October 26, 2016




  1. Recent awards by the United States Army to Gen. Bikram Singh, Chief of India’s Army, are very disturbing to the families of American military aviators who died in northeast India during World War II and whose remains are still unrecovered, due to the Indian Government’s failure to respond in a timely manner to the families’ repeated requests for permission to retrieve their loved ones’ remains. On December 5, 2013 Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno awarded the Legion of Merit, one of America’s highest decorations, to Gen. Bikram Singh, Chief of the Indian Army. Gen. Singh was also inducted into the US Army War College International Fellows Hall of Fame. I understand from press reports that these awards were made primarily to recognize the Indian Army’s assistance to the United States in training Afghan security forces. While I certainly think we should all be very grateful to the Indian Army for this assistance (which of course benefits India as well as the United States), I think that it is problematic at best to bestow these awards while the Indian Government continues to refuse to (1) permit American DoD teams into the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh to recover the remains of the dozens of American aircrews who perished there during World War II, and (2) send remains recovery teams of its own into Arunachal Pradesh for this purpose in the absence of American DoD teams. These awards imply a level of existing cooperation which, frankly, is not being extended by the Indian Government. It’s distressing to these families that the US Government made these awards in full knowledge of the Indian Government’s continued unwillingness to heed this humanitarian request….Gary Zaetz, nephew of USAAF 1st Lt. Irwin Zaetz (B-24 navigator) of Burlington, Vermont, missing in action in Arunachal Pradesh, India, since January 25, 1944.

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