The following was obtained from Defense POW/Missing Personnel Affairs Office (DPMO), later called Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)

1. Official number of U.S. individuals listed as unaccounted for in Laos: 604 (Servicemen: 578, Civilians: 26)
2. U.S. individuals repatriated from Laos: 26 (Servicemen: 15, Civilians: 11)
3. Foreign Nationals missing in Laos: (unknown). Foreign Nationals returned: 6
4. Military (Laos) remains which have been repatriated and identified: 12
5. Civilians (Laos) whose remains have been repatriated and identified: 3

U.S. individuals as listed in the PMSEA as having returned alive: 26 (7 USAF, 4 USN, 3 USA, 1 USMC, 11 Civilians)

  1. Ayres, Vicki  2/27/75-3/5/75.  Civilian.  Captured while bicycling.
  2. Bailey, Lawrence Robert  3/23/61-8/15/62. USA O-4. C-47. Attaché. 
  3. Ballenger, Orville Roger 4/22/61-8/15/62. USA E-5.  Ground: Veterans Tribute
  4. Bedinger, Henry James 11/22/69-3/28/73. USN O-2. F4J back seat: Patriot, Prisoner, Suvivor
  5. Biagini, Frederick James 9/16/75-??.  Civilian. Ground.
  6. Brace, Ernest C.  5/21/65-3/28/73.  Civilian. CIA Bird & Sons. PC6A: A Code To Keep: The True Story of America’s Longest-Held Civilian POW in the Vietnam War
  7. Butcher, Jack M. 3/24/71-3/28/73. USAF O-2. OV10A PIC: Veterans Tribute
  8. Cius, Frank E. 6/3/67-3/4/73. USMC E-3. 1st MAW. CH46A.
  9. Conway, Rosemary A. 6/4/75-8/11/75. Civilian. Ground.
  10. Copp, James 10/3/88-11/12/88.   Civilian.
  11. Dengler, Dieter 2/1/66-7/29/66. USN O-2. Escaped. A1H pilot: Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War
  12. Dillon, Michael 2/27/75-3/5/75. Civilian.  Bicycling.
  13. Gotner, Nobert A. 2/3/71-3/28/73. USAF O-4. F4D PIC: Veterans Tribute
  14. Guy, Theodore Wilson 3/22/68-3/16/73. USAF O-5. F4C PIC: Bio: POWNETWORK
  15. Kay, Emmet James 5/7/73-9/18/74.  Civilian.  PC6: Bio: POWNETWORK
  16. Klusmann, Charles F. 6/6/64-8/31/64. USN O-3. Escaped.  RF8A pilot: Veteran’s Tribute
  17. Leonard, Edward W. 5/31/68-3/28/73. USAF O-3. A1H pilot: Behind Barbed Wire: A POW’s Story
  18. Long, Donna 10/3/88-11/12/88.  Civilian.
  19. Long, Stephen G. 2/28/69-3/28/73.  USAF O2.  O2A pilot: Veterans Tribute
  20. Mattix, Sam 10/27/72-3/28/73. Missionary from Seattle.  Ground.
  21. McMorrow, John P. 5/15/61-8/17/62.  USN E-3.
  22. Riess, Charles F. 12/24/72-3/28/73.  USAF O-3. A7D pilot: Bio POWNETWORK
  23. Shore, Edward R. Jr. 5/15/61-8/15/62.  USA O-3.  H-34.
  24. Simmons, Willie E. 8/16/75-10/1/75.  Civilian.  Ground.
  25. Stischer, Walter Morris 4/13/68-3/28/73. USAF O-4.  RF4C pilot: Veterans Tribute
  26. Wolfkill, Grant 5/15/61-8/15/62.  Civilian. NBC reporter. H34 passenger: Reported to Be Alive
Ernest C. Brace
Dieter Dengler
Theodore Wilson Guy
Charles F. Klusman
Henry James Bedinger
Norbert Gotner
Jack M. Butcher
Stephen G. "Steve" Long
Walter M. "Walt" Stischer
Orville Roger Ballenger

Foreign Nationals returned alive from Laos: 6

1. Andrade, Father 6/1/71-??. French priest.
2. Harnawee, Chaicharn 5/21/65-9/1/74. Thai Special Forces O-3. PC6A.
3. Intoratat, Phisit. 9/5/63-1/7/67. C46 (Probably Thailand). Escapee.
4. Oppel, Lloyd 10/27/72-3/28/73. Canadian missionary. Ground: Eye of the Tempest
5. Sakamoto, Hideako 10/30/73-1/30/74. (Probably Japan). Ground.
6. Wangchom, Nophadon 10/17/72-9/1/74. (Probably Thailand). Ground

Chaichan “Chip” Harnawee

The LULUs (The Legendary Union of Laotian Unfortunates)

There was a specific group of NAM-POWs who collectively are known as the LULUs (The Legendary Union of Laotian Unfortunates ).

They were: Walt Sticher, Sam Mattix, Lloyd Oppel, Steve Long, Ernie Brace, Jim Bedinger, Charles Riess, Jack Butcher, Ed Leonard, Norb Gotner

Walt was the senior ranking officer. They ended us in Hanoi for imprisonment and eventual release.

Steve Long provided the following narrative of the LULUs: Lost Union of Laotian Unfortunates:

Stephen Long was shot down near Mugia Pass, Laos, on February 28, 1969. After spending a few days in the caves of Laos, Steve was transported to Hanoi. After enduring an extended period of interrogation and subsequent medical treatment for a broken femur, he was inducted into the prison facilities at Camp Vegas. After six months of solitaire, Steve was moved within the compound to a room occupied by Major Walter Stischer, USAF, shot down and captured in Laos, April 13, 1968. Thus, the first union of American POWs captured in Laos and held in Hanoi.

Later that same year, two other POWs captured in Laos, Navy Lt. Henry (Jim) Bedinger (shot down and captured November 22, 1969) and civilian Ernest Brace (captured May 21, 1965), became cellmates in the other parts of Camp Vegas. Bedinger was the first prisoner arriving in Hanoi to carry the news that the US had landed a man on the moon. Brace’s gripping story of nearly eight brutal years in captivity, in the jungle and in Hanoi, is excellently portrayed in his book, A Code to Keep.

As a result of the Son Tay raid on November 21, 1970, the North Vietnamese captors decided to consolidate American POWs in Camp Unity. At this time, the four Laotian prisoners were separated from other POWs and formed what was to become known as the LULUs (Lost Union of Laotian Unfortunates). The LULUs were later moved from prison to prison, sometimes each in solitaire and sometimes sharing cells but never with other American prisoners known to have been captured other than in Laos. At this time, it became apparent that the North Vietnamese had identified the LULUs for different treatment because of their origin of capture. The LULUs were to be denied any exchange of packages or letters from the US and in fact their existence was hidden from other prisoners, separated by walls and makeshift barriers, and their
names were not present on any list of known POWs until after the war. They were to be held incognito.

As a result of the Son Tay raid, American POWs held in NVN were consolidated in Hoa Lo (Camp Unity) in Hanoi. The LULUs were housed in solitaire in the Building, together with the four 0-6 prisoners (each in solitary). These cells were high priority for the NVN because they afforded them the opportunity to keep prisoners in solitaire. So, when the prisoners had what was termed a “Song & Fest”; on 7 Feb 70, the cells were required to punish the leaders of the fest. The LULUs were segregated from the prisoners to empty the cells and were moved to Camp Briar Patch outside of Hanoi, again in solitary.

USAF Major Norbert Gotner (shot down and captured February 3, 1971) joined the group at the Briar Patch in June 1971. When the group moved to the Plantation in July 1971, they were joined by USAF Captain Jack Butcher (shot down and captured March 24, 1971 [after an extensive E&E] and USAF Captain JR Leonard (shot down and captured May 31, 1968) in the Gun Shed area of Camp Plantation.

Leonard had earlier been held with prisoners captured in SVN but would now join the LULUs behind the “Tar Paper Wall”; separating SVN and Laos in Camp Plantation. The LULUs were paraded through a number of prisons during their tenure in North Vietnam, finally being joined in the Snake Pit behind the Camp Vegas by USAF Charles Reese (shot down and captured December 24, 1972), and two young missionaries captured in Laos, Lloyd Oppel and Sam Mattix, both of whom had be captured a few months before. Eventually, the LULUs were released through an elaborate ceremony on March 28, 1973 where an Asian participant identified as a Laotian handed the LULUs over to the North Vietnamese, who in turn released the LULUs to the US officials.

While there were other American servicemen captured in Laos and Cambodia during the SEA conflict, the group of seven servicemen and three civilians in the LULU group was one the NVN identified for “separate” treatment. Post-war inquiries questioning if all POWs had been released raised an issue that perhaps there were POWs who had been kept separate from the main body of POWs whom had been captured in North or South Vietnam. While no “parallel” prison system was ever determined to have existed, the LULU experience was as close to “separate” treatment as could be identified.