Friday, June 12, 2009

U.S. Navy Ship Supports JPAC Mission in Vietnam

The oceanographic survey ship USNS Bruce C. Heezen has joined the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s (JPAC) latest mission in Vietnam, marking the first time a U.S. Navy ship has been used to search for underwater wreckage off the coast of Vietnam.

As noted by the Associated Press, nearly 1,336 U.S. servicemen are still unaccounted for in Vietnam.

A joint JPAC-Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) team embarked Heezen June 11 to investigate underwater crash sites off the Vietnam coast. The JPAC mission, the 95th in Vietnam since the 1980s, began May 25 and runs through June 24.

A June 8 Joint Statement on U.S.-Vietnam Political, Security and Defense Dialogue released by the U.S. State Department highlights the increasingly cooperative relationships between the U.S. and Vietnam.

Likewise, U.S. Pacific Command’s military-to-military relationship with Vietnam continues to grow. As recently as last week, a delegation from Vietnam visited Hawaii to observe a hurricane response exercise and meet with Pacific military leaders. This week, three Vietnamese Navy officers are observing the Singapore phase of the maritime security exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

Heezen’s participation in JPAC’s mission in Vietnam is the latest example of expanding cooperation, and could significantly speed up the discovery of crash sites, according to a JPAC news release.


ralcarbo said...

Has the search found anything yet?

Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie L. Carl said...

Thanks for your interest! This mission is a little bit different, in that it is not a recovery mission, but actually an underwater investigative mission. At this point in time, the technologies aboard USNS Bruce C. Heezen have been successful in locating suspected crash sites that can be used to draw correlations to events. Once the investigative mission is complete, the JPAC team will review all these correlations to determine whether they have enough evidence to support a recovery mission in the area.

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