Academic journal article Military Review

Until They Are Home: Bringing Back the MIAs from Vietnam, A Personal Memoir

Academic journal article Military Review

Until They Are Home: Bringing Back the MIAs from Vietnam, A Personal Memoir

Article excerpt

UNTIL THEY ARE HOME: Bringing Back the MIAs from Vietnam, A Personal Memoir, Thomas T. Smith, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2011, 136 pages, $29.95

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas T. Smith (Retired) commanded Detachment 2, Joint Task Force-Full Accounting/Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command in Hanoi between 2003 and 2004. His book is an informative and interesting review of that demanding and rewarding year of analysis, research, planning, and operations to recover the remains of American MIA in all areas of Vietnam.

Rich in descriptions of the demanding, even dangerous, work involved in field operations to recover remains in jungle, mountains, and swamps, Until They Are Home gives unstinting praise to the men and women, military and civilian, who have given many years to this noble effort. It provides an insider's view of the planning and research involved in each recovery operation. Perhaps most important, Until They Are Home details the extensive political tasks involved in coordinating the Vietnamese and American partners in this undertaking. It is fascinating to learn of the intricate maneuvering required to bring both sides to political agreement on each aspect of the recovery mission. The author's description of duty in Vietnam, "a place of shadows within shadows, secrets within secrets" is a picture of how two former enemies cooperated to achieve common goals--each side with different reasons to cooperate and different political bosses to satisfy. …

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