Vietnam Normalization Staff Ride Visits Hanoi
Cadets in Hanoi on the Vietnam Normalization Staff Ride studied the evolution of the Vietnamese-American relationship since 1973 visiting the Hoa Lo Prison (commonly known as the Hanoi Hilton), Detachment 2 of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency playing a friendly game with the Vietnam Basketball Association's Hanoi Buffaloes. The events of the day highlighted a strengthening cooperation between the two nations over the past 45 years as the United States strives to account for missing personnel from the Vietnam War and as Vietnam continues to grow its economy and its cultural links with the US.
The cadets noted the contrast between the Hoa Lo Prison, where American POWs were held in captivity from 1964 to 1973, and the warm welcome they received by the people of Hanoi just a few blocks away in the Buffaloes' arena. Arriving to play a friendly game with the Buffaloes, they were surprised to find enthusiastic fans, and were impressed by the lengths taken by the league and the team to welcome the cadets. Crucial to normalizing relations has been the ongoing mission to account for those missing from the Vietnam War. The commander of Detachment 2, LTC Adam Points, shared DPAA's mission to achieve "fullest possible accountability" of 1,246 service members who are still unaccounted for in Vietnam. LTC Points and his team explained their mission, operations, and how the Vietnamese government supports them in their efforts.