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20 years



This Open Letter to Sen. John McCain was received by Jon Christian Ryter in his email. Usually, emails of interest are posted under FROM THE MAILBAG. A Senate investigation on MIAs was launched in 2003 due to pressure from POW-MIA. Because North Vietnam trusted Sen. John Kerry, they willingly opened their facilities to him and let his agents examine documents on prisoners-of-war. (However, missing from those files were any mention of POWs who, for whatever reason, were sent to the Soviet Union or China for more intense interrogation, or those whom the communist regime felt were too valuable to them to release.) Although evidence continued to surface that Living American military personnel were still being held captive in Vietnam, the Committee—with only two dissenting members (Bob Smith [I-VT] and Charles Grassley [R-IA]—decided there were no POWs left, alive, in Vietnam. They concluded there may be unrecovered corpses, but they decided, we had left no living soldiers behind. In 1995 then President Bill Clinton announced he was normalizing relations with Hanoi. Championing the decision were McCain and Kerry.

Editor's Note: Arnold L. Beizer authored this piece with the knowledge and consent of Mrs. Carol Hrdlicka (as her attorney on POWMIA affairs since 1992). It expresses the sentiments that Col. David Hrdlicka (POW in Laos) would wish to convey to the American people and to Senator John McCain (if David could freely speak). These words represent the position of his wife, Carol Hrdlicka. Mrs. Hrdlicka is an active leader in the POW/MIA effort to find and bring home all of America's unaccounted for POWs and MIAs.

As President of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., a non profit 501c3 organization, (http://www.letfreedomring.com) , I took Carol Hrdlicka to Vietnam along with Muhammad Ali, former 3-time World Heavyweight Champion, to help find information about America's 324 last known alive POWs which included David Hrdlicka as well as the 2,500 other MIAs. According to Mrs. Hrdlicka, and documentary evidence in the hands of our government, David Hrdlicka is alive. This letter is addressed to Sen. John McCain, former member of the Senate Select Committee On POW/MIA Affairs and, once again, a candidate for President Of The United States.

Dear Sen. McCain:
My name is Col. David L. Hrdlicka formerly of McConnell Air Force Base. I have a question for you. I am a POW from the Vietnam War, captured in Laos on May 18, 1965, a couple of years before you were shot down over Hanoi. You were released from captivity in 1973. I have been here in Laos ever since beginning to serve my country forty-two (42) years, eight (8) months ago and (at the time of the writing of this letter). I was captured alive and left behind—given up as dead in Laos.

There were many broadcasts, reports and pictures of my capture that were released in 1966 and intercepted by our American forces. One such picture showed me very much alive being marched along in the jungle with an armed guard behind me holding my parachute.

Sen. McCain, when you were a ranking member of the Senate Select Committee investigating my whereabouts and the plight of some 324 POWs known to have been captured alive but who were never returned by the North Vietnamese in Operation Homecoming in April, 1973, my beloved wife, Carol Hrdlicka showed you a photograph of me taken at the time by my enemy captors documenting that I was alive and had been from the moment I hit the ground in enemy territory. My faithful wife, Carol asked—just before she testified before your Committee—if she could ask a question. The rude response from your Committee was, "I ask the questions. You supply the answers."

Carol has never given up hope that I am still alive. Sen. McCain, over the ocean the weak and the strong wait for the nation to come bring us home. We are being held against our will, locked away from yesterday many thousands of miles from home. Sen. McCain, don't you know I'm alive? How long do we have to suffer? Don't they know we’re alive? No one knows he degradation I've suffered. No one feels the pain that I've been forced to endure alone. So I'll just wait for the nation to get here and bring me home. I've waited so long. How much more do I have to give? Is there a soul in the nation who could agree just to see if I live? Doesn't anyone feel the sorrow? Doesn't anyone feel the pain?…Lest we forget the brothers and sisters who fought for this great nation.

Sen. McCain you conducted the Investigation and declared I was dead! But you rejected the evidence from Ivan Schredov, a Russian reporter from Pravda, who met with me in prison; and from Ivan Loboda a Russian war correspondent who saw me alive in a cave in Laos at a press conference held by my captors in 1969.

Vietnamese and Russian newspapers gave accounts of my capture. Carol, my wife, provided your Committee with confidential government live sighting reports in 1989 and 1992 confirming that I was still alive. Attorney Arnold L. Beizer, President of Let Freedom Ring Inc., at the request of my wife met with Ivan Loboda who emigrated to Tel Aviv, Israel after the War. Mr. Loboda once again confirmed that he saw me alive—being paraded as a war trophy of our enemy.

Defense intelligence agency (DIA) documents obtained by my wife reported, "General Chang was holding D. Hrdlicka and friends." 1988 Satellite spy images clearly revealed a pilot distress signal "USA" stamped by captured American pilots in dry rice paddy field in Laos. You ignored all this and ridiculed other evidence. Why? No confirmation to hear what they said? No confirmation if we're living or dead? I'm still alive! Why don't you bring me home?

On page 2 of The Report of the Senate Select Committee published January 13, 1993, Sen. McCain, you wrote, "The most basic principle of personal honor in America's armed forces is never willingly to leave a fellow serviceman behind." You added that, "The black granite wall on the Mall in Washington is filled with the names of those who died in the effort to save their comrades in arms." Your report also states, "Amidst the uncertainties of war, every soldier is entitled to one certainty—that he will not be forgotten."

Sen. McCain, you profess to be a patriotic American who served his country, but you left us behind and left us for dead. Why? I was prepared to fight, to be wounded, to be captured, to be tortured by my captors, and even prepared to die, but I was not prepared to be abandoned by you and my fellow Americans. Sen. McCain, your Senate Investigating Committee was created, you said, because of the need to re-establish trust between our government and our people on this most painful and emotional of issues. You promised to investigate and tell publicly the complete story of what the government has known and has been doing on behalf of POWs. There were over 2300 Americans listed as "unaccounted for" from the Vietnam War. I am one of them.

But you have forgotten your obligation and your promise—and you have forgotten me. Since you would not answer my wife Carol's question, I have a question for you Sen. McCain. You are running for President of The United States and have proclaimed yourself as a hero of the Vietnam War, as an honorable former POW and a trustworthy leader of our country. Why should any American believe you or follow you as a leader when the leader misleads the American people on an issue of trust as important as the POW issue?

You have failed and neglected to live up to the responsibility of personal honor owed to your fellow Americans by willingly leaving us behind. You have broken your promise to me and to your comrades and written us off as expendable while you have moved on to bigger and better things for yourself. This is not the definition of a selfless leader but of a selfish and untrustworthy serviceman and public servant. Sen. McCain, I'm still alive. If you do nothing else, please send me an absentee ballot. I sure would like to vote this November. Who is it, again, that's running against you?

Col. David L. Hrdlicka
34th Fighter Squadron
U.S. Air Force
(from a Laos cave where there are no voting booths)



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