Ann Mills-Griffiths, National League of POW/MIA Families Board Chairman to be Keynote Speaker for Memorial Day Ceremony

Ann Mills-Griffiths, National League of POW/MIA Families Board Chairman to be Keynote Speaker for Memorial Day Ceremony

Ann Mills-Griffiths has been selected as the keynote speaker for the upcoming Memorial Day ceremony at the Salina-Saline County War Memorial in Sunset Park, 700 Sunset Dr. The announcement was made jointly by the Sons of American Legion Squadron 62 and VFW Post 1432, who are organizing the event.

Ann Mills-Griffiths, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National League of POW/MIA Families, has dedicated over 45 years to leading the nonprofit, 501(c)3 humanitarian organization in Washington, DC. While stepping aside from daily administration of the League's national office in 2011, she remains focused on policy, operations, and sustaining the League's financial ability to achieve accounting objectives. Mills-Griffiths also served on the Advisory Committee of the Defense Department's 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration Commission, at the request of the Secretary of Defense. She is a member of various organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), American Legion Auxiliary, and Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), as well as being an Honorary Life Member of the Special Operations Association (SOA) and the Special Forces Association (SFA). In 2019, Mills-Griffiths received the VFW Americanism Award.

Ann Mills-Griffiths played a crucial role in representing the families' views from 1980 to 1992 as a founding member of the POW/MIA Interagency Group (IAG), which served as the US Government's senior-level policy development and implementation mechanism for achieving accounting results. She worked tirelessly to establish high-level negotiations between Vietnam and the United States in 1982-83, and helped to restore normal bilateral relations with Laos and Cambodia. Mills-Griffiths has since continued to advocate for POW/MIA families and missing personnel by engaging in direct contacts with US and foreign leaders.

Ann Mills-Griffiths, a prominent advocate for POW/MIA families, has engaged in frequent meetings with senior officials from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and other nations in order to accelerate progress on this issue. As a distinguished leader in this area and recipient of various honors, she has testified before congressional committees and subcommittees, as well as appeared in national and international media outlets to raise awareness of the POW/MIA cause. Mills-Griffiths has also played an active role in policy forums related to Southeast Asia, and foreign nations grappling with similar personnel accounting issues have sought her advice and counsel.

The Navy F4B, on which Commander James B. Mills, USN[R] served as Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), disappeared on a low-flying bombing mission over North Vietnam on September 21, 1966. Mills, who was on his second tour and assigned to Fighter Squadron 21 on the USS Coral Sea, was listed as Missing in Action (MIA) after the incident. His sister, Ann Mills-Griffiths, has been a tireless advocate for POW/MIA families ever since. In 2018, Commander Mills' remains were finally discovered along the shallow coast of North Vietnam, bringing a measure of closure to his loved ones after decades of uncertainty.

Salina Mayor Michael Hoppock, Dale Pugh (brother of Major Dennis Pugh, the only Salina County individual still MIA), and Ambassador David Lambertson (former U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State) will be among the special guests in attendance at the upcoming event.

The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 62 have spearheaded the development of a new site at the war memorial that will be dedicated to 11 POWs from Saline County and Major Dennis Pugh, USN, who is still listed as MIA. This site will be unveiled and honored during the upcoming ceremony.

The upcoming Memorial Day ceremony at Sunset Park, which is set to begin at 11 a.m., will feature military organization honor guards and a firing squad. Prior to this event, the VFW will hold a ceremony at 10 a.m. at Gypsum Hill cemetery located at 2020 E. Iron Ave. Additionally, the American Legion will conduct a ceremony at Roselawn Cemetery, situated at 1920 E. Crawford St.

Following the last ceremony, lunch will be served at the American Legion Post 62/VFW Post 1432 located at 1108 W. Crawford.

On Sunday, May 28th at 6 p.m., Mills-Griffiths will lead a discussion on POW/MIA issues at the American Legion Post 62/VFW Post 1432.

The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 62 and VFW Post 1432 are accepting donations to fund Memorial Day weekend activities and further their commitment to assist veterans. Contributions can be sent via mail or dropped off at their respective locations.

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