Charlie Dean

November 18, 2003

“Our family has learned from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) that what they believe to be the remains of our brother, Charlie, and his traveling companion, Neil Sharman, have been located in Laos in the area that I visited in 2002. While positive identification will take some time, the personal effects found at the site make us reasonably confident that we have finally located Charlie's remains.

“This has been a long and emotional journey for my mother, Jim, Bill and me. We greet this news with mixed emotions but are gratified that we may now be approaching closure to this painful episode in our lives. We ask that you respect our privacy as we arrange for the transfer, identification and ultimate burial of what we believe are Charlie Dean's remains.

“I want to particularly thank the United States military. The men and women I visited with and stayed with at base camp last year in Laos are extraordinary human beings. This whole operation is an extraordinary credit to the government and the U.S. military. My family and I are deeply appreciative.

“This is an extraordinary thing they've done: I've been on the site of five POW/MIA where they believe people are buried. It's very, very difficult. It's very rare to recover the type of remains that we recovered, which are very significant and are very likely to be positively identified.

“At every turn [JPAC and the U.S. military] have been accommodating and respectful of our family's needs, and we're grateful for their service to our family and to every other family who has experienced a similar loss.

“This is painful not just for us, but for the families of every POW/MIA in America. Based on my spending time in Southeast Asia last year I can tell you and all those families that similar efforts are being made for every family and every missing American from these Southeast Asian wars. This is an extraordinary step our government has gone to [to bring home every POW/MIA].

“We will likely travel to Hawaii for a repatriation ceremony on the 26th. When we have more information from the Pentagon, we will share that which is not private or personal.”

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