vieng Xai, believing they could be seen from high above and bring down bombs on them (the fact the caves were well-known and bombed every day in any event seems to have escaped them).

The commentary continued: “He answered our questions truthfully,” so, given no POWs were ever returned from Laos, you have to wonder what they did to him and what happened to him.

And, of course, who this anonymous pilot was.

Well-Known POWs in Vieng Xai’s Caves

On the way to Vieng Xai POW caves BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

On the way to Vieng Xai – more mountains and jungle.

It is well-documented that some downed US fliers were held in the Vieng Xai caves. Captain (as he then was) Charles Ervin Shelton for one, about whom you can read more details here ( and (as he then was) Captain David Louis Hrdlicka ( I can’t vouch for all the information and claims on these sites, but they give a good account of how the pilots were shot down and captured, then held in the caves.

I asked the guide what they did with captured pilots during the war and he said they were held in a prison cave in the Vieng Xai complex, close to the Vietnamese border.

Again, none were ever returned, and I wonder whether US forensic teams have ever identified the prison cave and been into it to do whatever they can, if anything, after all this time, to ascertain if any DNA traces or other evidence remains of people who were incarcerated there.

POW caves and MIA prisoners vientam war laos BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Room with double blast doors built into a cave.

I went into a concrete emergency room in one cave, protected by two thick steel blast doors, and asked to be closed in. Standing alone in total silence in the clammy, damp darkness of that confined space inevitably made me think of those who had spent much longer locked up in the caves of Vieng Xai, and I was much relieved to be let out.

Others weren’t so lucky.

Final Reflection on Sam Neua

Sunrise over Sam Neua town POWs and MIAs in laos BACK vietnam war modern backpackers in asia crossover novel disappearances in laos jungles POWs MIA missing Vietnam war mysteries and jungle secrets khmer rouge abductions Vietnam war north Vietnamese army

Sunrise over Sam Neua town.

Tonight is our last night. Earlier we walked through the centre of town. It was 9pm and everything was closed, most people were in bed, and nobody else was walking around.

Out of nowhere we were surprised to see a small flower boat with a candle flickering on it, sailing down the river which runs through the centre of town. The small candle flame stood out incongruously against the massive blackness of the fast-flowing river.

We stopped to watch it sail by, then float out of sight, the weak light still flickering in the darkness as it disappeared.

It felt like a very poignant end to our trip.

For a modern-day take on the Vietnam War and Adventure Backpacking into the jungles of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, see:

I have also posted a video of my visit to the Vieng Xai caves here:

© Peter Alan Lloyd

BACK Parts 1 and 2:

Reviews: Customer Reviews 

UK: BACK Parts 1 and 2 

US: Amazon: Back Parts 1 and 2

Smashwords: Back Parts 1 and 2



Twitter: @PeterAlanLloyd

Location of Sam Neua and Vieng Xai, both in the red circle

Location of Sam Neua and Vieng Xai, both in the red circle

Front cover of BACK Part 1.

Front cover of BACK Part 1.

Front cover of BACK Part 2.

Front cover of BACK Part 2.



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  1. New Orleans Mom

    Both interesting and terribly sad. This is alway a difficult topic. I used to often think about soldiers left behind and can’t imagine this happening to any person. As a young girl I remember watching the news nightly and crying for those in harms way. That war changed the lives of so many, I think, even those of us not there. Had several in our family who proudly served their country during the Vietnam war-era. After 3 tours my uncle was never quite the same and he will always be my hero. My thoughts and continued prayers to families of MIA servicemen.

    Thank you for sharing your findings and to all of the brave men and women who have served and are now serving this great country we sincerely thank you for your service.
    God bless you.

  2. Beth

    Thank you. You answered a lot of questions I had. So sad…some of these men could have been my Father’s friends lost on missions while he was in Viet Nam. He died of agent-orange related cancer almost ten years ago.

  3. Steve

    If the us new there was pow there in the 70s and 80s what the hell was our government thinking leaving them there we’ll I guess that was the thanks for fighting for the wonderful USA great

  4. kynan

    can u travel to vietnam is there still pows there ?

    • Peter Alan Lloyd

      Yes Kynan, you can easily travel to Vietnam, and I have been doing it since 1992. I don’t believe there are any POWs alive in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia now, unfortunately, but I have no doubt that many were left behind after the war and my novel BACK deals with what might have happened to them.

  5. kynan

    okay thanks and it very sad to me us left there men behide they didnt ask to be sent there they where told to go there i am only 22 and break into tears every time think of those soldiers and pilots that were abandon by there country

  6. kynan

    i also believe that us should recover all bodies or pay the familes and children never got no there brother there uncles there grandpas because a country left them there the only reason bands and armed guard welcome troops home all the wars after Vietnam is cause they are embarrass what they welcome home Vietnam troops coming home after the war i would like go to laos and Cambodia one day to justblook around for few weeks but i will mot probably

  7. Yolanda van der Puyl

    Sir… I emailed you. After this post I’m buying the book ASAP. I AM A BELIEVER THAT OUR BOYS WERE LEFT BEHIND BY OUR COUNTRY…..

    • Yolanda van der Puyl

      As sneaky and vicious Cong was during the War to our POW-MIA’s, I will always believe there are boys still in Nam. Cave of bones and dogtags are known by older Vietnamese people who are scared shitless to speak out. Really… Those bones they returned to the Military lack dirt, injuries to bones. Knowing the Military left our boys behind makes me wanna puke everytime I think of SSgt. James M. Ray R.I POW since 68 and all the fathers, brothers, cousins, nephews, etc.

  8. Mike G

    I wish I could find someone or a company that would finance myself and others, to set up an office in Vietnam to carry out these searches, and bring back those be them alive or dead back to the United States,

    • Yolanda van der Puyl

      I too would love to go to NAM and search for our boys. The only guys that can help, locate, etc, are ex POWS and SM Billy Waugh. We have many websites that expose trash never been in the military or Nam. The United States Military owes the boys left behind, their family and friends to set up a Operation Bring Our Boys Home. All they give a ratsass about is where are we sending our troops to now.

  9. Chad Classen

    I’d go.So sad our government doesn’t do anything.

  10. Recent visitor

    Mythology to try, somehow, to make the Viet Nam war more palatable to Americans who need to believe they were the good guys. Manipulative propaganda to conceal the reality of our involvement in the war.

    • Chris

      While I agree with you that the Vietnam war was wrong (even a war crime in itself), those who were drafted had no choice. I highly doubt many of them wanted to go. Regardless of the reasoning behind the war, their families deserve to lay them to rest.

  11. Ryan

    your a jackass. Regardless who was right or wrong young men went to war because they were ordered to do so by their country. Ou speak of good guys….. We’re the Vietnamese ?? Laus,?? Ya sure good guys always break international laws but violating the Geneva convention, let alone other attrocities. Bottom lone regardless of which side was wrong young men,.. Sons and husbands and dads endured the worst possible life imaginable that no person should ever experience. Your a tool.

    • Yolanda Rebel van der Puyl

      10-4 RYAN! RECENT visitor is a JACKASS. My two children (36 & 39) and my only grandchild, Papozz still wear bracelets for PFC promoted twice for escaping SSgt James M Ray R.I. I got his bracelet in San Francisco when I ran away from home to protest our son’s, brothers and friends dying as TEENAGERS, who were drafted or joined. Either way, Jimmy is still not home. When he does, I’ll be in Arlington to lay our bracelets and my files on his casket. The gold bracelet I had made will be passed on to his siblings Charles and Maureen.

      My papa was a Amsterdam Freedom Fighter from age 13 -19. It started out getting messages to and from other Fighter Teams. Then the Nazis were ordering Jewish families, single men and women to get to the train station to work (to their deaths). Papas best friend David was Jewish. After a day of ruff housing in the woods, they went to Davids house and found the front door open. Scared to go in, they ran to my grandparents house and they went to see. The neighbors said they were put in trucks and going to the train station. My Opa went inside and told David to get pictures and stuff he wanted before the house got looted. My Oma heard a baby cry and ran upstairs and found his baby sister hidden in a clothes basket. Opa said his mother probably hid her there knowing that David would find her. My Oma had a baby that died a few days later and with a forged birth certificate raised her until the war was over. That’s when the joined the underground. After the war was over my papa gave fake info to join the Dutch Military and fought in Indonesia. After that one he joined the Israeli Massod hunting for the nazis and collaborator who helped the nazis. Papa kept a journal of people who were killed by nazis. I was born nine years after the war ended. Papa kept searching. When I was five I woke up on a ship my papa said to America. I was eight when he shared the horror he saw, the Jewish he hid, the nazis he killed. He told me don’t forget anything that I tell you. We must never forget. Papa never saw his family again and we grew up without grandparents, aunts’,uncles, nieces, nephews or cousins. I had nightmares about the stories he told me, but papa said that’s good, so you remember. My children were teenagers when I told the stories with papa and their friends wanted to hear stories from papa. The more that know the less that forget.
      The Vietnamese are just as cruel as nazis and others that don’t abide by the Geneva Conventions Rules and laws. Too many young people died during the war in Nam. Those whose bodies have not been recovered or identified” Continue To Serve Our Country Until Their Buried In American Soil WITH PRIDE.


      GOD Bless you Jimmy Ray

      • Ryan

        I’m not even American. I’m Canadian. But I love my brothers and sisters to the south. I’m a patriot. I feel for those soldiers. Think about thrm often. That visitor is a total jackass. Send him to a country where the army doesn’t protect your way of life. Which ever life you may choose and follow and have te right to think and be what you want. I’m
        Not saying that’s what nam was about. But all those jackasses bitch about the military freedom of this freedom of that. How do you think those freedoms were secured???? Then have the audacity to speak of brave men and women who just followed orders and did their duty honourably like that???? Do us all a favour VISITOR go find some third world country to preach in. We aren’t interested in NORTH AMERICA

      • Erwin Alan

        Impressive Yolanda,
        Tx! Best from Holland

        • Reb

          I just recently received my papas Military records, medals and ribbons. To my absolute Shock, the stories my papa shared with me since eight and I started to write in journals, all have been verified by the Dutch, American and Israeli Mossad. How would I possibly know the names of downed pilots my papa helped smuggle out of Holland to Belgium? My papa told me. I was informed that next summer/fall I will be flown to the Netherlands and in papas name posthumously receive the other medals for his great antics as a teenage freedom fighter. FINALLY MY PAPA IS VINDICATED …THE DUTCH CROSS OF RESISTANCE is worth all the investigation, verification, slaps in my face and loss of my oldest sister, who should be the one to receive them in his name.

  12. Peter Alan Lloyd

    For the record I welcome pro and anti-Vietnam War comments on this site so long as they’re reasonably expressed and (above all) interesting.

    The comments under this post are now getting too far away from the subject matter of the article so I won’t put up any more that don’t directly relate to issues raised in the article.


  13. Marianne H. Kennedy

    Your dedication to research is so appreciated! One can feel so much and get a realistic impression of what that situation was like through your words and photos. Thank you for your skill at being sensitive and compassionate without being dramatic. Truly fascinating work that gives your views credibility. I am certain those affected appreciate reasoning applied to facts that produce sensible conclusions. M Hall Kennedy

    • Peter Alan Lloyd

      Thanks for your comments Marianne – it’s certainly poignant visiting these places in Laos, especially knowing their war history.

  14. wilson

    Such a sham war. The u.s. government sending troops in to a war based on lies.w And then the government does nothing to bring the missing back. Shame on them. I think this was the beginning of the people’s absolute distrust and disdain of the u.s. government. How can you trust a government that does that?

    • Joni

      US government spends millions of dollars every year to find MIAs in SE-Asia. Somehow people often mistake that MIA means POW. Most who went missing died in the incident. Weapons of war make terrible things to a human body. If a body is shredded or it vanishes in huge explosion,that makes a soldier MIA.Good luck in finding bring home.

  15. Yolanda Rebel van der Puyl

    Lying and leaving our boys behind is typically a bullshit reply from the military and Government. Now we also deal with STOLEN VALOR PERPETRATORS’ who basically crap on those that died or were left behind. WE CAN’T FORGET OR FORGIVE. If you suspect anyone of lying about where they served or their story sounds them to Thisain’ In my birth county our motto is FIGHT FOR THE DEAD

  16. William A. Boyd

    Tremendously inciteful reading . Thank you Mr. Lloyd. Bill Boyd.( VIETNAM and CAMBODIA veteran )

  17. Pam

    I have always thought that where there is a will there is a way to get through to people, if this was old it would totally be over grown and not visible, .I would totally stay on this MAYBE someone will listen.

  18. Karen West Michigan

    My dad (85 years old) knew Captain Hrdlicka. I believe he and my dad were in the same fighter squadron. My dad took a group photo which included Captain Hrdlicka. It was taken just months before he was shot down. Dad showed me an article which included a picture of Capt. Hrdlicka being led somewhere by his captors. The photo is most likely in the link which you gave in your article. Capt. Hrdlicka’s wife remained vigilant and very involved in trying to get the government to take action to try to find him. I wrote to the government around 2010 giving the information I had and requesting that they reopen their investigation (Capt. Hrdlicka’s wife had passed away by then). The letter I received back stated that they could not grant my request due to lack of information provided (by me). That generic response to my letter regarding a POW situation well known thanks to his wife’s ceaseless involvement left me with a bad taste in my mouth for some of the leaders in office at that time.

    • Jeanie Schumacher

      Capt. Hrdlicka’s wife, Carol, has not passed away. Her story is a long one that began the day she was told he was KIA only to see him in the captured photo months later. Our men were used as pawns to extract money from the US government in the years that followed. Carol Hrdlicka is still vigilantly searching for her husband and has recently requested this petition be signed. She needs only 100 more. Spread the word. Here is her story and a link to the petition.

      Her son Damian, passed away last year; he was a pilot, skydiver, adventurer…. He was a toddler when his father went missing so this search and the photos are all he knew of his dad.
      Carol would probably love to see the photo your father took if she hasn’t already.
      Please sing the petition and spread the word.

  19. Jeanie Schumacher

    Carol Hrdlicka’s website is difficult to navigate. Please look at the timeline and sign the petition. We need to bring them home…

  20. Yang

    Please give me a call about the POW MIA in Laos. Know some have reliable information about POW. Speak to Yang

    • Rebel

      Contact me at my email address and we can talk. I know about the CAVE OF BONES

    • jeanie Schumacher

      How can you be contacted? Find Carol Hrdlicka on her website searching for information regarding her lost husban .

      • Peter Alan Lloyd

        Thanks Jeanie – she’s apparently aware of this article, but many thanks for your concern.

  21. Ryan

    It makes me sick those men were left behind. They did their duty and were thrown away like trash. Who knows how many years of worse then hell was their reward. So sad. I’m not even a US citizen I’m Canadian. But I love my American brothers and sisters to the south. I’m not a soldier either. But I would fight for my country.

  22. Gabe

    I am not up to date on this as most of you are! And from what I’m reading I believe that there are POWS left over there “somewhere”! But what I just don’t get and maybe someone could help. With all the technology and people and money and ETC! And mainly people who really want answers like we do. How do you think really hasn’t came up, how has someone not brought forth hard, hard evidence of our troops still there, either dead or alive. And also can someone give me a good link to look into about any of the last sightings or stories from that area about any troops left there!

    Thank this was very interesting site! Info was great, and it made want to read everything!

  23. ipah77beb

    Of course there isn’t any alive POWS left because the gov didn’t do anything when they were still alive, they probably all died off in the 90s.


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