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|Thanks to Joni's Patriotic Graphics.|
|SYNOPSIS: Capt. Hallie W. Smith was the pilot and 1Lt. Charles L. Bifolchi the navigator aboard an RF4C Phantom reconnaissance jet from the 16th Tactical Recon Squadron at Than Son Nhut Airbase, South Vietnam. On January 8, 1968, Smith and Bifolchi were assigned a reconnaissance mission and were en route to the target when radar and radio contact was lost in Kontum Province, South Vietnam, about 15 miles north of the city of Dak To.|
aircraft nor the crew was ever located, despite search efforts. Because of circumstances
surrounding the incident, both men were classified Missing in Action, and there is a
strong probability that the enemy knows their fates - dead or alive.
When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500 Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these "unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.
Henry Kissinger has said that the problem of unrecoverable Prisoners is an "unfortunate" byproduct of limited political engagements. This does not seem to be consistent with the high value we, as a nation, place on individual human lives. Men like Smith and Bifolchi, who went to Vietnam because their country asked it of them are too precious to the future of this nation to write them off as expendable.
Whether Smith and Bifolchi survived the downing of their aircraft to be captured is unknown. Whether they are among those said to be alive is uncertain. What seems clear, however, is that as long as even one man remains alive, held against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him home.
|Thanks to Ron Fleischer.|
|"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."|
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