The US military this week launched their final MIA search mission in Cambodia,
with a 50-man team flying in from Thailand.
Using three UH-60 Black Hawk
helicopters, the team will spend around 30 days investigating eight cases of US
servicemen who went missing in action during the Indochina war.
searches will take place in Kompong Thom, Kompong Cham and Siem Reap provinces,
with three of the cases being aircraft crash sites, the other five are of
American military personnel who went missing while on foot.
personnel and helicopters will be unarmed but will be protected against attacks
by Khmer Rouge guerrillas or bandits by a squad from the Royal Cambodian Armed
The mission is the last of nine conducted in the country since
Detachment Four of the Joint Task Force - Full Accounting was set up at the US
Embassy in Phnom Penh in February 1992.
The team has investigated 39
cases in all, involving 78 individuals, though has only been able to recover and
positively identify the remains of three missing Americans, a reporter and two
The commander of the team, US Air Force Major Tony Lowe, said
the searches are a pains-taking operation and admits: "It is like looking for a
needle in a haystack."
But he said the missions have comforted the
families of the missing by providing them with more information about what
happened to their loved ones.
Major Lowe was also full of praise for the
Cambodian governments for their cooperation with the search. He said:"We are
receiving excellent support, I don't know how it could have been better."