Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A message from Bob Jones

The Gathering of Bikes that took place in DC over Memorial Day weekend started in 1988 and is said to have had 2,500 bikes involved. Over this past weekend the Park Service estimated the number at 900,000 on behalf of POW/MIA awareness of all Wars and other Veteran issues.

The Freedom Ride that started out in this area 22 years ago had 50 bikers involved. Over the years the largest number recorded has been about 1,800 bikes involved with over 3,000 people at Hesky Park for the POW/MIA awareness Vigil at 7 pm. The POW/MIA issue is one of Faith, Trust, Responsibility and Accountability. We hear much discussion whether we as a nation are or are not at War. If you are a soldier man or woman in harm's way, you are at War on a daily basis. If an American soldier should become captive they should be considered POW from day one, Not Captive, Detainee or held Hostage. Terminology means a great deal and  erasing that POW by changing terminology is a disgrace.

Those whom serve in uniform and become captive can be assured(as well as their families) that there are those who will stand and continue to stand by their side and do everything in their power to bring awareness to their plight. 'without question' as well as upon their return to the country and people they serve. Let Us Not Forget is the code we live by.

AF Col. Patricia Blassie will be the guest speaker at this year's Vigil. All information on Col. Blassie, the Freedom Ride, Vigil is on our web site at… numbers make the difference and with the involvement of ALL , Veterans and Non-Veterans this year will be the largest gathering ever in the northeast.

Bob Jones, Northeast POW/MIA Network

Friday, May 15, 2015

Last soldier buried in Tomb of the Unknows wasn't unknown ~ Lt. Michael Blassie

“We wanted to know what happened to Michael. But finally finding out was a shock,” says Patricia Blassie, sister of Lt. Michael Blassie, who died in the Vietnam War in 1972.

 Last soldier buried in Tomb of the Unknowns wasn’t unknown

Colonel Patricia S. Blassie, USAF to be guest speaker at the 2015 Freedom Ride

Biography of
Colonel Patricia S. Blassie

Col. Patricia S. Blassie is Chief, Senior Leader Management for the Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.  Colonel Blassie has served in various positions, to include Commander, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.; Executive Officer to the Chief of Air Force Reserve and Commander Air Force Reserve Command; and served twice as a Mission Support Group Commander both at the 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Penn., and the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Andrews AFB, Md.  After serving 11 years as an enlisted member attaining the rank of Master Sergeant, Colonel Blassie received a direct commission through the Deserving Airman’s Program in 1989.  Her collective years of service totals 37 years.

Colonel Blassie was the principal advisor to her family in the identification of her brother 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie. On Memorial Day 1984 and unbeknownst to the Blassie Family, Lieutenant Blassie was interred as the Vietnam Unknown Soldier, Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery, Va. He was disinterred from the Tomb in May 1998, identified by DNA testing and brought home to his final resting place at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo, on July 11, 1998.

1984 Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications, University of Missouri, St. Louis
1993 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
2001 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2005 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., in-residence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 Masters of Strategic Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Good Conduct Medal
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Second Lieutenant – April 1989
First Lieutenant – May 1991
Captain – August 1993
Major – August 1998
Lt Colonel – September 2002
Colonel – February 2006


Air Force Colonel Patricia S. Blassie will speak at the Freedom Ride on Thursday, June 18, 2015 to discuss her family’s fight to find her brother, 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie, and bring him home, 26 years after his A-37 aircraft was shot down on May 11, 1972 in one of the most intense battles of the Vietnam War, Operation Linebacker 1.

Colonel Patricia Blassie’s interest in and devotion to the POW/MIA issue is reflected in her family’s quest to find the remains of her brother, 1st Lt. Colonel Michael J. Blassie. From the time Michael Blassie was shot down in South Vietnam in 1972 until his remains were disinterred from the Tomb of the Unknowns in 1998, the Blassie family never lost sight of their goal: find Michael Blassie and bring him home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

POW/MIA Place Setting Remembrance Service

MC1: "Tonight we have some honored guests who can not be with us. so we remember them in in this way." (Three raps of the gavel) All rise. "Gentlemen, please uncover " (If not already uncovered)
"Please direct your attention to the place setting in front of the podium, as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POW/MIAs still unaccounted for from all foreign conflicts. Accordingly at this time the Sgt-at-Arms will advance to light the candle "
(The Sgt-at-Arms slowly advances toward the table setting where he will pause and wait for the que, "As the Sgt-at-Arms lights the candle" given by the MC.)
MC1: "A reminder for us all to spare no effort to secure the release of any American prisoners from captivity, the repatriation of the remains of those who died bravely in defense of liberty, and a full accounting of those missing in action. As the Sgt-at-Arms lights the candle I will explain the symbolism of the POW/MIA Place Setting."
(The Sgt-at-Arms slowly executes the lighting of the candle, comes to attention, turns to face the POW/MIA chair and executes slow salute. (NOTE.- Slow salute will be timed to end as the MC says "The chair.")
MC2: "The table"
MC1: "The table is small, symbolizing the helplessness of one person. alone against his oppressors."
MC2: "The cloth."
MC1: "The table cloth is white for the purity of their intentions in responding to their Country's call to arms.
MC2: "The bread plate."
MC1: "A slice of lemon is on the bread plate to reinind us of their bitter fate, and there is salt, symbolic of the tears shed by those who wait."
MC2: "The rose."
MC1: "The single red rose in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones who have kept faith, awaiting the return of our POW/MIAs"
MC2: "The ribbon."
MC1: "The yellow ribbon, tied so prominently around the vase, represents the yellow ribbon worn upon the lapels and breasts of thousands who bear witness to our Nations' unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our POW/MIAs."
MC2: "The Candle."
MC1: "The candle is the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, out of the hands of their oppressors and into the arms of a grateful Nation."
MC2: "The glass."
MC1: "The glass is inverted, for they can not toast with us tonight."
MC2: "The chair."
MC1: "The chair is empty, for they are not here."
(The Sgt-at-Arms turns to face the candle.)
MC1: "Remember, we all called them comrades, brothers, sisters and friends. Do not let them be forgotten, for surely they have not forgotten us. We will now pause for a moment of silence in honor of our Prisoners of War and Missing in Action."
(Sgt-at-Arms observes moment of silence, executes about face and returns to his station.)
(NOTE: - MC1 and MC2 may be combined for one speaker or expanded up to include MC9 to facilitate wider participation by the membership. The POW/MIA chair cover, or flag must be in place prior to beginning Place Setting ceremony.)
White metal folding chairSmall table
White table clothBud vase
White candleCandle holder
Red rose (fresh if possible)Yellow ribbon
POW/MIA chair cover (or Flag)Wine glass
Dinner plateCup and saucer
Bread/salad plateFlatware
Lemon wedgeSalt


1,627 Americans are now listed by DoD as missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War: Vietnam – 1,267 (VN-465 VS-802); Laos–304; Cambodia-49; Peoples Republic of China territorial waters–7.  (These numbers occasionally fluctuate due to investigations resulting in changed locations of loss.)  The League seeks the fullest possible accounting for those still missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains.  The League’s highest priority is accounting for Americans last known alive. Official intelligence indicates that Americans known to be in captivity in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were not returned at the end of the war.  In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it must be assumed that these Americans could still be alive, and the US Government should not rule out that possibility.

Historically, Vietnam established a comprehensive wartime and post-war process to collect and retain information and remains; thus, unilateral efforts by them to locate and return remains and provide records offered significant potential.  Vietnam has taken many unilateral actions that are welcome and appreciated, but more can and should be done.  Gradually, Vietnam has increased implementation of earlier commitments to provide long-sought archival records with relevant, case-related information, thanks in large part to improvement of working-level efforts, but also increased higher level interventions when needed.  Recent actions offer real promise for increased success. First undertaken in northern Vietnam in 1985, joint field operations have dramatically changed and are now increasingly effective.  Vietnamese officials are participating with greater seriousness and professionalism, achieving increased results.  The process now includes both US-led Joint Excavation Teams and Vietnamese Recovery Teams (VRTs), led by Vietnamese and comprised of fewer US personnel.  This formula allows a greater number of teams to “increase the pace and scope of field operations,” as requested by Vietnam during discussions since 2009.  Due to increased military-to-military cooperation, US Navy assets are increasingly allowed to participate in underwater survey and recovery operations.  These steps, long advocated by the League, are now coming to fruition and are routinely raised by US officials at all levels.

After a rough period, joint field operations in Laos are now increasingly productive, even though more difficult than elsewhere.  Accounting efforts had slowed due to Lao Government attempts to over-price payment for helicopter support and deny permission for ground transportation to accessible incident sites.  Laos is now showing greater flexibility, earlier increased the number of US personnel permitted in-country, is allowing ground transportation to accessible sites, and has renewed a business license to a foreign company to provide reliable, smaller helicopter support.  When helpful, Vietnamese witnesses are also allowed to participate in joint US-Lao operations. Fairly recently, the Lao Government finally agreed to permit the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA’s) Stony Beach POW/MIA specialist to operate outside the confines of scheduled Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) field operations; however, despite strong support from, and interventions by, the US Ambassador, there are still some logistics challenges that must be addressed and resolved.

Related to DIA’s Stony Beach Team, one Stony Beach Cambodia specialist works full time at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, and research and field operations in Cambodia have received excellent support.  Two Stony Beach personnel have for years rotated on temporary duty in and out of Vietnam, collecting information via archival research and interviews of potential witnesses.  Vietnam was long ago requested to permit, and is still reportedly considering, permanent status for these two POW/MIA specialists.  Successive US Ambassadors have strongly supported this important move, but increases in bilateral military relations should be sufficient to overcome any reluctance.  The US Ambassador to Laos has also supported full use of the Lao specialist.  It is hoped that the expanded bilateral relationships with Laos and Vietnam will mean these positive decisions will not be further delayed.  All of the Stony Beach specialists are sorely needed to augment the investigation process and to facilitate locating additional incident sites for follow-up recoveries.

The greatest obstacle to increasing accounting efforts in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and worldwide are 1) too few qualified scientists to lead recovery teams; and 2) unreliable funding that has caused US cancellation of scheduled operations, thus sending mixed, negative signals to foreign governments and counterpart officials.  These problems are reportedly being addressed by the “complete reorganization” directed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.  Over 80% of US losses in Laos and 90% in Cambodia occurred in areas where Vietnam’s forces operated during the war.  Vietnam’s expanded provision of helpful records, further archival research, interviews and field operations are the core means to expand accounting for Vietnam War missing personnel.  Improved investigation efforts may enable significant gaps in information to be filled.

National League of POW/MIA Families 

Save The Date ~ Freedom Ride

"As an American asked to serve, I was prepared to fight, 
to be wounded,to be captured and even prepared to die, 
but I was not prepared to be abandoned."

(Former POW Eugene "Red" McDaniel - Source: 

NH Freedom Ride ~ June 18, 2015
22nd Anniversary of the Freedom Ride
27th Anniversary of the Vigil 

Hesky Park "The Rock" Meredith, NH 

”Ride to the Rock”

Have YOU contacted your legislative leaders concerning the terminology?

Have YOU asked them to account for our POW/MIAs?

Information can be found on the website:

Rolling Thunder NH1 will be assisting with the lineup at Lowe’s

Anyone riding should plan on being at Lowe's, 1407 Lake Shore Road [formerly K-Mart Plaza] in Gilford. Plan on being there by *6:00pm ~ lineup is at 6:00pm and we will be leaving the parking lot by 6:15pm with a state trooper escort down route 3 to “The Rock” Hesky Park. We need to arrive at Hesky Park and be prepared for the start of the vigil at 7:00pm.

The New Hampshire Army National Guard will be joining us in support of the Northeast POW/MIA Network Freedom Ride. The National Guard Hummer will be the last vehicle in the ride following the parade of bikes to Meredith, NH.

* If you are riding with a group we ask that you arrive with the group and fall into the line up ~ we will not allow bumping in the line for safety reasons.

*No vehicles other than the hummer will be allowed to be in with the motorcycles.

Numbers and Voices are important! 
This issue belongs to EVERYONE!