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I have some bad news - Geocities, who has hosted my POW/MIA tribute pages for many years (10, to be exact), is closing in October. After much consideration I have decided that I will not be moving this site to a new webspace provider. The free sites are usually loaded with pop-ups and/or unstable and I'm just not up for the hassle, NOR can I afford to pay for web hosting, so when Geocities closes, A Tribute & A Prayer, will close as well. It's been such a pleasure to have been contacted by childhood friends and people who served in the military with James & John and I thank them, once again, for their contribution to these pages. It's also been a pleasure to have been in contact with others who stumbled upon these pages and were touched by them... I appreciate all the feedback I got through the years. James & John will forever hold a special place in my heart and so will ALL the men & women who served our country in Vietnam. I will NEVER forget them or the other POW/MIA's who didn't make it home and I will never stop praying for their return to American soil. So... that said, I guess this is goodbye.
...On to my original tributes (which will be online till late October)...
I'd like to say a BIG thanks to all you veterans and those currently serving the United States for your bravery and commitment to America and her citizens ! May God richly bless each and every one of you !




James A. Harwood

James Harwood

*I am SO thrilled to FINALLY have a good photo of James for my tribute page !! The above photo of James was taken at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in 1970 and shared with me by James' good friend, Mark Sprague, who was in Special Forces training at Ft. Bragg with him. The photo is NOT in the public domain and may NOT be used without the permission of Mark Sprauge. Please respect his wishes !
This page tells the story of how James, at the age of 21, came to be reported "Missing in Action" (MIA) in Vietnam. I didn't know James but I do know that he never made it back to Texas from Vietnam. He has not seen his family or friends since he went to fight there over 25 years ago. He was listed as MIA in 1971 and in 1978, when he had not been found, his status was changed to "Killed In Action" (KIA). His body has never been recovered and though I don't know his family and friends, I'm sure they'd like to really know what happened to the guy they love. Imagine the feeling of not knowing the truth and the frustration of not even having a grave to visit.
The United States government has not done all they can do to get answers for the American people about the nearly 2,000 Vietnam Veterans who never made it home and who's remains were never recovered. There have been sightings of American men in Vietnam and proof (even pictures) that there are still men there. I have provided links at the bottom of this page where you can go to read more about this issue... We must make sure something like this NEVER happens again and right the wrongs done to these brave men ! These men are not just a statistic or a name on a wall ! They are real people who may have been forced to age in a country where they don't want to be. We can't even BEGIN to imagine the living conditions they have to endure if, in fact, there are still American POW's alive in Vietnam, and the evidence shows that there are ! Think of the children who have never met their fathers, the families and friends who deserve to know their fate !

The very least we can do is take the time from our lives to write a few letters for these brave men and their families who served America when they were called... I have written to every government official (hope I didn't forget anyone *S*), to find out WHY this evidence is being ignored by the United States government. I realize that every single person will never be accounted for, such is war, but each of us should expect that EVERY effort available has been made and to date that hasn't been the case.

The effort I am involved in is Called "Operation Just Cause". YOU can help get the answers that these dedicated service men and their families deserve ! Please visit Operation Just Causes' website to find out what YOU can do... the link is below.

If you are a friend, relative, or if you were with James A. Harwood or John W. Armstrong in Vietnam, please e-mail me ! I'd like to have a better picture of them to display on this page or to get to know more about them !

If you visit The Wall in Washington, D.C., stop for a moment, look for these names, (James Arthur Harwood) & (John W. Armstrong), and say a little prayer for them, for me. I am, regretfully, unable to visit Washington, D.C.



Please e-mail me with comments about this page
or information about James Arthur Harwood or John W. Armstrong...



Name: James Arthur Harwood
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Company A, Detachment B-43, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 10 March 1950 (Omaha NE)
Home City of Record: Dallas, TX
Date of Loss: 15 January 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 103415N 1045652E (VS943684)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: Gerald F. Kinsman (missing)


SYNOPSIS:

Sgt. James Harwood and 1Lt. Gerald Kinsman were part of the 5th Special Forces Group Detachment B-43 based at the Special Forces camp at Chi Lang, South Vietnam. The two were assisting in the training of the Reconnaissance Platoon, 2nd Company, 1st (later the 6th) Cambodian Mobile Operations Battalion as part of Capt. Harry Purdy's instruction team.

Chi Lang was situated in a dangerous, contested border zone. Any training venture away from camp was subject to becoming a frightening battlefield between Cambodian trainees and hardened Viet Cong regulars, with predictable results, although the Special Forces had considerably more faith in the abilities of the Khmer troops than they had had in the Vietnamese CIDG unit they had formerly trained. The situation was worsened by the serious friction between Detachment B-43 and the former CIDG Vietnamese troops at the camp. The Special Forces made no secret of the fact that they felt the Khmer troops were superior to the ARVN border rangers, whom they considered hoods and thieves. The Vietnamese officer, Maj. Hoa countered by refusing to punish any Vietnamese caught stealing from the Americans.

In January 1971, Capt. Purdy's team and the Khmer battalion-in-training conducted a field exercise at Nui Ta Bec, five miles northwest of Chi Lang. 1Lt. Gerald F. Kinsman, the tactics committee instructor, was then lost and McCarty's shouts to him received no response. The battalion's 3rd Company cadre, Lt. James J. McCarty and Sgt. James A. Harwood. On 15 January, the three Special Forces troops were escorting the company's 24-man reconnaissance platoon, which was awaiting the arrival of the 8th Khmer Infantry Battalion, coming to replace them in the field.

The platoon was moving downhill through thick bamboo on the slope of Hill 282 (Nui Ta Bec) northwest of Chi Lang and 2 miles from the Cambodian border, after searching several large rock outcroppings of Nui Ta Bec. Sgt. Harwood was in the lead, 1Lt. Kinsman was in the middle, and McCarty to the rear of the platoon. At this time, the platoon was moving in column formation. Suddenly the pointman came under automatic weapons fire, engaging the platoon in a firefight.

Harwood radioed 1st Lt. James J. McCarty that he was crawling up toward the point, and was receiving direct fire from the front. Communications were then lost with Harwood, and McCarty's shouts to him met with no response. McCarty then approached Kinsman's position at the front, and saw Lt. Kinsman standing in an open area saying he had been hit in the stomach. When he reached Kinsman, McCarty found him lying on his back in a bamboo thicket. He had been shot in the stomach, just to the side of the navel with an exit wound in the back, and was lying in a large pool of blood. McCarty tried to administer aid, but his weapon was shot away, and he was wounded himself. He tried to drag the unconscious 1Lt. Kinsman from the area, but enemy troops were approaching and he had to hide. McCarty did not see Harwood.

McCarty's radioman was wounded in the leg as he frantically radioed Sgt. Stamper at the base of the hill. Maj. Leary, the Detachment B-43 commander, was overhead in an O-1 aircraft and relayed the request for immediate assistance to Maj. Hoa at Chi Lang. Hoa claimed all of his units were "busy" and no response was possible. Leary summoned a battalion from the 9th ARVN Division next, but by the time they arrived, the fighting was over. In addition to the Cambodian casualties, both Lt. Kinsman and Sgt. Harwood were missing.

McCarty was later evacuated. Harwood was classified Missing In Action, and Kinsman, because of his severe wounds was classified as Killed/Body Not Recovered. Every detail of their loss is classified, and unavailable to the public after all these years.

In August 1974, a Vietnamese source reported the following information which he received second hand from another Vietnamese, "The enemy (Viet Cong) ambushed a Government of Vietnam team, killed one American and captured one American, one officer and one NCO in that vicinity. The live American was ordered to pull the body into the forest. In the forest, the American was ordered to dig a hole and bury his friend. As soon as he finished his work, a VC cadre stood beside him and fired at his head with a K .54 pistol. The two bodies were pushed into the hole, and it was filled with earth." The source also assumed that the grave site might have been in a valley.

The fates of Harwood and Kinsman are unknown. They are two of over 2,000 Americans who are still missing from Southeast Asia. As reports flow in that hundreds of Americans are still alive in Vietnam and Laos, one wonders if Harwood or Kinsman are among them. If the 1974 report is true, why have their bodies not been returned? If it is not, and they are alive, what must they be thinking of us?

The President, Vice-President, Senators and members of Congress have e-mail addresses... Let them know what you think about the POW/MIA issue !

Email: President George W. Bush

Vice-President Dick Cheney

First Lady Laura Bush

Mrs. Lynne Cheney

Senators

U.S. House of Representatives




Adopt a POW/MIA at Operation Just Cause !
Click above to adopt a POW/MIA... help bring them HOME !



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Use the forum to find a lost buddy or express YOUR feelings about anything relating to the Vietnam War or the unresolved POW/MIA issue. I lost my old forum so if you placed a message there please add it to this new forum, too. Sorry for the hassle !


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Go to the next page to see my tribute to John W. Armstrong, POW/MIA, read my letter to our representatives & a prayer for all POW/MIA's, see my awards or go to some great related links. I have added a message board on the letters page... all are welcome to add a comment, etc.

John's page letter

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If you see any graphics used on this page that you made please let me know so that I can credit you. I wrote down where I got everything, then lost the paper... DUH !

My thanks to Doc, Joni, Hollie and Wishmaker, whose graphics I KNOW I have used here.






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