At the present time, the location that is recommended for excavation of San is in the Excavation Proposal process. When the Excavation Proposal is approved, the site will be put on the Master Excavation List. The Department of POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), once approved, will start the planning for when and if the excavation will be done in 2024.
The Fiscal Year 2024 Operations Plan by the Department of POW/MIA Accounting Agency has been approved for 2024, currently San is not on that list, however, it is a “living” document meaning that changes can be made. His excavation site is the very first one that was excavated in 2015, and the proposal would be for an extension of just “meters” from the same area previously excavated in 2015.
In 2019, the DPAA interviewed two Vietnamese witnesses who had previously given statements regarding the case and independently escorted them to the 2015 excavation site. One was a Vietnamese Battalion soldier who was guarding a tunnel and witnessed San land after parachuting and another Vietnamese Battalion soldier who was involved in his burial.
In February 2020, at a Family Briefing in Portland, OR, I was briefed by DPAA that the evidence reported was worthy and an Excavation Plan could be “fast tracked” through the system to be put on the 2020 Master Excavation List. Because of delay due to COVID-19, the world shut down. Countries closed their borders!
Once Again, we are back to the beginning of the paperwork for the final excavation……..it is my wish that all who knew San write a letter to their state Senators as I have done, requesting the IMMEDIATE addition of SAN D. FRANCISCO’S EXCAVATION PROPOSAL APPROVAL BE PUT ON THE MASTER EXCAVATION LIST FOR 2024.
Contact Defense POW/MIA ACCOUNTING AGENCY
Mail: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 2300 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-2300
Contact Senator Patty Murray
Mail: 154 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510-4704
Contact Senator Cantwell
Mail: 511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Since the sites were confirmed in 2015, there has been construction of a stilt house in close proximity to one of the sites. This house has no foundation and appears to run off a generator. During the construction of this house between 2015 and 2016, the occupant moved soil and fenced off the area around the house with barbed wire. When the American Retrieval Team went to area where sites were in 2016, they were impeded by the change in landscape (barbed wire). Permission had to be granted by the North Vietnamese Government to approach the area as the Team was unable to reach the occupant. After permission was granted, the American Team was able to access the area and do topical research and investigation. Metal pieces were found in the area.
Excavations continued throughout 2017 and 2018 on the site near the stilt home as shown in the pictures. In November 2017, the Francisco Family was informed by Secretary of Defense Mattis, “As long as there is evidence, the excavations will continue”.
Area excavated during 2018
During the 2018 excavations, material evidence was found consistent with bomb fragments. Due to ankle deep water, the 2018 excavation was terminated. The site excavation will continue in May and June 2019.
It has been 50 years since San set foot on American Soil, it is time to Bring San Home!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
The San D. Francisco Awareness Campaign
The San D. Francisco Awareness Campaign is a Corporation formed by family, friends and colleagues to further research, investigation, and location opportunities that may exist for the retrieval and return of San D. Francisco.
San was raised in Burbank, Washington, and attended school in both Burbank and Kennewick schools. San was a three sport athlete (Football, Wrestling and Track) at Kennewick High School, Class of 1962 and played football and wrestled at Central Washington University until 1966.
More importantly, San became a Hero on November 25, 1968, when he volunteered to take a reconnaissance mission knowing he was scheduled for R&R on December 1st.
1st Lt. San D. Francisco and Major Joseph Morrison were shot down while flying a F4D aircraft on a combat mission in North Vietnam. Both men ejected fairly close to each other and 700 meters from a North Vietnamese encampment. Both men established radio contact; however, contact with Francisco was lost within half an hour. The fate of San was clouded until June 2012 when the Quang Binh Province in North Vietnam became open for American investigations.
2012/2013 Investigative Reports by the Department of Defense have revealed North Vietnamese who witnessed that day; both San’s legs were broke upon landing and he was captured by a North Vietnamese Youth Army Ground Command. While being taken to captivity, American combat planes descended on the area; San was hit by bomb fragments and was buried where he fell. Additional witness reports from North Vietnamese sources, actual detailed maps and eye witnesses to the burial, indicate his remains are located on Route 20, Kilometer 54 in the Quang Binh Province in North Vietnam. Aging witnesses (70’s to 84) and constant environmental changes to the terrain add urgency to retrieving San’s remains.
San gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country; he deserves to be brought home to American soil NOW. Investigative and retrieval efforts to this point have been challenged by bureaucratic changes, budget cuts, and general lack of concern for the families affected.
San gave his life for all Americans......... and the American promise is “No Man Left Behind”.
For much more information on San D. Francisco visit P.O.W. Network. org