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Collection Vietnam-Era Prisoner-of-War/Missing-in-Action Database

About this Collection

The latest batch of POW/MIA-related documents added to this collection describes leads for about 20 cases of Air Force, Army, and Navy personnel lost in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The documents include information on witness interviews and site visits in all three countries. One particular set of files concerns a metal identification tag recovered in 2007 from a site in Vietnam, which the DPAA Laboratory confirmed is associated with the May 15, 1966 loss of Col. Ralph C. Balcom (see photo). Balcom, a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, was the sole crew member of an F-105D fighter plane that crashed following an attack run in central Vietnam.

The title of this collection is "Correlated and Uncorrelated Information Relating to Missing Americans in Southeast Asia." It consists of a database of more than 160,000 metadata records designed to assist researchers in searching and accessing original U.S. Government documents pertaining to U.S. unaccounted-for personnel from the Vietnam conflict. The U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), formerly the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), declassifies these documents and releases them to the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress for metadata tagging and posting them online for public access. The Vietnam War dates from November 1955 through April 30, 1975. The items in this Collection date from this period and, since the search for the unaccounted for is still active, are still updated quarterly.

Title X of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, commonly referred to as the “McCain Bill,” required the Secretary of Defense to make information related to the treatment, location, or condition of U.S. personnel who are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War available to the public in a “library-like location within a facility within the national capital region for public review and photocopying.” A research entity within the Library, the Federal Research Division (FRD), was selected for this task. This Collection replaces the same collection that used to appear on the FRD website at

The Library has maintained online access to the metadata and most of the original records via this database since 1994. For some of the oldest metadata records, however, online access to the original document may not be available. In order to see the original records not available online, contact the Library of Congress Microform Reading Room at 202-707-4773 to obtain access. Be prepared to provide the Reel number and Page numbers of the document you wish to obtain. The database was last updated on July 7, 2021. It contains 163,534 records with 162,368 records having accompanying PDFs and 1,165 records with no accompanying PDFs.

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