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23rd JANUARY 1973






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

of Record:

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

(released 1973)

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.


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.




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





Dear Sirs:

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



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

alleged 'death':

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


NOT in Quang Tri Province.


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

[email protected]

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

45.601768 -121.127818

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