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A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE TO ALL VETERANS, KIA’S , POW*MIA’S
IN HONOR TO :
U.S.N. CAPT HARLEY HUBERT HALL
F4-J PHANTOM JET PILOT
MY ADOPTED HOMETOWN POW*MIA THROUGH “OPERATION JUST CAUSE”
SHOT DOWN OVER NORTH VIETNAM THE LAST CASUALITY OF THE VIETNAM WAR
23rd JANUARY 1973
FROM VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
” REMEMBER ME”
HARLEY HUBERT HALL’s PENTIGON REPORT ON POW/MIA STATUS
HARLEY H HALL
HALL, HARLEY HUBERT REMAINS RETURNED 06/95 (I.D. disputed)Name: Harley Hubert Hall Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy, pilot Unit:
Fighter Squadron 143,
(CV-65) Date of Birth: 23 December 1937 (Broken Bow NE) Home City
Vancouver WA Date of Loss: 27 January 1973 Country of Loss: South
Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 165129N 1071023E (YO345650)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 1 Acft/Vehicle/Ground
: F4J Other Personnel In Incident: Phillip A. Kientzler
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 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 2008.
REMARKS: KIENTZLER TOLD HALL KILLED
SYNOPSIS: CDR Harley H. Hall was the commanding officer of
Fighter Squadron 143 onboard
the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE. On January 27, 1973 he and
his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), LTCDR Philip A.
Kientzler, launched in their F4J Phantom fighter aircraft on an
attack mission against North Vietnamese supplies and logistic
vehicles 15 miles northwest of Quang Tri, South Vietnam. Hall
and Kientzler were under the direction
of an OV10 Forward Air Controller
(FAC).CDR Hall's aircraft came under intense anti-aircraft fire
while attacking several trucks and was hit. He made an attempt
to fly back out to the safety of the sea, but minutes later the
aircraft caught fire on the port wing and fuselage. Both Hall
and his co-pilot, LCDR Philip A. Kintzler ejected at 4,000 feet
and were seen to land 100 feet apart near a village on an island
in the Dam Cho Chua and Cua Viet Rivers. CDR Hall was seen moving
about on the ground, discarding his parachute. No voice contact
was made with the men, and the probability of immediate capture
was considered very high. Numerous aircraft made several passes
over the area for the next several
hours and were unsuccessful in observing either of the downed
crewmen. Several emergency beepers were heard intermittently the
remainder of the afternoon and throughout the night, however, no
voice contact was established. Active,
organized search and rescue efforts were subsequently terminated.
Only Kientzler was released at Operation Homecoming in 1973. He
reported that during parachute descent they
received heavy ground fire, at which time he was hit in the leg.
He last saw CDR Hall as they touched the ground. When he asked
his guards about his pilot, he was told that he was killed by
another. No other returned POW reported having knowledge of
Harley Hall, yet the Pentagon maintained him in POW status for
over 6 years, and documents were obtained that indicated that he
was indeed captured. The Hanoi government claims to have no
knowledge of CDR Harley
Hall. This former member of the famed Blue Angels flight team
remains missing. Harley Hall was shot down on the last day of
the war and was the last Navy air casualty of the Vietnam War.
He was the last American to be classified Prisoner of War in the
Vietnam War. Harley H. Hall was promoted to the rank of Captain
during the period he was maintained as a prisoner.
[hhall.95 08/22/95] DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WASHINGTON D.C. 20340
DIA EVALUATION OF INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC
OF VIETNAM IN THE CASE OF COMMANDER HARLEY HALL, USN On 13 July
1988, during a remains repatriation ceremony in Hanoi,
representatives of the Vietnamese Office For Seeking Missing
Persons (VNOSMP) furnished Joint Casualty
Resolution Center (JCRC) officials with six written investigative
reports. In the case of Commander Harley H. Hall, USN, the
written report reiterates much of the information previously
furnished by the U.S. in the JCRC negotiation narrative. It goes
on to claim that a "team" as well as two "VNOSMP" specialists,"
visited the location where the Navy officer was; lost, researched
historical documents in the villages and talked to "individuals
directly related to this incident.
" According to the report, "Commander Phillip" (LCDR Phillip
Kientzler, returnee) was captured; the other commander was found
dead and buried in a trench. The investigative team claims to
have visited the grave site and observed that it had been
exhumed and the remains taken. The local populace allegedly told
the team that "from about 1981-1982 up until the present time,
many people from different areas came to rob the grave, a total
of as many as eight occasions, the most recent being February
1988 Because of this, nothing is left in the grave site
to be recovered. The local authorities carried out an
investigation concerning the grave robbery but without results.
"The report concludes with the comment that the investigative
team is not able to recover the remains of this pilot.
While we have no information which would indicate that Commander
Hall survived to become a captive of the Vietnamese, the claims
made by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) authorities
regarding this incident stretch credulity and totally contradict
their known policies and practices in handling remains of
Americans based upon all-source intelligence collection efforts
over a period spanning more than two decades, we can state with
certainty that there is a centrally administered program which
Outlines strict procedures for handling the remains of Americans.
Throughout the war the Communist forces enforced a policy to
find and bury Americans killed in action, and captured enemy
documents continually stressed that this effort was important to
the "political struggle." The procedures required that a full
written report on the incident be prepared, to include a sketch
of the burial location. When possible, photos of the Americans
were supposed to be taken, and all personal effects documents,
maps, etc. were to be forwarded with the written report up the
chain of command to Hanoi.
Americans were buried in marked graves in well defined (if
primitive by U.S. standards) cemeteries. Buried with them would
be a paper which included the American's name, date, place and
cause of death. This procedure was also followed in burying
Vietnamese soldiers killed in battle. Vietnamese public health
laws require that remains be buried for at least three years
before they are exhumed (a common Vietnamese practice) and
reinterred in a final location. In the case of many Americans,
after being buried for three years or more, remains were probably
prepared and stored in a warehouse type situation. In the
specific instance of Commander Hall, if indeed he died at the
time of his loss incident, one must presume that the outlined
procedures were followed and he was not simply buried in a
convenient nearby trench. Further, the area area where he was
lost was under the control of combat troops at the time, which
calls into question the Vietnamese claim that it was necessary
to review village historical documents (which probably do not
exist) and talk to villagers allegedly involved in the incident.
Further, had villagers been interviewed and local documents
researched, the VNOSMP representatives would have certainly
discovered information on the two Americans who were lost in this
same area only minutes after Commander Hall's aircraft was
downed. The claim that the grave was repeatedly robbed by "many
people from different areas," is highly implausible. In general,
Vietnamese citizens are highly superstitious about the dead and
are not roaming the country robbing graves. Further, as all
personal effects would have been previously forwarded to Hanoi,
it should be well known to any would-be grave robbers that there
is nothing of monetary value in the grave Over the past several
years numerous SRV actions and statements appear to be aimed
toward creating the illusion that they have difficulty accounting
for missing Americans because private citizens are recovering
and trafficking in remains. This is simply not the case.
In summary, the report furnished by the SRV is implausible and
in direct conflict with their known policies and practices.
Based on the circumstances of Commander Hall's loss we believe
the communist government of Vietnam has more information and for
reason; known only to them has decided to concoct this story
TO: Department of Defense From: Mary Louise Hall (Mrs. Harley
Hall) DATE: September 13,1993
RE: ALLEGED "ACCOUNTING" for "REMAINS" OF POW HARLEY H. HALL, USN
(3 FRONT TEETH)
QUALIFIED ACKNOWLEDGMENT UNDER PROTEST FOR OBJECTIVITY AND
In response to the recent recovery of three of Capt. Harley
Hall's front teeth from the site of his downing and capture on
1 1/27/73 3 in Quang Tri Province, I would like the following to
go on record: While I acknowledge these to be three of my
husband's correctly identified teeth (confirmed by a dental
expert), I object most strenuously to the inference that they
constitute evidence of death, and I by no means acknowledge or
accept them as an accounting of the person of Harley H. Hall.
As such, they represent not only insufficient evidence for case
closure, but more importantly, BLATANTLY CONTRADICT ALL UNITED
STATES GOVERNMENT ASSERTIONS
& INTELLIGENCE ON THE HARLEY H. HALL CASE. Specifically, various
U.S. Agencies have consistently maintained that he could NOT
POSSIBLY have died AT THAT SITE, i.e. Quang Tri, an inference
drawn from multiple references of captivity elsewhere.Apart from
the obvious fact that adults frequently lose teeth, which was
notorious among POWs the condition of the teeth, the fact that
they are front teeth, and especially the LOCATION of discovery
all point to a more obvious or plausible explanation.
Namely, Capt. Hall was either punched, received a blow to the
mouth by his captors, these teeth were extracted, or fell out
due to malnutrition and poor care. As to the location of his
1. NAVAL INTELLIGENCE: Naval Intelligence informed me two weeks
after his downing that Harley had been captured - an absolute
certainty based on first hand sensitive intelligence. It was
the U.S. Government itself that had the information to change
his status to Category I: Capture Confirmed
(Early documents sent to me under the Freedom of Information
Act indicated all four crewmen in Quang Tri incidents that day
were captured. Capt. Hall remained in Category 1 POW status for
a full seven years (1973 - 80) until all such cases except
Charles Shelton, USAF, were altered to
"PFOD (Presumptive Finding Of Death)."
2. DR. ROGER SHIELDS: It soon became evident that Harley was not
only captured, but had arrived at a prison site of some sort. I
was personally told by POW/MIA expert Dr. Roger Shields that
Harley's was "one of the compelling, if not THE most compelling
case of capture he had ever reviewed."
"They are holding your husband, Mrs. Hall, one way or another,"
(the inference clearly being 'dead or alive') "and they can
answer for him and never settle for anything LESS."
3. THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: NSA files have subsequently
revealed that Capt. Hall was tracked from battalion to battalion
to a particular PRISON CAMP ON THE VIETNAMESE/LAO BORDER, hence
NOT in Quang Tri Province.
4. DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REPORT: On 13 July, 1988, the
DIA issued an analysis of Vietnamese reports to General Vessey
about an "unrecoverable body" in the Quang Tri area which had
falle "into a trench." DIA analysis countered that this "answer"
was totally unacceptable, and that the SRV report was a
concoction "implausible and in conflict with their known
policies and practices ' regarding Americans.' The area was
heavily patrolled by North Vietnamese troops who would not
have to resort to local villagers to account for an American
downed under their noses
(See Attached). Next, local "witnesses" began to tell of an
American body, allegedly Harley's "buried there,' but digging
teams repeatedly found nothing. But now the sudden turnover
of three teeth from Quang Tri is viewed as a "resolution," while
in fact they in no way mitigate the U.S. Government's previous
objection to this story and insistence that Capt. Hall could not
have died there, let alone be buried in an unrecorded spot.
5. CLASSIFIED U.S. FILES: This summer I returned to
Washington, D.C., to review all pertinent files including
classified material accessible to families. This reinforced my
previous conclusion and added the STUNNING NEW REVELATION that
Harley Hall had been INTERROGATED BY THE SOVIETS (which,
I hasten to point out, could not have happened had he "died"
in the area where his teeth were allegedly lost and recovered
twenty years later!) This is in startling contradiction to the
U.S. Government's present bland acceptance of his "death" in the
Quang Tri area shortly after being shot down
6. REFUGEE STATEMENTS: I realize less credence is given to
"hearsay" from Vietnamese, but it is no secret that about the
time of my husband's downing and capture, there was frequent
recounting of and bragging about "the parading of a big
Blue Angel" in Vietnam, possibly through Hanoi.
Cases of misidentification and case closing on insufficient evidence
are not new or unique to my husband's case, but all the above shows
me is that the United States Government's "highest national priority"
in this area is to shorten if not eliminate the missing list and close
the book on as many discrepancy cases as possible, even if it means a
completely false burial of hundreds of Americans - all to
expunge the past, achieve e a hasty and slipshod "accounting,"
and facilitate lucrative and politically expedient relation with
Hanoi. As for the incredible statement that "we have no
information which would indicate Capt. Hall survived to become
a captive of the Vietnamese, ' one need only consider every
other agency cited here, and Harley's official POW status, to
perceive a gross discrepancy and untruth. Some cases are
genuinely resolved. My close friend, Carleen Blackburn,
received almost full skeletal remains of her husband (notably
with FOUR FRONT TEETH MISSING). Other cases are not. and
perhaps never can or will be resolved. But the most
unfortunate and painful of all are the FALSELY
RESOLVED CASES. Thus, after twenty years of almost unbearable
limbo and uncertainty, I may now
face the worst possible case scenario: an eternal limbo, still not
knowing. The three teeth only
reinforce the intelligence on capture, while the U.S
Government prepares to call the case "resolved" and cease
even trying to account. Such a FALSE ANSWER IS WORSE THAN
NONE, leaving me with less peace than before, not more!
I do not reject receiving the three teeth, nor will I take
legal action against their identification, because they are
indeed Harley's teeth and constitute all I have of my husband
at the present moment. Had they been presented in the spirit
of further clues or evidence in Harley's case, and not as
an unwarranted "accounting" and resolution of ''death," I
would even welcome them as one small clue to the mystery of
what happened to him in captivity Be assured that my protest
does NOT stem from "wishful thinking," ' hoping against hope,
" or reluctance or refusal to accept death as an inevitable
probable outcome. For years, I have imagined, longed for and
even dreamed of the dav when I could hold a proper memorial
service for Harley when his earthly remains could rest in U.S.
soil. Then his children and I could experience tbe peace of
knowing, and begin to close the long chapter of grief. But to
grant burial with full military honors and a full size coffin
to three front teeth would not only be ridiculous, but
represent acquiescence in a lie. Considering the above, I
protest the closure of Harley's case in the strongest possible
terms, and implore you to leave his name on the honored list
of unaccounted for Americans, specifically of "focus" POW
cases where he was listed in the first place. (Otherwise, his
name will wrongfully appear on the "remains returned" list,
and many thoughtful Americans will assume that this notorious
case is finally resolved/settled.)
To do otherwise on the basis of incomplete and misleading
"remains" of three teeth is a travesty and an affront to the
truth, as well as yet another blow to the families, who have
fought so valiantly (and had their faith so badly shaken) in
this cause. This is the least you owe to the men who served
and those of us who have paid so high a price.
(signed) Mary Louise Hall, Wife Capt. Harley H. Hall USN
NETWORK NOTE: As of March 1998, Capt. Harley Hall is still
listed by the United States Government
as "remains returned."
From: "Barrett Tillman"
To: [email protected] Subject:
Cdr. Harley Hall
Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 21:32:20 +0000
Gentlemen: Congratulations on your excellent site.
It belatedly occurs to me that you
may be interested in the following article I wrote for The
Hook Magazine in 1999.
Sincerely, Barrett Tillman35 years after Harley Hall was shot down, some family members believe
he’s still alive Gwen Davis was getting ready for church in Vancouver
in 1973 when the telephone rang. She learned that her brother
Harley Hall’s F-4J Phantom fighter jet had been shot down on the
last day of combat in the Vietnam War. He was missing. The call
came from Harley’s pregnant wife, Mary Lou, in San Diego and it
started a hopeful vigil that continues today. The hope
will be amplified Sunday, the 35th anniversary of the incident.
Several family members and friends believe the stalwart Navy
pilot – once the commander of the elite Blue Angels flying team,
an astronaut candidate, and a graduate of Evergreen High School
and Clark College – may be alive. Perhaps he lives in Russia or
Vietnam. Maybe he’s assumed a new identity. He’d be turning 70.
“He could have even forgotten the language,” said Hall’s niece,
Jamie Butterfield, 43, of Vancouver,who still wears a bracelet
to remembers him. “He could have a new family.” Neither Davis
nor Mary Lou Hall is convinced that Harley Hall is dead, despite
the U.S. government’s declaration on Tet Feb. 29, 1980, that Hall
was “presumed killed in action.” In 1993, the Hanoi government
returned three teeth and a few bone fragments to the United States.
They were Harley’s teeth, all right, Davis said. “But teeth aren’t
Harley. “After an investigation, the government reported that Hall
probably died on the beach near the wreckage of his plane, and was
buried there in a trench, his remains later scattered by scavengers.
Family objectionsMary Lou Hall filed a formal, written objection to
the government’s contention that the teeth and statements gathered in
Vietnam proved that Hall was dead. She argued the teeth could have
fallen out due to malnutrition or might have been extracted. She
contended a foot-thick file of government papers obtained through the
family’s use of the Freedom of Information Act indicate that he was
taken prisoner and still may be alive. The returned teeth bore signs
of periodontal disease, indicating the pilot had survived some time
after the crash. Two of the teeth had marks indicating they’d been
extracted. X-rays proved only the teeth were Hall’s, family
members said.“Be assured that my protest does not stem from ‘wishful
thinking,’ hoping against hope, or reluctance or refusal to accept
death as an inevitable, probable outcome,” Hall said in her 1993
letter to the Department of Defense. “For years I have imagined,
longed for and even dreamed of the day when I could hold a proper
memorial service for Harley, when his earthly remains could rest in
U.S. soil. Then his children and I could experience the peace of
knowing, and begin to close the long chapter of grief. But to grant
burial with full military honors and a full-size coffin to three
front teeth would not only be ridiculous, but represent acquiescence
in a lie.”Hall said the Navy told her two weeks after he was shot down
that he had been captured. She learned through government documents
that Hall was interviewed in 1978 by Russian intelligence agents in
Vietnam. She and Davis no longer expect to receive more information
from the government, which has closed his case.
Remembering Harley Others don’t know what to believe, but simply wish
to honor a man who served three tours in Vietnam and was shot down by
anti-aircraft guns just 10 hours before the cease-fire.
“I am one of probably many in the area who have not forgotten,” said
retired Camas teacher Doralee St. Clair, who had Hall’s niece, Jamie,
in her second-grade class. “I don’t wear the bracelet anymore. It has
a lot of wear on it, but I can still clearly read his name.
“As the years go by, I think about him once in a while,” St. Clair
said. “I never knew him, but I knew his niece, Jamie, and I wore the
bracelet for many, many years. I wore the first one down until it wore
out and got a second one through Harley’s mother in 1982 or ’83 and
that lasted longer. I wore it through my stay-at-home years, raising my
little family, and through nursing school when I became an RN and then
through years of working at Southwest Washington Medical Center.”
Jamie Butterfield said she has the nickel-plated bracelet that her
father, James Hall, made for her when she was 7 years old. It still
fits but is worn.She now wears a red bracelet instead. Her son, Marc
Butterfield, 20, also wears a bracelet, even though he never knew his
great-uncle.“He has grown up with the stories,” said Butterfield. “He
his bracelet every day. I’ve taught the stories to him and he
has passed it down the line. He is very aware and done papers about it
in school. Remember, the French from World War II had people who were
prisoners for 40 or 45 years. You never know. “Last casualty
Across the country people remember, said Gwen Davis. “It’s people that
we never even knew that are still wearing his bracelet,” she said.
Some pick up bracelets at veterans events, such as those held at the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. In Hazel Dell, a 60,000-
square-foot office building at 10000 N.E. Seventh Ave. bears his name.
It was built by developer Larry Pruitt, who attended Clark College
with Hall. It features a memorial atrium with a 12-foot-tall glass
panel etched with an illuminated likeness of Hall that rises
from a pool of cascading water. A second panel features four jets
flying in a missing-man formation.“Harley’s wingman, Terry Heath,
saw Harley go down, saw that he was on the ground, had disengaged his
chute and was running along the beach,” Davis said. “The government
told us then to keep our mouths shut, not cause any waves, that Harley
would be home. When the POWs and Harley’s co-pilot came home in March
of ’73, that was the red flag for me.”The co-pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Philip
A Kientzler, refused to talk to the family, Davis said. She believes
he was told by the government to remain silent. He told investigators
that Vietnamese guards told him Hall had been killed shortly after
the crash. Kientzler died in 2005. Years later, there were reports
that the Viet Cong had bragged about parading a “Big Blue Angel”
through the streets of Hanoi. Hall has gone down in history as the
last Navy casualty of the Vietnam War. He is known as the last
American to be classified as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. But, for
the family, that’s not the end of the story. Dean Baker writes about
military affairs. Reach him at 360-759-8009 or e-mail
As AttachmentInline Text
I’m just a nameles silhouette; nobody knows my face,
Though many of you pray for me each day;
The man you said you won. t forget, in a dark and distant place.
I am the POW; I am the MIA.
I am a Navy pilot; I am a dead Marine;
I am the wounded grunt they couldn. t find.
But I’m living still, and I. m long dead,
and I. m somewhere in between,
And I can. t believe that I was left behind.
They killed me in an ambush, and they captured me alive,
And I died when my Huey crashed and burned.
They over-ran my unit, but I managed to survive,
And they brought me North in chains when they returned.
They beat me and they whipped me, and they worked me .
til I dropped. To break my will, they made their best endeavor.
When great despair had gripped me, still the torture never stopped, And they told me: . We can keep you here forever..
They told me that my parents died, that my kids were grown
and gone; And my wife lost hope, and married
my best friend. But there. s a prayer hold inside, that helps
me to go on: That someone still remembers, and
you. ll bring me Home again.v
I’m just a nameless silhouette; nobody knows my face,
Though many of you pray for me each day;The man you said
you won.t forget, in a dark and distant place.
I am the POW; I am the MIA.
Tim Murphy �. 1986
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