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On February 17, 1988, one month and a half after taking command of UN Observer Group Lebanon, Lieutenant Colonel Rich Higgins was captured by Hezbollah terrorists. At some unknown later date, his captors murdered him! During his time in captivity, he was interrogated and tortured, and at one point his captors announced to the world that they intended to try Colonel Higgins for war crimes since he had served in Vietnam.

18 months later, Colonel Higgins’ lifeless body was broadcast on television screens around the world, hanging by the neck. It wasn’t until December 1991, that his remains were recovered – dumped on a street in Beirut.

Although captured and held by armed enemies of the United States while on Military Assignment with U.N. Forces, Colonel Higgins was never designated a Prisoner of War.

Your Military Personnel desperately need your support and your assistance in ensuring that this does not ever happen again. Our men and women in uniform face a new reality in armed conflict, namely fighting terrorism. One stark reality of war is that troops can be captured – they can be taken as a prisoner, such as what became of Colonel Higgins.

Currently, Uniformed Service Personnel who are kidnapped, abducted, or otherwise taken prisoner by terrorist factions, are not considered prisoners of war by our own Government; instead they are considered hostages, captives, or detainees.

There is an effort currently under way to change this law. It is called Operation Higgins in memory of Colonel Rich Higgins, USMC, and is a non-partisan effort to change the law to support our military personnel. We propose that any member of our armed forces, who is taken prisoner by these terrorist be provided all protections under international law(s) and be granted PW status – not hostage, captive, or detainee.

You can do your part by writing, calling, or visiting your elected officials and inform them that you would support a bill that would protect future American POWs. Encourage your elected officials to support federal legislation that will protect their own sons and daughters who may be called upon to defend our nation.

Additionally, you can log onto our website at and download a printable petition that you can sign and circulate yourselves.

The time to get involved and let your voice be heard is now!


Mike Blades


1/10/04:  If you live in the Adams/York/Lancaster and wish to assist in putting together a local event to raise awareness about Operation Higgins, please contact me ASAP!  I don't currently have anything planned, but would like to get something going!!!  My email address is

[ Notable Books ]

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Leave No Man Behind by Garnett "Bill" Bell with George J. Veith

Kiss the Boys Goodbye : How the United States Betrayed Its Own P.O.W.S. in Vietnam by Monika Jensen-Stevenson, William Stevensen

A heart-ripping autobiography of Colonel Jim Thompson, America's Longest-Held Prisoner of War.

by Frank Anton , Tommy Denton (Contributor), and Frank Anton

One Day Too Long by Timothy N. Castle

Five Years to Freedom by James N. Rowe

Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War by George J. Veith



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