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Welcome to the Operation Just Cause
First Time Builders Page - Step Two Resource Info
Researching Your POW/MIA
The best remembrance pages are those which incorporate a little extra information and put a human face on the man who you are writing about. To that end, you may choose to do some further research on your adoptee. This page will give you a few beginning tips on how to search for further information. We want to stress that this is not required, but it does add that human touch, and will make your tribute unique.
Utilizing Casualty Search EnginesSpecial casualty search pages are available which make use of database search engines to crunch the Combat Area Current Casualty File. The CACCF is a list of names and associated information about the men who were lost. It was created from several data sources after the war to compile the names for the Wall in Washington DC.
Many people who appear in the file were POW/MIAs and were officially 'scrubbed' from the list of MIAs and administratively declared dead.
One of the best CACCF search engines is the No-Quarter search site. Even if you are not doing extra research we encourage a visit the No-Quarter Vietnam Wall Search page. This resource can present you with the information the United States government supplies about the men. Not only that, but you can also search for the other men described in the incident, people from your adoptee's hometown, or any other number of things using the No-Quarter database search.
If you 'play' with the database search engine, you can find many different ways to search for interesting facts. Use your imagination, you can find all kinds of interesting correlations and facts.
Utilizing World Wide Web Search Engines
Good results have also been found searching the web for the names of MIAs. Sometimes family members or news agencies will have written articles which end up on the net. Try AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, and AskJeeves. There is also an off chance that one of his buddies or family members might have posted something to usenet, (the so called internet newsgroups), in the past. Doing a search with DejaNews will help you locate any such articles.
Because of the sheer vastness of the World Wide Web, and the relative non-selectivity of most search engines, you must choose carefully the keywords which you search for. For instance if you want some information on the hometown of your MIA/POW, and he happens to have come from New York, you better find a much more specific keyword or you will be totally inundated trying to track down every instance of "New York" that search engines will return.
As a start, you might consider using any of the following while using the normal search engines.
Full Name - Unless it is John Smith, you will probably get some hits.
Hometown - If it is small, a hometown search can provide neat information.
Unit Served In - usually a great way to find references or places to link to.
MOS - Sometimes, if its an unusual one, searching the MOS will give you interesting facts about his job.
Don't be disturbed if you have a hard time with the search engines. People generally find that they either get way too much, or way too little information from them. Play with modifiers if the search engine allows for them. These allow you to exclude or include words or phrases and refine your search.
Utilizing Usenet Newsgroups To Help Your Search
Approach this group with some reverence.
You might consider keeping an eye on alt.war.vietnam on usenet. Someone may bring up your adoptee's name. Many veterans read and post to this group and stories about things that happened 'in country' are fairly common.
I have also posted general questions about an adoptee's MOS and other questions relating in a generic way to areas of operation or loss.
Another newsgroup soc.history.war.vietnam, has interesting articles from time to time and sometimes there is discussion with the vets about their experiences.
Also see above for information on using DejaNews to search for old articles.
Probably your very best reference material will come from sources that are not on the net in any significant way. These resources include libraries, newspapers, schools, personal interviews, and other similar resources.
A great place to start is the Hometown Library of the person you are researching. Small town libraries will probably be better and more willing to help you. Ask about yearbooks, and on file local newspapers or microfilm of newspapers. The librarians will know where to find these resources if they are not on file in the library. It is also very likely that small town librarians will know of any special tributes, memorials, or other civic tributes to the missing or dead of that town.
Local Newspapers are another great source of information. You can get the names of the local paper from the Librarian :-) Most newspapers keep some record, microfilm copy, or storage of their printed works for historical and reference purposes. Call the paper and explain that you are doing first hand research. Ask them any questions you may have about the town and ask them if they can reference the name of your vet to any articles that they have printed. Newspapers are very busy organizations usually, so be prepared to wait for your results and please be patient. If you present yourself well you might even get someone on the paper interested in doing a retrospective article and bringing this issue up to the general public.
Local Schools can be a source of yearbook pictures and potential interviews with teachers or other people who remember your adoptee. Be aware that there are many laws and rules that schools must follow, so if they say they are legally unable to help do not push them. Yearbooks make an excellent source for photographs of how the man looked before he entered the service.
According to Gunny, Timothy G. reported great results using the facilities of The Library Of Congress in his research. He was able to find a great deal of information including letters, official communications, and other good information on microtape. As this author understands it, you can order this information and view it at your local library. Many libraries have facilities where for a nominal charge you can get paper copy of that which is on the microtape. The following are links outside of OJC: Library Of Congress Main Page, LOC POW/MIA database, and LOC Research Tools.
Personal Interviews are a tricky subject. The potential to open old wounds and cause pain is very great. If you choose to take this course please be careful.
Sometimes war buddies can be found online or in real life. If they have a website devoted to their service, chances are pretty good that they are willing to be approached about their experiences. We suggest you don't jump right in, but introduce yourself and your purpose and ask if they mind a few questions about someone they might have known. Only after getting their acceptance would we suggest getting specific with a name and other details.
On occasion you will find a family member online or learn of their location in real life. Approaching survivors is extremely personal and very tricky. To be frank, unless you are certain beyond a doubt that the person is involved in POW/MIA issues, or is currently still attempting to locate the family member, we would not suggest approaching them. if they feel that they have had closure then bringing the issue up has the potential to cause severe emotional pain and trauma. If however they are active in the MIA issue, or actively looking for the person in question, then using the same gentle approach as described above for war buddies might be in order.
It needs to be said again:
Special Consideration: One note here, if you DO find a family member or a buddy online or elsewhere, it is imperative that you think carefully before approaching these people asking for information. Remember you are going to be asking about a very challenging area of their lives.
Other Online Net ResourcesThe following links may have places to look for information on POW/MIAs, but they are included here mostly as resources on this issue in general. They make spectacular links form your POW/MIA page.
The POW Network is a highly recommended website for further or more in depth research.
The Advocacy & Intelligence Index for Prisoners of War & Missing in Action.
The POW Forum has loads of documentation and items to help you make a case for OJC and for our missing.
The Northwest Veteran's Newsletter is a well written page speaking of all kinds of issues with a good emphasis on POW/MIA issues.
(Please Note: This list is provided only as a service to our readers and does not imply any sort of recommendation or suggestion of use. Please check carefully the terms and conditions required to use these sites. We do no guarantee that they are now, or will remain free of any fee's, terms, conditions or other considerations. Use at your own risk.)
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