As of 08/15/99 the family of James Preston has been asked to accept his
"identification" based on; part of a watch, some ammo shells, two parachute
rings, and an incomplete set of teeth of another crew member. The bone
fragments were NOT DNA tested. A group burial is being urged by the
government. Recently located documents identify live sighting reports,
various provinces of loss for crew members, and other discrepencies.
James' wife has never remarried, and his two sons and his daughter have grown
up - still awaiting the truth from government officials.
POW MISSION OF HOPE - The James Preston Case
Name: James Arthur Preston
Rank/Branch: E5/US Air Force
Unit: 4th Air Commando Squadron, DaNang Airbase, South Vietnam
Date of Birth: 10 August 1939
Home City of Record: Bowden GA
Date of Loss: 15 May 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 165800N 1060400E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AC47
Refno: 0339
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 2008.
Other Personnel In Incident: William L. Madison; Kenneth D. McKenney; George
W. Jensen; Lavern G. Reilly; Marshall L. Tapp; George W. Thompson; James E.
Williams (all missing)
SYNOPSIS: Maj. George W. Jensen was the pilot of an AC47 aircraft which
departed Ubon Air Base, Thailand on an armed visual reconnaissance mission
over Laos on May 15, 1966. His crew that day consisted of Maj. Lavern G.
Reilly, spare pilot; Capt. Marshall L. Tapp, co-pilot; 1Lt. George W.
Thompson, navigator; SSgt. James A. Preston, load master; Sgt. James E.
Williams, flight engineer; Airman 1st Class Kenneth D. McKenney and Sgt.
William L. Madison, gunners.
At 1745 hours, Jensen radioed his position, and again at 2100 hours, Jensen
radioed situation normal, with no position given, nor was the target area
specified. The aircraft's last location was over the Laotian panhandle about
15 miles due east of the city of Ban Muong Sen in Savannakhet Province.
When the aircraft failed to return to the base as scheduled, an aerial
search was conducted during the daylight hours of May 16, with negative
results. The aircraft was not found, and no evidence of the crew surfaced.
The crew of the AC47 is among nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos during the
war with Vietnam. Although the numbers of men actually termed "prisoner of
war" are quite low, this can be explained in understanding the blanket of
security surrounding the "secret war" the U.S. waged in Laos. To protect the
public perception that we "were not in Laos", details of many loss incidents
were "rearranged" to show a loss or casualty in South Vietnam. Only a
handful of publicly exposed cases were ever acknowledged POW, even though
scores of pilots and ground personnel were known to have been alive and well
at last contact (thus increasing the chance they were captured alive).
The Lao communist faction, the Pathet Lao, stated on several occasions that
they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, but the Pathet Lao were not
included in the Paris Peace agreements ending American involvement in the
war. As a consequence, no American POWs held in Laos were negotiated for.
Not one American held in Laos has ever been released. As thousands of
reports continue to flow in regarding Americans still captive in Southeast
Asia, the fates of the crew of the AC47 become more intriguing. It is
entirely possible, with no evidence to the contrary, that they survived to
be captured. Whether they survived or not, they were abandoned to the enemy.
    This is my speech that I delivered in New Jersey on National POW/MIA 
Recognition Day...  Just thought I'd share... Feel free to keep, use, or 
forward it in any way that you think it will be useful...
 God Bless...
                              A Plea For Help
                                On Behalf Of
                           CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT
                            JAMES ARTHUR PRESTON
                             Missing In Action
   Ladies and Gentlemen:
        I am deeply grateful and honored for the opportunity to join you
today in this united stand on behalf of America's Prisoners of War and those
who remain listed as Missing In Action from the war in Southeast Asia.
    My name is Amanda Kidd-- and I stand before you now to extend to each of
you... A Plea For Help.
       I am a cousin of Chief Master Sergeant James Arthur Preston who is
among the 2,060 members of America's military service personnel who remain
unaccounted for-- Abandoned by our government officials in Southeast Asia--
But certainly not forgotten by the countless Veterans and POW/MIA Activists
who refuse to rest until the last hero is home.
      Generally I would like for you to think of me as a peacemaker-- But I
offer no apology if my words today shock and anger you.  It is my sincere
hope that you WILL become angry--  Angry enough that each of you-- upon your
departure-- will constructively and non-violently utilize this sentiment as
an incentive to strive with me for the search of truthful answers regarding
the fate of our nation's abandoned heroes.
     It is my cousin James Preston whose story I would like to share with
you today: One of your missing and abandoned brothers-- Whose voice may soon
become forever silenced without your help.
        On May 15, 1966, James Preston was the Loadmaster aboard an AC-47
aircraft that was lost to enemy fire over Savannakhet Province while bound
on an armed visual reconnaissance mission just within the country of Laos
shortly after departure from Udorn Air Base in Thailand.  On May 18, our
family was notified of the loss of the aircraft and was informed that all
personnel aboard were consequently declared to be Missing In Action.  We
were assured that our government was doing everything possible to locate the
wreckage-- as well as our loved one-- James Preston-- and the remaining 7
crew members who were aboard at its time of loss.
        Quietly and dutifully, our family waited daily with blind trust for
word that our loved one would be found safe and alive... Word that would
never come. Days would evolve into years, yet no trace of this aircraft or
the 8 dedicated members of United States Air Force personnel who were aboard
were ever located. In 1978, an unwelcomed milestone was reached-- The
official status of James Arthur Preston was changed from "Missing In Action"
to "Killed In Action / Body Not Recovered."  Eventually, James' immediate
family-- his wife, brothers, and three children-- would turn to me... and to
other relatives... in the hope that there would be more strength in numbers
as we joined together in a united search for truth.
        Years have now come and gone... and the details surrounding this
tragic incident have continually eluded our family... Sincere inquiries
regarding James' fate have proved fruitless... Our United States Government
has simply not been adequately forthcoming with thorough and truthful
answers regarding this tragedy.
        Now our hopes have once again been elevated only to be dashed by the
recent notification that our family has been given on behalf of the national
decision to prematurely resolve our loved one's case.
        Only a few short months ago, in June of this year... after 33
agonizing years of waiting... our family was abruptly notified that Joint
Task Force excavation teams had successfully located the wreckage of the
AC-47 on which James and his fellow crew members were aboard. Unfortunately,
with nothing more than a limited number of mingled bone fragments and a few
questionable personal belongings, eight military servicemen are now being
deleted from our nation's list of missing service personnel.  From the cold,
impersonal standpoint of our government officials, "Case Number 0339"-- as
this incident is generally known-- is now fully resolved.
        Tragically, James Preston has now become our nation's most recent
victim of the all-too-familiar "empty coffin" burials at Arlington National
Cemetery that are so frequently used in our government's hurried attempt to
dismiss our missing service personnel without the repatriation of physical
human remains as adequate evidence of their deaths.  This American hero will
now be abandoned once again by our government solely on the questionable
recovery of a wrist watch and a military identification tag which bears his
name.  To those within our national heirarchy who are responsible for the
POW/MIA accounting effort, it matters not that no human remains have been
identified as being those of Chief Master Sergeant James Arthur Preston.  It
matters not... that James Preston's name was heard over Voice of Vietnam
Radio by 5 returned POWs...  It matters not... that he is the only one of
all 8 crew members whose name appears on Senator Bob Smith's 1992 POW/MIA
Senate Select Committee List of 324 MIAs who are most likely to have
survived captivity.  It matters not... that the remains of one of the
aircraft's door gunners involved in this incident was recovered from a
shallow grave at Houai Het Prison-- Proving beyond all doubt that the entire
crew did not perish upon impact-- And that at least one-- and possibly
more-- survived long enough to be taken captive... It matters not... that a
live sighting of James Preston was reported as recently as 1992. Despite
whatever evidence that we may present to the contrary... In the eyes of our
United States Government officials... It... Matters... NOT. I extend my most
sincere condolences to the families of the crew members of this incident
whose loved ones have been positively identified and repatriated... But in
the case of my cousin... such closure is not to be found. Chief Master
Sergeant James Arthur Preston does not yet stand on or rest in American
        As I depart from you today, I leave you to contemplate the following
thought: Is this the type of full accounting that you desire for the
brothers that you fought alongside during the war in Vietnam?  Is this the
type of closure that you would quietly accept if James Preston were Your
son...?  Your brother...?  Your father...? Your cousin...?  Your friend...?
If not, I ask you to please join me in helping to give him a voice that will
Not Be Silenced.  This American hero does not rest in Arlington National
Cemetery as our national leaders would have us believe.  But without your
help, United States Government officials will no longer be undertaking
formal efforts to learn more about his fate.  Without your help, no one will
pursue the inconsistensies that I have presented to you today.  There will
be no incentive for anyone to provide additional information that might
otherwise bring him home.  Without you... James Arthur Preston will once
again be abandoned to the land of the enemy by the nation that he so loyally
trusted to protect him.
        From the standpoint of our national leaders, James Arthur Preston no
longer has a name or place among the missing American servicemen who remain
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.  We, as his family, will no longer
adequately be heard--  And without your help... He will no longer have a
           Now-- more than ever-- I wish to inquire of each of you here
today-- Will YOU Become His Voice?
        If my words today have shocked and angered you, I pray that you will
receive and embrace them as a symbol of our common bond of friendship-- For
I, also, am angry. Please--  Let us utilize our anger constructively and
non-violently in a united voice that will demand that our government
officials cease the practice of the burial of America's missing heroes
solely on the grounds of Identification by Association-- A practice that so
tragically permits the burial of empty coffins in our national cemeteries
without the presence of human remains.
        And for as long as is necessary, please strive with me in my
family's continued search for truth by inquiring of our national leaders...
Where Is Chief Master Sergeant James Arthur Preston-- Really?!
   May God Bless You All... And Again... Thank You.
    No. 190-M
The remains of eleven American servicemen previously unaccounted-for
from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to
their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tim L. Walters, South Bend,
Ind.; U.S. Army 1st Lt. James R. McQuade, Hoquiam, Wash.; U.S. Army Spc.
James E. Hackett, Bradenton, Fla.; U.S. Air Force Col. George W. Jensen,
Seattle, Wash.; U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall L. Tapp, Los Angeles,
Calif.; U.S. Air Force Col. Lavern G. Reilly, St. Paul, Minn.; U.S. Air
Force Maj. George W. Thompson, Beckley, W.Va.; U.S. Air Force Chief
Master Sgt. James A. Preston, Bowden, Ga.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master
Sgt. James E. Williams, Oxford, Miss.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt.
William L. Madison, Lexington, Ky.; and U.S. Air Force Senior Master
Sgt. Kenneth D. McKenney, Auburn, Mass.
On March 9, 1969, Walters was aboard a 0-2A Super Skymaster flying a
forward air control mission over Laos.  The aircraft crashed, due to an
unknown cause.  Other aircrews in the area reported seeing the aircraft
shortly after impact.  A ground party went to the site shortly after the
crash and determined that both crewmembers were dead, but they could not
recover the remains due to heavy enemy activity in the area.
Joint U.S.-Lao investigators visited several alleged crash sites in
1993, 1994 and 1998, and an excavation was conducted in January,
February and March 1999, where a team recovered human remains, personal
effects and crew-related items.
Hackett and McQuade were attempting to rescue the crew of a downed
aircraft when their own OH-6A helicopter exploded in mid-air over South
Vietnam on June 11, 1972.  In 1993 and 1994, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams
conducted investigations and an excavation where they recovered numerous
human remains, pilot-related gear and personal effects.
On May 15, 1966, Jensen was piloting an AC-47D gunship on an armed
reconnaissance mission over Laos.  Also aboard the aircraft were Tapp,
Thompson, Preston, Madison, McKenney, Williams, and Reilly.  That
evening, Jensen radioed to his airborne control aircraft that everything
was normal on the mission, but the aircraft never returned to its home
base.  Joint U.S.-Lao investigative teams visited several sites in 1994,
1995, 1996 and 1997 and conducted excavations where they recovered human
remains an d crew-related items.
With the accounting of these servicemen, 2,032 are missing in action
from the Vietnam War.  Another 551 have been identified and returned to
their families since the end of the war.  Analysis of the remains and
other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii
confirmed the identification of these servicemen.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the
governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People's
Democratic Republic that resulted in the accounting of these servicemen.
We hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in the
future.  Achieving the fullest possible accounting for these Americans
is of the highest national priority.
 December 13, 1999
                         MORE EMPTY COFFINS AT ARLINGTON
 Submitted by:
 Amanda Y. Kidd
 Relative of CMSgt. James A. Preston~ MIA~ Laos
 Re.:  December 13th Reuters Announcement 
         Regarding The Accounting Of United States
         Air Force MIA Crew Of Eight:
     The U.S. government's official, public announcement was released by the
Pentagon today regarding the repatriation of forensic remains from Southeast
Asia which are claimed to have been "identified" as the following members of
U.S. Air Force military service personnel who have been listed as Missing In
Action from Laos since 15 May, 1966:
 Col. George William Jensen
 Capt. Marshall Landis Tapp
 Col. Lavern George Reilly
 Maj. George Winton Thompson
 CMSgt. James Arthur Preston
 CMSgt. James Ellis Williams
 CMSgt. William Louis Madison
 SMgt. Kenneth Dewey McKenney
     I will not dedicate an extensive amount of time to expressing the
overwhelming feelings of my, or my family's personal disappointment, pain
and anger regarding the inexcusable manner in which the cases of these eight
MIA servicemen are being handled by the national agencies responsible for
the POW/MIA accounting effort.
     Our family has no need (nor do we have the ability) to explain such 
     Instead, I have chosen to present the facts below on behalf of these
eight men so that the discrepancies, inconsistencies, and inconclusiveness
may speak for themselves.
     I extend any apologies that may that may be in order regarding the
length of this information, but I feel that each and every word is of
critical importance.  Additionally, I thank all citizens in advance who are
patient and concerned enough about the true fate of these men to see it
through to the end.
     Details (mostly in the form of countless discrepancies) regarding this
USAF crew of MIA servicemen can be readily found by the general public under
REFNO 0339 through the Library Of Congress POW/MIA Database.   Further
documentation regarding live sightings, captivity photographs, voice radio
contact and endless other information that is highly contrary to this recent
"accounting" decision can be accessed under the last names of each of these
men... as well as under their individual case numbers of 0339-0-01 through
     Please access this information or feel welcome to contact me if any
questions persist regarding the validity of any of the information found in
my statements within this counter-report which I wish to be considered as a
voice opposed to the silencing of those who are now being twice-abandoned by
our nation's government and national POW/MIA accounting agencies.
     As a relative of one of the above-mentioned servicemen, (CMSgt. James
Arthur Preston), I wish to bring public attention to the inexcusable
inconclusiveness surrounding the alleged "group identification" of this crew
which is being based solely on the following documented information provided
to our family by the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii.:
 TAPC-PED-H-LAB  (638-2)
 15 March 1999
 MEMORANDUM FOR Commander, U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory,
 SUBJECT:  Proposed Identification of CILHI 1997-020-G-01 and CILHI 
 1.  Background and Acquisition
    On 15 May 1966 Maj. George W. JENSEN was piloting an AC-47D gunship on
an armed reconnaissance mission over Vientiane Province, Laos.  Also
manifested on board were Capt. Marshall L. TAPP, co-pilot; 1Lt. George W.
THOMPSON, navigator; SSgt. James A. PRESTON, loadmaster; SSgt. William L.
MADISON and A2c Kenneth D. MCKENNEY, gunners; A1c James E. WILLIAMS, flight
engineer; and Maj. Lavern G. REILLY, observer.
     At approximately 2100 hours, local time, Maj. JENSEN radioed the
Airborne Command and Control aircraft that everything was normal.  No other
contact with Maj. JENSEN or his crew was established and the aircraft never
returned to home base.  When search and rescue efforts proved negative, the
incident was designated REFNO 0339 and Maj. JENSEN and his crew were
declared Missing In Action.  Three weeks after the incident, on 7 June 1966,
a Pathet Lao radio broadcast announced that a U.S. C-47 had been shot down
in central or southern Laos on 15 May.  The broadcast went on to claim that
eight Americans and two "puppet" {South} Vietnamese had been killed in the
crash. Colonel JENSEN (all eight Americans having been promoted while in an
MIA status) and his crew currently are carried as presumed Killed In Action.
  On 3 and 4 August 1994 a senior representative of the Vietnamese Office
for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) had a chance encounter while in Ho Chi
Minh City with a retired member of the People's Army of {North} Vietnam
(PAVN).  The former PAVN soldier related personal knowledge of a May 1966
crash of a U.S. C-47 in central Laos that killed 10 crewmen. This
information was substantiated by {North} Vietnamese records that indicate
that PAVN Group 559 shot down a U.S. C-47 in Laos on 15 May, 1966, killing
10 crewmen.
     Based on information supplied by the VNOSMP, a joint U.S./Lao People's
Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team traveled to Khammouan Province (formerly
Vientiane Province) in October and November 1994.  The team interviewed
local informants who provided information about a possible aircraft crash
site. The team then visited the purported site and found several
crew-related items.  The site was recommended for additional investigation.
     From 15-18 January 1995 another joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team traveled to
Khammouan Province accompanied by several Vietnamese nationals who purported
to have first-hand information of a U.S. aircraft crash site and the
subsequent burial of the crew.  After some initial confusion, the Vietnamese
informants were able to delineate the suspected burial site.  The informants
indicated that the bodies of 10 (or 11) men were placed in three burial
pits. Limited aircraft wreckage found near the burial site was consistent
with that of an AC-47 gunship.  The site was recommended for recovery.
     From 15 May through 11 June 1995 a joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team excavated
the crash and burial sites surveyed the previous January.  The team
recovered human teeth and crew-related items, including an identification
tag for "PRESTON, JAMES A." (the loadmaster) and metal captain's bars from a
flight suit that would correlate to {then} Capt. Marshall TAPP (the
co-pilot).  The size of the site precluded completing the recovery in the
time allotted.  The remains were escorted to the CILHI on 20 June 1995 and
assessioned as CILHI 0048-95.
     From 5 October through 3 November 1995 another joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team
continued the excavation of the REFNO 0339 crash and burial sites.  The team
recovered additional crew-related items but found no additional remains.
The team was unable to complete the recovery due to time constraints.
     From 6 January through 6 Feburary 1996 another joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team
attempted to complete the excavation of the REFNO 0339 crash and burial
sites.  The team recovered numerous teeth and bone fragments as well as
additional crew-related items.  The team was unable to complete the
excavation during the time allotted.  The remains were escorted to the CILHI
by an American member of the team on 8 February 1996 where they were
accessioned as CILHI 0005-96.
     From 8 August through 1 September 1996 another joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team
continued excavation of the REFNO 0339 sites.  The team recovered no
additional remains and very sparce crew-related material.  The team
suspended the excavation of the sites.
     From 5-27 February 1997 another joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team resumed
excavation of the REFNO 0339 crash and burial sites.  The team recovered
additional bone fragments as well as crew-related items.  The sites were
closed on 27 February 1997.  The remains were accesioned at the CILHI on 11
March 1997 as CILHI 0020-97.
     Effective 1 January 1998 the CILHI adopted a revised accession
numbering system.  Consequently the accessions designated CILHI 0048-95,
CILHI 0005-96, and CILHI 0020-97 were redesignated CILHI 1995-048, CILHI
1996-005, and CILHI 1997-020, respectively.  For analytical purposes, the
remains designated CILHI 1995-048 and CILHI 1996-005 were later consolidated
into CILHI 1997-020.
 2.  Summary of Findings
     Analysts from the Joint Task Force- Full Accounting state that the
recovered wreckage and crew-related items identify the crash site as that of
a U.S. aircraft.
 Crew-related equipment- including an identification tag for the loadmaster
and captain's bars from the co-pilot-- found amid the wreckage suggest that
at least two crewmen were aboard the aircraft at the time of impact.  The
identification tag found at the crash site correlates the crash to REFNO
0339.  Additionally, analysts at the Joint Task Force- Full Accounting
indicate that there are no creditable live-sighting reports or other
intelligence data that would indicate that any member of Col. JENSEN's crew
survived the crash.
     Artifacts and crew-related items found during the recovery are
consistent with items issued to, worn by, or used by U.S. Air Force crews in
Southeast Asia in 1966.  A size-10 jungle boot found at the site cannot be
individually correlated to a specific member of the crew due to the
similarity of size of several of the crewmen and the absence of documented
shoe sizes in the antemortem records.
     Analysis of the consolidated skeletal remains reveals that they are
consistent with human remains.  The size and condition of the skeletal
remains make them very poor candidates for mitochondrial DNA given the
current state of that technology.  For administrative purposes, the skeletal
remains were redesignated CILHI 1997-020-G-01 (the subdesignator "G-01"
indicates a single individual).
 3.  Conclusions:
     Available evidence-- including the eyewitness accounts of Vietnamese
soldiers involved in the downing of the aircraft-- suggest that Col. JENSEN
and his 7-man crew died in Khammouan Province at, or near, the crash site of
their AC-47D gunship.  Pathet Lao radio broadcasts and  eyewitness accounts
of the crash indicate that there may have been two Vietnamese or Laotian
nationals also on board the aircraft.  The remains of the eight Americans
and the two South Vietnamese or Laotian nationals were buried by North
Vietnamese soldiers in three graves located in the vicinity of the crash
site.  There is no creditable evidence that any member of the crew survived
the crash.
     An identification tag and a rank insignia found at this remote crash
site in Laos can be correlated to CMSgt. PRESTON and {then} Capt. TAPP,
 Dental remains recovered from this site can be identified as those of Col.
George JENSEN.  Skeletal fragments found at the site are very fragmentary
and cannot be individually associated to a specific individual.  These
findings, combined with the available circumstantial evidence, lead to the
conclusion that the teeth designated CILHI 1997-020-I-01 are the remains of
Col. George W. JENSEN.  The skeletal fragments recovered from the site and
designated CILHI 1997-020-G-01 may also represent Col. JENSEN; however, the
remains cannot be excluded as being those of any or all of the crew involved
in REFNO 0339.  Mitochondrial DNA analysis of the skeletal remains is not a
viable option at this time, or in the forseeable future.
 4.  Recommendations:
     Based on the results of laboratory analysis, and on the circumstantial
evidence made available to me, I recommend that CILHI 1997-020-G-01 be
identified as the remains from an incident involving:
 Col. George William JENSEN,  U.S. Air Force
 Col. Marshall Landis TAPP,  U.S. Air Force Reserve
 Col. Lavern George REILLY,  U.S. Air Force
 Maj. George Winton THOMPSON,  U.S. Air Force Reserve
 CMSgt. James Arthur PRESTON,  U.S. Air Force 
 CMSgt. William Louis MADISON,  U.S. Air Force
 SMSgt. Kenneth Dewey MCKENNEY,  U.S. Air Force
     Based on the results of laboratory analysis, and on the circumstantial
evidence made available to me, I recommend that CILHI 1997-020-I-01 be
identified as:
        Col. George William JENSEN,  U.S. Air Force  
 Thomas D. Holland
 Scientific Director
 (Continued input from family):
 Amanda Y. Kidd
 Relative of CMSgt. James A. Preston
     The identification of the crew's alleged aircraft crash site (Tail
#43-49546~ Call Sign:  "Spooky 10") was decided solely on the recovery of a
single military identification tag bearing the name of my cousin, James A.
Preston, and a set of Captain's bars which are claimed to be attributed to
the co-pilot, Capt. Marshall L. Tapp.
 ****  No forensic remains whatsoever have been repatriated that have been
positively identified as either of these two missing servicemen.
     The unsubstianted forensic identification of the entire crew of eight
has been based on limited, non-mt-DNA-tested human remains that were
recovered by JTF-FA  from ONE grave assiciated with a single individual.
     Although statements were provided by 3 Vietnamese witnesses who were
allegedly involved with the burial detail of this crew, none of JTF-FA's
findings were ever successful in recovering evidence to support the
witnesses' claims.  Despite numerous statements that 2 mass graves were dug
in which the witnesses claimed to have placed the bodies of "numerous
Americans and Asians", no such graves were ever found.
 Excerpt #1:  (of 3)
  Summary Of Excavation:
     From 08 August Through 01 September 1996, During Joint Field Activity
96-5L, Recovery element Two (RE2) excavated an aircraft crash site
associated with Case 0339 at Grid Coordinates 48Q XD 1053 9309 near Ban
Katok in Boualapha District, Khammouan Province, Lao People's Democratic
Republic (PDR).  Case 0339 involved the 15 May loss of eight American air
crewmen aboard an AC-47D aircraft while on an armed reconnaissance mission
over Laos. This site has been partially excavated on three previous
occasions and has yielded human remains believed to be associated with one
single-individual burial.  RE2 excavated an additional 220 square meters to
attempt to locate and recover two still unlocated multiple burial sites.
This fourth project iteration now completes the overall site excavation with
a combined total of over 1000 square meters excavated.  RE2 recovered no
further human remains or diagnostic personal effects, life-support or
aircrew-related material, or other aircraft debris.  This site has been
excavated to the fullest extent of the witness-identified burial locations
without locating the two reported multiple burial sites.  The team leader
and the team anthropologist closed the site on 01 September 1996.
 Excerpt #2  (of 3)
     Excavations were continued at the Case 0339 site from 6 January through
1 February 1996, during the JFA 96-2L.  This effort resulted in the recovery
of human remains, including 19 teeth-- several with restorations-- and 23
possible human bone fragments.  The single-feature context from which most
of these remains were recovered suggests that they are probably associated
with the one reported single-individual burial site and not with either of
the two reported multiple burials.  This phase of the excavations also
yielded additional personal effects, but these could not be specifically
correlated with any of the missing aircrew.
 Excerpt #3  (of 3)
     The typically acid soils of this region are often detrimental to the
preservation of osteological materials.  However, the generally impervious
and very consipcuous evidence of subsurface soil disturbances associated
with digging graves was only found once over the course of the four
excavations. The absence of this type of evidence for the two other reported
graves is problematical.
 1.)    My cousin James Preston's name is included on Senator Bob Smith's 
1992 Senate Select Committee list of 324 POW/MIAs Who Are Most Likely To Have 
Survived Captivity.  Beside his name is the following statement:
Preston, James A.    USAF      Name heard over Voice of Vietnam or camp
                               radio by several returned POWs.  (Hyatt,
                               Risner, Rivers, Rutledge, Shumaker.)
 2.)    This crew (in its entirety) is among the Discrepancy and "Last Known
Alive" Cases of which the Vietnamese and Lao governments should have
detailed knowledge.
 Excerpt #1  (of 1)
      During the period in which the test pits were being dug a villager
approached two of the team members who were separated from the rest of the
team conducting a search for more depressions in the ground under some heavy
vegetation.  The villager claimed he had found a pistol at the site.  When
questioned about the pistol he took it from a towel that he had tied around
his waist.  The pistol was in good enough condition for the team members to
read Smith and Wesson on the side of the barrel.  The villager then stated
that he wanted a reward to the team leader and Lao officials which were
approximately 30 meters distance from where the witness and two team members
were.  The villager then went back to the village.  Lao officials from the
joint team said they would arrange for the villager to meet the team the
next day in the village.
     On 13 October 94 IE1 returned to Ban Katok and spoke with Mr. Xiang
Sichan who was the person who had found the pistol.  At first Mr. Hom (45
years of age) relayed information stating that the pistol had been found
with a flight suit approximately 100 meters from the crash site.  Later this
information was recanted and Mr. Sichan came forward to reveal his story
about the pistol.  He stated that he had found the pistol in a cave which
the Vietnamese had used as a repair facility for 37 mm. anti-aircraft
artillery. He stated that there were also some Vietnamese grenades in the
cave where he found the pistol.  Mr. Sichan stated that he had found the
pistol in 1977 in a cave at Pa Kado Karst.  When asked if the team could
take possession of the pistol, Mr. Sichan refused.  Even after the Lao
officials requested possession in a private meeting, Mr. Sichan still
refused to relinquish possession.  When asked the reason why he refused, he
would not give a response.
 3.)    Captivity Photographs tentatively identified by the family of James
Ellis Williams (Flight Engineer) suggest possible survival well beyond the
date of the aircraft's loss.
 4.)    Numerous live sightings of one of the aircraft's door gunners
(William Louis Madison) lead to POW camps in the Muang Het, Houai Het, and
Sam Neua areas of Laos in which live Americans are known to have been held
in captivity.  Photograph identifications have been confirmed by residents
of these areas, yet all have been sadly debunked as fabrications by the U.S.
government and its national POW/MIA accounting agencies without providing
any visible indication toward intentions of past, present, or future
follow-up investigation.
     These are only a few examples of the vast number of discrepancies and
inconsistencies that surround the crew of "Case 0339."   Many others are
readily available for those who wish further documentation.
     In summary, there has been no solid, irrefutable documentation provided
by the United States government to substantiate its decision to eliminate
these eight men from the national list of U.S. military service personnel
who remain unaccounted for from the war in Southeast Asia.   Yet the
"repatriation" of their "remains" was publicly announced by the Pentagon
today which indicates that national efforts are intended to follow that
could (and most likely WILL, without your help) eliminate these eight men
from the national list of missing service personnel...
 My Personal Request To All Activists, Veterans, and Fellow MIA Families Who
Share Our Family's Dismay Regarding Such Shameful Inconclusiveness Of The
National Practice Of "Empty Coffin", "Group Burials" Of Our Nation's Missing
     Please join me in speaking out publicly against this decision that may
otherwise silence these men and seal their fate forever.
     Contact your governmental officials and insist that they become
familiar with the documentation surrounding Case 0339 and ask that they
insist on further national investigation regarding the true whereabouts of
the eight men in question.
     If you have a webpage that you have dedicated to any of these
above-mentioned abandoned servicemen, please do not erase it or otherwise
speak of these men as "accounted for."   Instead, I would ask you to please
keep their pages active !!
     Continue to refer to them as "Missing In Action" and join me in a
public effort to help them maintain their rightful place among The Living
unless / until solid, irrefutable evidence proves otherwise.    None of
which our family or the American people have been given.
     In closing, I once again extend my gratitude to all citizens who have
taken the time to focus your attention on the tragic circumstances now
facing these eight men.  I extend further gratitude to all who agree that
the discrepancies are sufficient enough to warrent a continued investigation
into the true whereabouts of twice-abandoned heroes of "Case 0339."
      I wish to extend my gratitude for your patience and careful
consideration of the facts that I have presented here.
     Most importantly, your continued assistance in refusing to allow their
voices to become silenced will pave the way for other MIA servicemen who
remain in constant danger of falling victim to a similar future tragedy of a
second abandonment.
     Such a practice MUST STOP SOMEPLACE if our nation ever hopes to gain a
full, truthful, and accurate accounting of its missing military service
     May the eight men of "Case 0339" be among those who will help to pave
the way to such an accounting.
 Defense POW/MIA Missing Personnel Office
 Attn.:  Mr. Robert L. Jones
 2400 Defense Pentagon
 Washington, D.C. 20301-2400
 (703) 602-2102
  My deepest appreciation to all of you who have cared enough to listen...
 Amanda Y. Kidd
 Relative of CMSgt. James A. Preston~ MIA~ Laos
From - Fri Dec 17 13:59:01 1999
    I just wanted to let you know that the date of the memorial service at 
Arlington has been set ~ May 15, 2000.    Can you believe the audacity of the
USG to set it on the anniversary of the crew's loss date as if all of the 
families aren't hurting enough already?    Exactly 34 years to the day...
    What else can be said.  It's decided.  But that doesn't mean that it's 
    I'll probably attend, but reluctantly...  How well we'll all hold up 
through it is anyone's guess, but James' wife and children are talking about 
wearing yellow armbands as a statement that we don't accept any of this.  
I'll be wearing one too...
    We've all reconciled ourselves to the fact that this burial will take 
place whether we approve or not, but it changes very little in the fact that 
the truth still hasn't been told...  The government will have it's way, but 
sooner or later, the truth will somehow manage to come out... God doesn't let 
people get away with lies forever.
On Monday, May 15, 2000 a memorial service of full military honors is
scheduled to be held at Arlington National Cemetery for the 10 U.S. Air
Force crew members of "Spooky 10"~ lost over Laos and declared Missing In
Action on this date 34 years ago, May 15th, 1966.
Due to extensive evidence that the identification of the eight Americans and
two South Vietnamese crew members aboard this flight is highly inconclusive,
the interment will be a difficult time for many family members whose loved
ones were lost in this incident.  However, all friends, veterans, and
POW/MIA activists are invited to attend as a symbol of honor and respect
rather than as an acceptance  of the closure that remains continually
elusive regarding the true fates of these men.
The service is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time;
however, all in attendance are asked to be inside the Administration
Building (directly behind the Arlington Visitor's Center) no later than
A vehicle procession will follow to the gravesite where full military honors
will be given during a graveside memorial service which will be officiated
by Chaplain Brogan and Father McGill of Arlington.  A fly over of C-130
gunships in Missing Man formation will symbolize the absence of these men
whose sacrifice has been most noble.
Upon departure from Arlington, all who wish to attend are invited to gather
at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall where a joint American Vietnamese
color guard will post both the American and South Vietnamese flags in honor
of the eight American and 2 Vietnamese crew members who were aboard this
Col. George William Jensen
Capt. Marshall Landis Tapp
Col. Lavern George Reilly
Maj. George Winton Thompson
CMSgt. James Arthur Preston
CMSgt. James Ellis Williams
CMSgt. William Louis Madison
SMSgt. Kenneth Dewey McKenney
Although the identities of the two South Vietnamese crew members remain
uncertain, their presence aboard Spooky 10 will be proudly acknowledged and
their loyalty and military service will be given equal honor for the price
that they have paid in the name of Freedom.
Two wreaths will be placed at Panel 11E in the name of continued hope for
all of these noble men.
Amanda Kidd, relative of CMSgt. James A. Preston, and Thuoc Nguyen, member
of the Former Vietnamese Political Prisoners will jointly place a wreath of
yellow roses as an outward symbol of American and South Vietnamese unity and
hope for truthful answers of the fate of the men aboard Spooky 10.
Members of the Former Vietnamese Political Prisoners will place a wreath as
well, which will represent their honor and gratitude for the sacrifices that
all of these men have paid in their effort to bring freedom to Vietnam.
All friends, family, and concerned citizens are invited to attend both
services as an expression of honor and continued hope.  Upon departure,
please do so with the understanding that the search for the truth regarding
these men will continue.
Your presence will be welcome and deeply appreciated, as will your support
in the ongoing search for Truth.
Media coverage is welcome at the Wreath Laying ceremony at the Wall, however
discretion and respect are greatly requested of all photographers who may be
present during the graveside service at Arlington.  Please acknowledge the
need for privacy of all family members during this very moving, yet
extremely difficult time.
For further information please contact:
J. David Murray
Chairman, New Jersey VVA State Council
POW/MIA Committee
Phone:  (732) 264-3981
From - Thu Jun 01 16:23:59 2000
                          A DAY OF HONOR AND SHAME
                               Amanda Y. Kidd
                    Relative of CMSgt. James A. Preston
                    Loadmaster of USAF Crew "Spooky 10"
                          Missing In Action~ Laos
                                May 15, 1966
                     Twice-Abandoned In Southeast Asia:
                                May 15, 2000
                        Arlington National Cemetery
Speech Delivered at Rolling Thunder XIII
May 27, 2000
Washington, DC
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is with an extremely deep and personal gratitude that I stand before you
today - A gratitude that is twofold in its origin and is inspired by all of
you who have cared enough to gather here in support of the POW/MIA issue.
As a relative of CMSgt. James Arthur Preston, who was lost over Laos and
declared Missing In Action on May 15, 1966 as part of a crew of eight
Americans and two South Vietnamese, I speak from a very personal and
heartfelt standpoint when I express the sentiment that each of you gives my
family renewed hope and strength~ Feelings that we believed were completely
dashed only a few short days ago.
To be able to stand before you now is an opportunity of "healing" for me. I
NEEDED to be present among you today~ And your presence and support are now
providing me with the strength to continue an ongoing battle which our
United States government and its POW/MIA accounting agencies would like very
much to believe is now over~ But nonetheless, it is a battle in which my
family and I continue to need your help.
Only 12 short days ago, on Monday, May 15, 2000~ my family and I, along with
the other American crew members involved in the POW/MIA loss incident of
USAF "Spooky 10", experienced a day of Honor and Shame at Arlington National
On that date, we witnessed the firsthand reality of the inexcusable haste
and inconclusiveness through which our national accounting agencies are
capable of ridding themselves of further responsibility of investigating the
fates of this nation's missing servicemen.
We all stood by helplessly as we watched a flag-draped coffin containing 30
non-mt-DNA-tested bone fragments being interred into our nation's most elite
military cemetery~ Bone fragments that our U.S. government and its POW/MIA
accounting agencies are determined to falsely insist are the co-mingled
remains of the entire United States Air Force crew of "Spooky 10" ~ Lost
over Laos and declared Missing In Action on that same date, 34 years ago.
The Arlington memorial service was beautifully impressive. Had the
identification been conclusive, the full military honors that the crew was
given would have been extremely appropriate.  It would have brought comfort
in knowing that all that COULD be done, HAD been done.  And we would have
known beyond all doubt that this crew of silent heroes had finally come
But such closure did not come that day. Instead, many family members,
including my own, departed with feelings of emptiness that were equally as
empty as the flag-draped coffin that contained only minimal remains that
have, in truth, left nine of these ten men unaccounted for and
twice-abandoned in Southeast Asia.
For a brief moment, time stopped that day as we were able to honor Colonel
George William Jensen~ the pilot of Spooky 10~ The only one aboard this
ill-fated AC-47D gunship whose remains have been tentatively identified
through dental records.
But sadly, time stopped again as we grieved for the nine men who have not
yet returned:
Capt. Marshall Landis Tapp Col. Lavern George Reilly Capt. George Winton
Thompson CMSgt. James Ellis Williams CMSgt. James Arthur Preston CMSgt.
William Louis Madison SMSgt. Kenneth Dewey McKenney...
And we grieved again for the two unidentified South Vietnamese crew members
whose very presence and purpose aboard this flight continues to go
completely unacknowledged and uninvestigated by those within our United
States government and POW/MIA accounting agencies who are equally as
responsible for their truthful accounting as they are for the eight
But in spite of the shroud of deceit that surrounded the formal closure of
the case of Spooky 10, the shame of the inconclusiveness was not allowed to
overshadow Honor.
Those of us who know the Truth gathered at the Wall following the Arlington
memorial service to pay honor in our own way with a joint American /
Vietnamese Wreath Laying ceremony at which I vividly remember and deeply
appreciate the presence of many of you that I also see here today.
In so doing, we had the opportunity to make the Truth known and to provide a
means for the nine members of Spooky 10 who remain unaccounted for to
maintain their dignity in the face of what have now become seemingly
insurmountable odds.
The time has now come for me to once again call upon each of you for
assistance and support in the ongoing search for truthful answers regarding
this crew of twice-abandoned heroes.
These men should not~ and MUST not~ be allowed to go down in history simply
as tragic examples of what is allowed to happen within the POW/MIA
accounting effort.
By continuing to give them a Voice, you will also be giving Voices to those
who have fallen victim to similar inconclusive accountings in the past.  The
crew of Baron 52... The case of Peter Matthes... The case of Samuel Larry
James... The cases of George McDonald and Thomas Hart... and these are only
to name a few.
In so doing, you will also be helping it to become more difficult for this
type of false accounting to befall other missing servicemen and their
families in the future as well.
If the inconclusive findings brought about by the excavation of the crash
site associated with Spooky 10 have provided any truthful answers at all,
those answers now enable us to conclude where this crew of men is Not~ And
it is obvious beyond all doubt that they are NOT buried in Arlington
National Cemetery.
As the POW/MIA list of missing service personnel becomes shorter, the number
of inconclusive accountings becomes longer~  All due to the inexcusably
hurried attempts of our national accounting agencies to "resolve" this issue
once and for all while avoiding the live POW issue and the survival evidence
of many of these men altogether.
As is the case of James Arthur Preston and the other crew members of Spooky
10, the more these efforts attempt to prove our missing servicemen to be
dead, the more they prove them to be alive.  No graves found... no
individually identifiable remains recovered... An entire U.S. Air Force crew
inaccurately "accounted for" on minimal bone fragments only tentatively
identified as the pilot of this crew... And all the while, allowing
unquestionable evidence of their survival and captivity to go completely
ignored and uninvestigated.
But if anything positive whatsoever can come from such inconclusive
accountings, it provides us with all the more ammunition with which to fight
back in regard to the live POW issue.
We're encountering an increasing number of these cases in which Joint Task
Force- Full Accounting teams are returning virtually empty-handed from
well-meaning excavations, yet no solid forensic evidence of the deaths of
these men is recovered.
However, there is an abundance of "dog tags"... laminated military
identification cards... coins... keys... wrist watches... In addition, the
items are generally the same from excavation to excavation and all seem to
indicate an ongoing pattern.  Furthermore, they are all among the first
items and personnel effects to be confiscated upon capture~ Later to be used
at will to falsely create the illusion of "death" as the desire to do so
Nonetheless, in this lack of answers, I propose that we all begin thinking
of such inconclusive findings as possible answers within themselves.  "No
Evidence of Death" can often translate into "Possible Survival" when viewed
in the proper perspective.  In such cases, one would think that the decision
for final closure would be unthinkable and that the possible survival of
these men would be the only remaining alternative to which nothing less than
a full investigation should ensue.
However, albeit tragically~ the perfectly legal, yet shamefully unethical
and cruel practice of Identification by Association in regard to the finding
of personal belongings and material items associated with missing service
personnel will eventually lead to the death of this issue unless such a
policy of practice is completely eliminated through federal court action~
And such an elimination can only come with your support and assistance
through continued pressure of our government officials and through your
insistence that they immediately begin addressing this desperate and
long-overdue need for Damage Reversal.
Ladies and Gentlemen, so many of these men are not buried in Arlington
National Cemetery as the immaculate markers bearing their names would have
us to believe~ So many were known to be alive and in captivity~  Yet their
voices continue to become silenced~ one by one~ as the "lack of evidence
regarding their survival" becomes falsely translated by our national POW/MIA
accounting agencies as a synonym for "Death."
Drawing from that as our foundation, let us strongly increase our insistence
that more attention be placed on the live POW issue and the need for Damage
Reversal of these inconclusive accountings before more families fall victim
to this inexcusable national travesty.
In so doing, you will not only assist my family and our own loved one, James
Preston~ But you will inspire continued hope for others with the assurance
that their loved ones will not become wrongfully silenced and
twice-abandoned in Southeast Asia in a similar manner.
In closing, I ask that each of you remember ALL of our missing and abandoned
Contrary to common belief, one does not have to be a blood relative to speak
out on behalf of individual POW/MIA cases.  As a relative of James Preston,
Loadmaster aboard Spooky 10, I would gratefully welcome all efforts made by
any of you who will continue to assist me in speaking out~ not only on his
behalf, but on behalf of this entire crew of now-twice-abandoned heroes.
I ask also that you please say a special prayer for all others who have now
become Twice-Abandoned and continue to inquire on their behalf as well.
Do not allow our national POW/MIA accounting agencies to forget the men of
Spooky 10.  Nor must we allow them to forget Peter Cressman... Joseph
Matejov... Peter Matthes... Samuel James... George McDonald... Thomas
Hart... or all others that our national accounting agencies would otherwise
prefer to think are no longer a threat to their efforts to dispose of the
POW/MIA issue by such counter-productive means that are already leaving us
all with more questions than answers regarding the fates of these men and
the resolution of this issue as a whole.
And please continue to assist me in my own personal efforts to insure that
the men of Spooky 10 maintain their rightful place among the Living so that
the Truth regarding their fates may yet be discovered.
Their fight has been long... Their journey homeward is not over... And their
struggle to be heard continues.
But we must NEVER allow shame to overshadow Honor - And with God's help and
guidance, the Truth that is still waiting to be uncovered WILL prevail.
May God Bless You All - Thank You.
Amanda Y. Kidd is a Georgia freelance journalist and a relative of U.S. Air 
Force CMSgt. James Arthur Preston - 4th Air Commando Squadron - Missing In
Action-  Laos- May 15, 1966.
Questions and comments are welcome, and all correspondence can be directed to 
the contact information below:
Amanda Kidd
For additional details, documentation, and photographs regarding the 
discrepancies surrounding the case of James Preston and the other crew 
members of Spooky 10, please access:
Amanda Kidd's POW/MIA Mission Of Hope
May 15 2000~ A Day Of Honor And Shame