One of the cruelest legacies engendered by the Vietnam War was the issue of service members being declared missing in action or MIA. When that happened family members were cast into a state of limbo (a place or state of oblivion to which persons or things are regarded as being relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date.) Many family members of MIA Vietnam Veterans have spent a life time bearing the heavy weight of worry and heartache wondering if they will ever know the fate of their loved one.
Family members of the fifteen Vietnam MIA’s from Missouri and a state legislator are demanding answers about their loved ones. A story from Missourinet titled: Families, State Lawmaker Want Answers About Missouri’s Missing Vietnam War Heroes that was submitted by Alisa Nelson, a contributor to Missourinet, describes the action being taken in that state to prod the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) into coming up with answers for the families.
On April 21, 1967, Army Staff Sergeant Paul Hasenbeck of mid-Missouri’s Freeburg vanished while on patrol. He was a member of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. His sister, Jeanie Hasenbeck, has been on a life mission to find out what happened to her brother.
She has been able to obtain documentation from both Vietnamese and US intelligence sources that indicate her brother was forces to teach English to Viet Cong cadres. Her efforts to obtain information from the CIA have proven fruitless. She was informed by the agency they had no information about her brother even though she had acquired CIA documents related to her brother from unnamed sources.
Another puzzling fact is that numerous items identified as belonging to Paul Hasenbeck that included his name, rank, and unit were on display at a museum in Hanoi. Of course, the CIA never acknowledged the evidence or followed up on it as far as Jeanie Hasenbeck can determine.
Meta Republican state Rep. Tom Hurst introduced a resolution that was passed unanimously that urges the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to make it a priority to resolve the open Missouri cases.