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May-21-2010 06:11printcomments

Clearing the Air for Missing Photojournalist Sean Flynn's Family

The fog surrounding this four decade old mystery is thick; here is the story of Rory Flynn's tragic search for her daring, adventurous brother who lived the role his father played on screen.

Salem-News.com
The son of acting legend Errol Flynn, Sean Flynn, disappeared just over 40 years ago, while covering the invasion of Cambodia with Dana Stone, who also went missing. Daughter of Errol Flynn, Rory Flynn, has never given up the search, and remains recently recovered could be those of Sean Flynn.

(PHNOM PENH / LOS ANGELES / SALEM) - Swirling controversy, the love of a family, epic mystery, barbaric communism: these diverse conditions only begin to set the stage for the story of Sean Flynn, a memorable actor-turned-combat photojournalist who disappeared during the invasion of Cambodia, on 6 April 1970.

Sean Flynn and his father, Errol Flynn

His father portrayed a swashbuckling buccaneer in the movies, and Errol Flynn was a hero not only to American cinema fans, but also to his native Australians, who view this screen legend with immense pride even decades after his passing.

News reports flashed around the globe recently, announcing the possible recovery of Sean Flynn's remains in Cambodia, almost forty years exactly, after his highly lamented disappearance with his friend and fellow photojournalist, Dana Stone.

This is a story about a group of investigators who have worked with Rory Flynn, Sean Flynn's sister, in an exhaustive search for his remains. The team did find a grave, and many pieces to this puzzle do fit, but formal identification is still unknown at this point, in spite of numerous reports to the contrary.

More than anything, it is about the Flynn family, and a sister who refused to stop asking, searching, hoping...

It all comes down to the simple question, who do you believe? Do you take the word of the journalists who were Sean's friends, at least one of which who has tried to own the story, or do you consider Sean Flynn's closest living relative?

The journalists are to be respected, and as much as they may be uniting against the team Rory contracted to search for Sean, they suffer their own divisions and always have.

Still, there may be no more of a crusty and authentic band in existence; Tim Page, Perry Deane Young, Zalin Grant, the list is long and distinguished. Most of them recently sojourned to Cambodia to get together, something they don't do often, forty years after the fatal and memorable invasion of Cambodia.

When the search team Australian Dave MacMillan represents was asked by Rory Flynn to go to Cambodia, they embarked on a 40-year old mission that many had assigned themselves to in the past, mostly without success, some with strange and unverifiable claims of having located Flynn.

Months after embarking on this harrowing and dangerous journey in primitive, poverty stricken rural Cambodia, MacMillan and the others located human remains. They recovered substantial human bones and teeth. Along with these remains, they found remnants of the straps used to bind a man's arms.

They were working on a site in a particular village, for four months. Endless hours of carefully excavating suspect areas were dedicated toward the possible location of Sean Flynn. It should be noted at this point that both Mike Luehring and Rory Flynn are extremely clear about helping locate any of the missing journalists, or military, or whoever the individual may be. The long shot hope is that they will locate Sean, but in the meanwhile the family is bearing the expense all of these years later, to locate Sean or anyone else they may possibly find.

Rory Flynn told Salem-News.com, that it is, "another try to find my brother, I will keep trying but it is like a needle in a haystack......"

Misleading Reports

Reports hit the Internet pages and news stands like an ill-guided Scud missile strike. With little restraint, many claimed that Sean Flynn had been found, though at that point all they had were bones.

Then reports began circulating that the remains are not those of Flynn's, and that the excavation method which involved a mechanical backhoe was unsound. Rory and the searchers, soundly disagree. I have had extensive contact with Dave MacMillan and I have personally heard from every other person involved on the Flynn side of this. They feel like their journey is especially difficult and the pain is sharpened by the news reports based on speculation and rumors.

As to the reports that the remains "are not those of Sean Flynn", Flynn family Spokesman Mike Luehring said:

"Rory is awaiting official DNA results from JPAC. Three strong samples were collected from the remains which are being tested now. All information being reported is speculative. Rory continues to stay in touch with the State Department and JPAC"

After the first round of reports, we had to clear the air about Sean Flynn having been located. Now we have to repeat the process to state that no conclusions have officially been reached. It is sad that news being released creates more mystery than less.

Luehring said, "Beyond the Salem News coverage, I can't believe the continued slanted coverage of the story including misquotes and untrue information being reported."

So for the record, we will be in contact with Mike and Rory and we will release the real information as it becomes available.

Getting to know Sean Flynn

While many of us with an interest today never had the chance to meet this dashing, adventurous man of so many talents, there are those who did. Of course the best memories reside in people like his sister Rory and immediate friends; but we fortunately have some to share, that have been sent to Salem-News.com as a result of my previous reports.

One recent contact is a retired Marine Lt. Col. named Dick Merrit in Colorado. His contact with Sean Flynn was significant, and shows the side of a journalist who backed the troops he accompanied on patrol fully armed.

Dick met Sean in late October 1966 during operation "Lam Son". This account is in Dick Merrit's words:

"Throughout the week Sean Flynn was with us, he was one of the troops. He carried his own weapon and fought with us. Upon meeting Sean, I immediately liked him. He was like a Marine -never asked for any favors, dug his own fighting hole and never interfered with combat operations or decisions. We ate Vietnamese food -duck egg omelettes, French bread and drank Tiger Beer together on occasion.

"We were passing the outskirts of a small village, when about 100 feet away from the road we were following, the ground opened up, and out of 3 Spider Traps emerged Viet Cong riflemen. They started shooting at us and we dived down into the safety of the PC. They were not very good marksmen, thank God. Otherwise I would not be writing this, and Sean would not have returned to Saigon alive. Sean will always be in my memory. "I often thought of, and still do, of Sean. It was in April, 1970, when I was a student at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia that I learned that Sean was missing in Cambodia. It did not surprise me, as Sean went to where the action was."

A woman named Gigi Phillips wrote in 2008:

"I went to school with Sean at Palm Beach Private back in the 50's. He was older that I was, but was always so kind to me. Once he left Palm Beach, he would return to the school on his vacation. I have fond memories of him helping me with my math homework.

"Sean was a fine teenager when I knew him. Friendly to everyone, even the younger students. Gave anyone who asked rides on his motorcycle. His mother doted on him. I’m sure she was devastated when he disappeared."

Tom Reilly had a chance meeting with Sean Flynn some time after Dick Merrit met him, in May 1969, when Sean visited his base in the Central Highlands called Dakto. Tom says they were under siege.

In Tom Reilly's words:

'Amazing' doesn't quite cover the discovery of Sean's apartment in Paris, locked
and untouched, decades after his disappearance

"The base was a frequent target of VC and NVA rockets and mortars so the reporters who would appear with the arrival of the Hueys in the morning would invariably leave on those same birds when they flew out before dark. Sean stands out as the only reporter to my recollection who stayed overnight with us. He sacked out on a cot in the same tent that was my home." "Sometime during the night we came under rocket attack and I went through my normal drill of pulling on pants, boots, steel pot, flack jacket, M-16, M79, .45 pistol, ammo, and a six pack of warm Carlings Black Label on my way to the foxhole right outside the tent. "I noticed that the reporter was sound asleep so I nudged him with the barrel of my 16 and suggested that he follow me. He woke up in the dark, looked at the rifle pointed at him, and was a bit startled. He quickly sized up the situation, followed me, and jumped into the same 2 man foxhole as I. I remember offering him a beer while we curled up in the bottom of the hole and we introduced ourselves followed by an eminently forgettable conversation about nothing remarkable. We returned to our respective cots after the all clear. We chatted briefly in the morning and that was the last I ever saw of him. "He stands out in my memory because he was the only reporter who ever stayed overnight with us and I made a point of checking out published stories and pictures to see if his name was in the credits. The next time I heard his name was a news report saying that Errol Flynn's son was missing in Cambodia a year later. That was also the first I learned of his relationship.

Carole Freitas in Berkley, California, had a set of dog tags for forty or so years, that were inscribed with the name, "Sean Flynn". These could have been made as a tribute to Sean Flynn, or they could in theory, be a set that he had struck for one of his trips to Vietnam. I can tell you I have them made up every time I go to cover war operations, it seems possible they could have been his.

Carole contacted Salem-News.com, and turn was connected with the Flynn family. She is giving the set of tags to Rory Flynn.

Regarding her contact with Rory Flynn, Carole said, "I feel very honored. I know the tag is just a piece of metal, but what it stand's for make's it gold."

Every account, from the published books to these unique memories, all carry the theme of a young man who was liked by all, with the best manners and character traits. It is no wonder he is so missed.

The Sean Flynn Searchers

Photojournalist Tim Page

Dave MacMillan and Scott Brantley investigating
in Kampong Chma Province; Photo: Adam MacMillan

There are many people over the years who have searched for Sean and Dana. The most well known by far, is Tim Page. He spent years covering the Vietnam War and was a friend of the two missing journalists. The half crazed journalist Dennis Hopper portrayed in the movie "Apocalypse Now" - was based on Tim Page. I know people who praise Page, but it is also true that he has a tendency to get on the bad side of people he mixes with, or vice verse, and there are few who would argue that Tim Page believes the story of Sean Flynn is one he more or less owns. All the while, the Flynn family as well as Rory's personal quest for information, have been fully left to the side.

Dave MacMillan, Rory's main force behind the recent recovery of human remains in the suspected Sean Flynn grave site, is one person who would disagree. At the age of 29 he is young, particularly when compared to Page or his peers who covered Vietnam. Most are well into their sixties, those who lived. But he has the kind of background that more than qualifies him to have a dog in this race.

In fact he has a rare empathy for Sean Flynn that few people his age could ever have. An experience he narrowly survived in Vietnam, more or less set his work on the Sean Flynn story into motion.

Prisoner in a Rice Paddy

It happened three years ago, in 2007, when Dave was working as a manager of a security firm in Vietnam. He had to move a large amount of cash, and in the process things went horribly wrong. Dave MacMillan was taken hostage by 30 gangsters in the back of Binh Duong province during a botched robbery attempt.

"Being at the mercy of these criminals who beat and stabbed me and held me hostage for 4 hours was quite a harrowing experience, there was nowhere to run or hide and no way to escape, just rice paddies and huts for miles around."

He says his captors had pink eye, describing their appearance as, "quite a hellish site". I can only imagine.

"Something clicked in my head during this experience that this is how Sean must of felt when he was held captive, completely and utterly hopeless, and that regardless of what I had to do I was going to get out of the situation and survive it."

Closing in

After surviving that situation, Dave's interest in Sean Flynn intensified, and he began studying, reading whatever he could about his disappearance.

Extremely rare Mexican movie lobby cards that promoted Sean's films with a
Spanish language version. Courtesy: Anthony Wright

A lifetime interest in Errol Flynn evolved from stories Dave's great grandmother shared. He remembers watching Don Juan and Robin Hood as an afternoon matinée on Australian television in 1984.

"I was immediately impressed by Errol Flynn and my grandmother told me that he had a very handsome son who went missing in Vietnam who had just been declared legally dead and I remember she showed it to me in the newspaper."

Even at that young age, something stuck in his psyche. His father was living in Vietnam by 2004, so Dave moved there to join him. He was getting much closer at this point to the source of his ever developing interest. He didn't know however, that he was on a course to become Rory Flynn's point man in this endlessly important search.

"I met a JPAC guy by the name of Michael Henshaw through a friend of mine Ian Griffin who I used to drink and party with, we started talking about Sean Flynn and he spoke to me about some other unresolved MIA cases and what he knew of the Flynn case."

Around this time, Dave met Ian Carter and Keith Rotheram the leaders of the secret mens club 'The Flynn Society' at Keith's then bar Cafe Latin in Saigon. Meeting these two spurred his interest, and he became a member of the Society.

"I then searched for his contact on the Internet and emailed Tim Page and asked him if it would be possible for us to meet and when he would be back in Indochina next, and when he got to Saigon for his exhibition 'From War to Peace' I was introduced to Tim by a mutual friend German dare devil documentary maker Peter Schied and we hit it off straight away and Tim and I became good friends."

Dave MacMillan was in the zone. He was able to spend his days in the places he had read about.

"So after walking and living on the same streets that Page, Perry Dean Young and Flynn lived on, and hearing the many tales and theories of what happened to Sean I read Jeffery Meyers 'Inherited Risk'."

A Parting of Ways

The Clash 'Sean Flynn' from the Combat Rock album

Jeffrey Meyers recently contacted Salem-News.com to remind us that the popular story about Sean Flynn and Dana Stone "turning themselves in" to a communist checkpoint is completely uncorroborated, and a real misplaced piece of information. His words are included in the article, "Sean Flynn's Remains Possibly Found in Cambodia"

The last chapter of 'Inherited Risk' details a theory that Sean Flynn had been killed in the village of Phka Dong by lethal injection in 1971. When MacMillan saw Page the next time, it was at an exhibition of the veteran Photojournalist's work. He said Page was "infuriated" over a challenge to his findings in "Derailed in Uncle Ho's Victory Garden".

He next saw Page about a year later in Saigon at the Underground Bar. Page showed MacMillan a document that he had been suppressing for many years, and referred to testimony that journalist Matt Franjola provided sometime in the 1990's after Page had released "Derailed".

MacMillan said, "The testimony was that of a Khmer Rouge cadre by the name of Heng Pheng who Franjola had interviewed in Saigon in March 1975, Heng Pheng claimed to have been a witness to the execution by lethal injection in Phka Dong of a journalist who the man identified as Sean Flynn out of a photo line up."

"Page asked me to chase up a list he had obtained of ex-Vietnamese soldiers who had been training Khmer Rouge medical staff, most of whom resided within HCMC."

He says his role as a part of the investigation team started there, and he went on to spend five weeks as Page's chief investigator.

Five weeks later, MacMillan forwarded approximately 40 documents to Tim's wife Marianne. He says at the end of the period Page ran out of funding and had to go back to Australia.

MacMillan said that left him without pay, and he cites that in an effort to overcome claims that he stole information from Page. "If he paid me for my work it would certainly be the case but he didn't and as a professional investigator I don't work for free when it is a commercial project."

It is sad that a great deal of animosity does exist between parties that logically could be working together to reach the same goals in Cambodia. With some exceptions, that is generally not the case. All the while Rory Flynn has hoped to simply locate her long lost brother.

Perhaps it is the success of MacMillan, a young tattooed Aussie, that makes it hard for some to take. But the guy is genuine; a real life character reminiscent of Indiana Jones - whose diligence led to the discovery of human remains in Cambodia that hopefully will lead to the identification of a missing person, regardless of who it is.

The Family of Errol Flynn

Dave MacMillan says to an Australian, Errol Flynn remains a national hero, "like a mix between the Kennedy's and all of old Hollywood combined quite possibly the coolest family to of come out of Australia."

Among Hollywoods's most famous, the actor Errol Flynn

It was while getting to know Rory Flynn and Mike Luehring, that he decided the mission to help locate Sean was more than worth it, despite the challenges that it represented.

"Rory sent me an authorization stating that I am the only person allowed to investigate the disappearance of her brother which was backed by a lawyer at the state department, and the rest is what the say history."

Sean Flynn, Dana Stone or any of the other journalists who disappeared in Cambodia were the only people in Cambodia at the time who had a noble agenda, or were there to do the right thing, when the US were waging an illegal and undeclared war on Cambodia and the Khmer communists were planning the impending holocausts who they were the architects of.

Dave MacMillan brought up a significant point about Flynn and Stone:

"These guys were the first victims of Pol Pot's regime, they foresaw the impending holocaust in the most horrible of ways." Millions would die over the following years, and the former enemies of the U.S., responsible for killing over 50k Americans during the war, the North Vietnamese, had to go in and neutralize the genocidal killing machine that went into place under Pol Pot.

"Sean as a human being was somebody who I admire, he was sensitive, tough and could have been anything he ever wanted to be but decided to be the guy who would go to the places nobody else would and had the balls to risk his existence most every day of his time he spent in Vietnam."

Well put, of course Dave MacMillan is also a fan of Sean Flynn's because he was in his opinion, "also very Australian in his fearlessness although he never had the opportunity to identify with being half Australian or to grow out of chasing his fathers ghost."

Sean Flynn packed so much into his short lifetime and made a lasting impact on the world through both his talent as an actor and as a war photographer and "roust about" -an Aussie description of Dave's that indeed seems fitting.

"He is such a tragic figure as well, a handsome young affluent man who learnt the hard way that violent Khmer communist would make no consultations for him, and regardless of whether or not we found him or not on the last mission, his fantastic bright future was destroyed and he was thrown in a hole in a rice paddies to reside in his forced tomb forever."

Overall, he says it has been a strange experience, one that leaves conflicting thoughts, but he says he would do it again for Rory Flynn and Mike Luehring.

"I went out there at 28-years old the same age as Sean when he went missing, so in some ways I think I went out there looking for Flynn but really more importantly I found myself, and was fortunate enough to survive it after a lot of close scrapes. But if I had information pertaining to the whereabouts of somebody who wasn't famous I would still act on it we did what we did in the name of humanity."

"...if you take the wrong path out there you are a dead man because ex-Khmer rouge cadre still work as bandits on some roads. So, when I motorbike out there I have to do so on an old Chinese bike which has no cowling,to go out on a new Honda Wave would be like rolling in a Rolls Royce."

MacMillan says future recoveries could be next to impossible, but the team did come across additional information regarding two Japanese journalists and a Dutchman in the same area, He blames poor relations with government officials at the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command. (JPAC)

He says before getting the search underway, they asked the JPAC team stationed in Kampong Cham, to assist personally. Their team leader, described as a young Marine captain who just returned from Iraq, said:

"We have been informed by Mr. Loverde about your mission and have been told under no circumstance are we to assist you, Mr. Maves told Rory Flynn that we would try to excavate the site out of courtesy, Sean Flynn and Dana Stone were non military person ell so therefore are not and will never be our priority, JPAC's mission is to recover US military personnel."

"So we had no other choice but to launch a private mission," MacMillan said.

This was to have numerous pitfalls and roadblocks. The Cambodian general who works with JPAC, MacMillan says, made it known to many people that he doesn't like Dave, and wanted to find a reason to arrest him.

"Funny hey, The country is run by ex-Khmer rouge who to the most part have been pardoned for their crimes against humanity and then when guys like my team and I end up successfully recovering remains, they keep looking for ways to string us up."

He believes in the end, that Cambodian officials still have their share of dirty secrets to hide; they aren't impressed with a foreigner unearthing a piece of history they would prefer to forget.

The relationship Dave MacMillan refers to with the JPAC officials in Cambodia is his personal experience. He is at the tip of the spear, and a person very dedicated to what he is doing, with his own set of personal reasons and experiences. I can say that my dealings with JPAC have been cooperative and helpful. By the same token Mike Luehring wanted it to be clear that Rory Flynn has a long, ongoing relationship with JPAC and other agencies, and the Flynn family has positive comments about the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command. (JPAC)

(Observations from Marianne Meyers in California, another researcher of Sean Flynn, friend and associate of story author)

I have been following the story of Sean Flynn, Dana Stone and the other missing photojournalists for over three years now. I have spent hours compiling information just so I could seek to understand the whole story. “Requiem” a book that contains countless photos collected by Tim Page and Horst Faas, is a fitting tribute to all the photojournalists that perished in Indochina spanning from the 1950’s all the way to the end of the war in Vietnam. I have a great respect for these older combat journalists who call themselves “the Old Hacks.” I especially appreciate the information provided by Zalin Grant, Tim Page and Perry Deane Young, which helped me learn about this tragic story of Sean Flynn, among others, who disappeared into Cambodia little over a year before I was born.

I also am filled with admiration and compassion for Rory Flynn, a woman who has been haunted for decades about really happened to her half-brother. She is one of Sean’s only close blood relatives left and she, like his old cronies, want to find his remains, so his spirit can finally be at peace. In her book, “Baron of Mulholland Drive,” Rory devoted a third of her book to Sean, while the rest was about her father. Personal family photos and pictures of Sean in Vietnam are included, along with eye-opening letters from Sean to his mother, Lili Damita. Rory is a woman who has not been able to forget her brother, even naming her only son Sean in honor of his memory. According to her book, she followed every lead for years, no matter how vague, in hope of finding Sean’s whereabouts, always wondering if she was doing enough. She had stated in her book that she had always wondered if he was still alive in some prison camp waiting to be rescued. The only information she wrote that she finally did receive was an Air Force report through the Freedom of Information Act that Sean and Dana were probably dead. No one can have closure on “probably.”

It is a shame that there is so much dissension going on right now between Sean’s old friends and family. So much would be accomplished if they would work together. Rory Flynn is Sean’s closest living relative besides their other sister Deirdre, which gives her the right to claim his remains. His fellow photojournalists and friends, could use their knowledge and media connections to help speed the process. The remains in the care of JPAC right now, may very well not be the remains of Sean, but in this case the search must continue for graves of Sean and the other missing journalists. No stone must be unturned, and every available resource and possible help must be used in this situation.

There have been so many searches for the missing journalists, beginning with the first official search, right after Sean, Dana and a few others disappeared in April, 1970. Zalin Grant had been asked by Time Magazine and an international committee of journalists to lead this search. He worked along with the government and leading media figures such as Walter Kronkite to find out what had actually happened to the journalists. Even today, that search and the one he conducted in 2001, provided some of the most comprehesive information pertaining to what may have happened to his two friends and where their remains along with some of the other captured journalists might be. That does not take away from the work that Tim Page has also done investigating what happened to his friend Sean. He was in the hospital,recovering from a shrapnel wound to the head, when he heard the news that Sean and Dana had been captured. As soon as he was able, he started searching for them, many times over in the last almost 40 decades, always hoping against hope that he had finally found the two. Patricia Hangen, widow of Welles Hangen, one of the missing journalists, whose remains were found in 1992, was quoted in different newspapers such as the Palm Beach Post and the Pittsburgh Press in May of 1972, as stating something that I am sure all the families and friends of the missing men felt. This was at a time they still had hope of seeing their loved ones come back. These are her words,”Seventeen men don’t simply vanish. Someone knows where they are and why they are being held. I believe this and so do all the families and friends of the missing newsmen. Our men will walk back but they need help to speed that day.” Now, forty years later, people like Tim Page and Rory Flynn can still help, at least in terms of finding the missing journalists’ remains.

Barbaric Place & Mixed Success

When searching for war photojournalists missing for forty years in remote, barbaric rural Cambodia, even the most diehard researchers run into walls.

Australian searcher Dave MacMillan experienced a real breakthrough when human remains were discovered in the search for Sean Flynn. Heading the team contracted by Sean Flynn's sister, Rory Flynn, and Mike Luehring, who represents Rory's affairs, Dave said it was an amazing pleasure to pass the word back that they had discovered human remains.

These images from the research and recovery team assembled by Rory Flynn,
sister of the long lost photojournalist, spent four months at this location, to no avail.

But the success experienced so far has been a bitter pill. The moment potentially held the key to unlock four decades of mystery for Rory Flynn and all of those who knew and loved Sean Flynn, yet that moment remains out of sight.

And that is the biggest shame so far; that the mystery endures, even though remains were actually located. Of course Rory and Mike and Dave and his team are all extremely aware that this may not be Sean Flynn's grave, but it very could be, and the difficulty it involved is a lesson for those who were there: Cambodia is still an extremely dangerous place, when you're out in the backlands.

Then there is the insane climate and generally tough environment that is extreme on nearly every level. MacMillan says due to the reality of how long these people have been in the ground and the conditions that they were buried, it is highly unlikely that any further remains can be found. That directs the pressure back to this operation; there may not be another like it.

Another serious setback comes from short life spans. Cambodia even today, ranks among the most hard pressed places in the world.

MacMillan said, "You also have to remember that most of the people involved in the murders of the journalists were either killed in the Eastern Zone Purge of 1976 or died during the Vietnamese overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in 1979."

In reality, the mortality rate in the provinces is terribly high. Dave says the villager who turned out to be their main witness, the man who led them to the site that contained remains, died at the age of 52 during the search period.

"...if you take the wrong path out there you are a dead man because ex-Khmer rouge cadre still work as bandits on some roads. So, when I motorbike out there I have to do so on an old Chinese bike which has no cowling,to go out on a new Honda Wave would be like rolling in a Rolls Royce."

MacMillan says future recoveries could be next to impossible, but the team did come across additional information regarding two Japanese journalists and a Dutchman in the same area, He blames poor relations with government officials at the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command. (JPAC)

He says before getting the search underway, they asked the JPAC team stationed in Kampong Cham, to assist personally. Their team leader, described as a young Marine captain who just returned from Iraq, said:

"We have been informed by Mr. Loverde about your mission and have been told under no circumstance are we to assist you, Mr. Maves told Rory Flynn that we would try to excavate the site out of courtesy, Sean Flynn and Dana Stone were non military person ell so therefore are not and will never be our priority, JPAC's mission is to recover US military personnel."

"So we had no other choice but to launch a private mission," MacMillan said.

This was to have numerous pitfalls and roadblocks. The Cambodian general who works with JPAC, MacMillan says, made it known to many people that he doesn't like Dave, and wanted to find a reason to arrest him.

"Funny hey, The country is run by ex-Khmer rouge who to the most part have been pardoned for their crimes against humanity and then when guys like my team and I end up successfully recovering remains, they keep looking for ways to string us up."

He believes in the end, that Cambodian officials still have their share of dirty secrets to hide; they aren't impressed with a foreigner unearthing a piece of history they would prefer to forget.

The relationship Dave MacMillan refers to with the JPAC officials in Cambodia is his personal experience. He is at the tip of the spear, and a person very dedicated to what he is doing, with his own set of personal reasons and experiences. I can say that my dealings with JPAC have been cooperative and helpful. By the same token Mike Luehring wanted it to be clear that Rory Flynn has a long, ongoing relationship with JPAC and other agencies, and the Flynn family has positive comments about the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command. (JPAC)

The Location

Phka Dong is on the other side of the Chup rubber plantation, about a 90 kilometer trip from Kampong Cham City. When traveling through Chup, you are flanked by huge plantations which go for Kilometer after Kilometer, then there are areas where you can see 50kms into the distance whichever way you look, where the ground is completely flat, MacMillan said.

Overview of the area surrounding Phka Dong village in Cambodia. Courtesy: Google Earth

"Village life is very similar to how it would of been in 1970 in Phka Dong, the only difference is that they have car batteries which power their neon light and mobile telephones. There is nowhere to buy food because most people don't have food to eat let alone sell. The village is populated mainly by ex-Khmer rouge cadre."

Dave says even in the home of the late Mr. Duch Chhang, an eyewitness to the execution of a man who matched the description of Sean Flynn, "they can't afford the most basic of medical assistance or medication. As a result, dysentery and diarrhea are a major killer and there is no fresh water." The water that the villagers drink, he says, is contaminated from an old Khmer Rouge trench installation and for consumption, Dave says it needs to be boiled 4- 6 times, "after which the color of the water is a combination between yellow and green."

According to geckogo.com, "The Chup Rubber Plantation was one of the world’s largest rubber plantations until the time of the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s. It remains the largest active plantation in Cambodia at 13,250 hectares in size, and is the only rubber processor in Cambodia. The Chup Rubber Plantation is the most visited of the seven commercial rubber plantations in Cambodia."

This is a place where children in the poorest families don't have clothing until they reach puberty and then it is just a krama (Traditional Cambodian garment with many uses, including as a scarf, bandanna), so in Dave's description, it is a place which quite literally exists in a time capsule.

"The Internet to the villagers out in Kampong Cham is something you line your fish trap with."

The sad truth according to this Aussie, is that the wealthiest people here are the ex-Khmer rouge. "Just like everywhere else in the world they take the good land and then moved the poorer peoples out the back of the villagers into mosquito infested mud pits where they cant grow any crops," MacMillan said.

"Rice is God and a lot of the locals live off of rats or possums that they have trapped,nobody seems to have enough food but everyone has a gun."

"God forsaken" comes to mind. This ugly reality for millions here, is the result of communism in its very worst form, and that is really saying something. MacMillan says the locals make a living by digging cassava root in the dry season. A lot of them die during this time because the area was heavily bombed. These poor people accidentally dig up unexploded US ordnance from the war, which rises up from the paddies year after year due to the wet season.

Dave MacMillan knows the awful, terrible side of this very well, far better in fact than he would like to.

"My brother Adam and I were less than 100 meters away from three farmers dug up an old CBU and were turned into dust."

Then he says the weather changes and a different type of menace rears its head, "then they spend the wet season being flooded and starving during this time a lot of people are lost due to malaria." The same threats exist to searchers who expose themselves to the elements for months on end. For Cambodia,

"So really apart from the car batteries and farming industry which last half of the year, the only difference is that the ex-Khmer rouge guys aren't executing people anymore. That being said, if you take the wrong path out there you are a dead man because ex-Khmer rouge cadre still work as bandits on some roads. So, when I motorbike out there I have to do so on an old Chinese bike which has no cowling,to go out on a new Honda Wave would be like rolling in a Rolls Royce."

Dave says in this section of Cambodia, the remnants of war have lasted with the people. "They live a day to day existence and the extremely ancient and violent behavior and mindset which the Khmer Rouge instilled within the Khmer psyche has yet to work its way out of the culture." The area is subject to abject poverty so in his opinion, the war is not exactly over for the peasants, "they just have to deal with digging the bombs up and no longer have to worry about them falling from the sky."

Solid Information

I met a gentleman named Dan Smith who is a Vietnam Veteran and a person who has spent a great deal of time in SE Asia in recent years investigating leads. He is as genuine as anyone in his position could ever be, and he told me that he believed he had turned up the location of Sean Flynn's final resting place.

Images of the Khmer Rouge years in Cambodia. Courtesy: newscambodia.info

This, as it turns out, is where the remains in question were located.

MacMillan said, "Dan Smith is also somebody I have a huge amount of respect for. I wouldn't have achieved anything if not for this man's foresight, the man is my brother for life now."

The site where Dave and his team would end up being situated for months, was a place where plenty of people needed work. Most were with the ex-Khmer rouge cadre. He says it was not really a lovely experience.

"It was some what of a grin and bear it kind of situation, I can't explain to you how nervous one gets when an ex-Khmer rouge executioner who you have hired as a hand digger is swinging a pick axe by your head."

He says it is always in the back of your head: "the irony that this guy is now digging a hole for you to try to find the body of somebody he killed and that 40 years ago he would have had me digging the hole myself and the pick axe would be soon after rendezvousing with my skull."

MacMillan says people in this area were nervous in dealing with western people, he believes a chance was lost in 2008, when Tim Page and his crew went to the village made multiple trips to this mostly forgotten place.

"Due to the fact that they entered the village with cameras rolling they scared off a lot of principles witnesses of whom many were ex-cadre who knew details about the case who are still currently fugitives of the UN."

Page was not the first to search here, according to MacMillan. "The US government came to Phka Dong village investigating the disappearance of Sean Flynn and five other Caucasian journalists in 1991."

It is estimated that up to 4.8 million people died during the Cambodian genocide
that followed the U.S. war in Vietnam. Many sources claim the number is lower, but
Wikipedia states that mass graves already located contained 1.39 million bodies.
This story is about the difficulty of recovering people here; it is hard, everything
works against someone doing this, because it brings up history that is not only ugly,
but could lead to UN arrests and prosecutions. In the end it is a number that needs far
more recognition in the world.

And that sounds like it was a real trip back in time. Apparently the Americans flew into the site in a helicopter. They started to interview villagers when still active Khmer Rouge troops in the area began to walk out of the jungle and descend on the US investigators, who were forced to withdraw. MacMillan says Peter Loverde of JPAC had also been there investigating the case in the village prior to Page.

"So subject to Page's claims in the media of late he definitely wasn't the first to be involved in investigating in this village," MacMillan said.

"Our game plan at MacMillan-Brantley Investigations from day one was to roll in with no fancy cameras. I took a few disposable cameras with me to the site and shot the potential grave sites and used the cameras as a forensic tool.

"So our plan paid off and when ex-cadre were convinced that I was there as private investigator there to bring a civilian journalist's remains back for their family, and was not interested in revenge or legal justice being paid to them for the killing, and also when they realized that I wasn't a journalist they opened up and started telling me what they really knew."

He says that to a large degree, these villagers had lied to Page and the US government about the actual grave locations because they believed that speaking to them would end up leading to their arrests. "They feared the UN would use them as scape goats, so they kept the truth at a safe distance from them."

Phka Dong, Kampong Cham

MacMillan says based on the best information, the trail for Sean Flynn, Dana Stone and several others; five Caucasians out of a group of ten journalists who were being moved together, came to an end during a series of violent executions over a three month period at various clandestine grave sites around the village of Phka Dong, Kampong Cham.

Dana Stone sitting, Sean Flynn standing right, in a picture that speaks a thousand words
(Photographer credit needed, any help is appreciated)

He says two Japanese were then moved on and killed behind a Wat in Svay Reing.

Information is extremely scarce; Dave MacMillan believes it is only possible to recover one of the men from the Phka Dong site because the man who executed the journalists was killed in the Vietnamese overthrow in 1979.

So the idea that even one person in Phka Dong would have key details, sufficient to yield human remains, is remarkable. Of course the remains are still as of yet unidentified, but I have been told that in spite of claims to the contrary, there were substantial remains including a jaw bone and human teeth which are indeed verifiable. All because of a kind villager who recently died.

"The fact that Duch Chhang took me to the site and gave such an accurate testimony was a true blessing, without him finding the remains of even one of the journalists would of been impossible."

He says judging by the lengths they went to to hide the remains that his team did recover, he got the impression that the rest were buried in the same manner; "deep graves weighted down, tombs which they intended on never being found."

When MacMillan and his team first arrived in Phka Dong, they were told right away that they should speak to Mr. Chhang; a poor man who lived out at the back of the village, who claimed to have been involved in burying a white man and having witnessed his execution.

"So Mr.Chhang took us to the site and told us where to dig." It was good advice that MacMillan and he team did not instantly take.

"I then jumped in the hole with Kuong Thol and we started hand digging and moving the rocks away. Thol pulled out some clothing material then he pulled something out of the mud which I initially thought was a coconut husk, Thol said 'No this is the skull' I then reached in and found the teeth and then it just went on from there."

"That being said, due to the violent manner of death applied on the victim I decided to ignore that man and go to the hospital site and chase the lethal injection theory."

I know hindsight is 20/20, no doubt this team knows it even more clearly. After 4 months out there with their interpreter, Scott Brantley, and Dave's brother Adam, digging slit trenches, and after tracking down two ex-hospital employees, they decided to check the other site, the one Mr. Chhang had pointed out to them.

The lethal injection theory which had come up time and again, was discussed with everyone MacMillan could find who would talk, and might possibly know something. But ex-hospital employees said that they worked there from 70-73, and during that time they never saw a white man in the hospital.

"They also made the point of telling me that there would of been no way in hell that they would of given Largactyl to a foreign prisoner, due to the fact that they had no anesthetic for combat trauma and Largactyl was all that they had, so to use it on an imperialist enemy would of been a 'waste' of medicine when they could just execute them their normal violent way."

In the end, Dave believes they knew for certain that they had ample knowledge and evidence to strongly disclaim the lethal injection theory.

I know hindsight is 20/20, no doubt this team knows it even more clearly. After 4 months out there with their interpreter, Scott Brantley, and Dave's brother Adam, digging slit trenches, and after tracking down two ex-hospital employees, they decided to check the other site, the one Mr. Chhang had pointed out to them.

Exclusive photos of excavation: Scott Brantley

The lethal injection theory which had come up time and again, was discussed with everyone MacMillan could find who would talk, and might possibly know something. But ex-hospital employees said that they worked there from 70-73, and during that time they never saw a white man in the hospital.

"They also made the point of telling me that there would of been no way in hell that they would of given Largactyl to a foreign prisoner, due to the fact that they had no anesthetic for combat trauma and Largactyl was all that they had, so to use it on an imperialist enemy would of been a 'waste' of medicine when they could just execute them their normal violent way."

In the end, Dave believes they knew for certain that they had ample knowledge and evidence to strongly disclaim the lethal injection theory.

The Excavation

Dave MacMillan says they secured permission from everyone possible before bringing an excavator out to the site, but this is a land of shifting facts and alliances.

"You never know in Cambodia if you have full co-operation of the authorities, I told them plenty of times and the seemed to not care either way, all of the authorities who have claimed to help us in the press are out and out liars. All they received from us was payout money for them to leave us alone."

He says one police officer who took credit in media channels for helping the team, actually tried to rip Dave off for $600 he says, and his team had to escape and evade through the jungle.

Dave MacMillan says that when his team finally located the remains, their first thought was, "disbelief".

Again, they are highly criticized for using excavation equipment, but MacMillan and everyone involved says many remains and effects were located and they were not crushed or destroyed by the use of the equipment. Macmillan says the crew he and local interpreter Kuong Thol were working with, carefully removed the earth until the first sign.

Exclusive photos of excavation: Scott Brantley

"We were excavating the site skimming looking for rocks. We had almost given up when the operator hit something hard and cut the machine. I then jumped in the hole with Kuong Thol and we started hand digging and moving the rocks away. Thol pulled out some clothing material then he pulled something out of the mud which I initially thought was a coconut husk, Thol said 'No this is the skull' I then reached in and found the teeth and then it just went on from there."

Dave MacMillan says he still has trouble getting his head around the whole experience, "after all the work we did there and the months of digging in Phka Dong we had essentially given up on ever getting real results."

The credit goes to spiritual forces involved in this recovery; if not he says, they never would have found the remains. "The real chances were in the trillions, we were just fortunate enough to have had an honest witness."

But then everyone agrees that a certain type of energy connects straight to Rory Flynn, who has poured so much of her life into this tragic mystery, with so few rewards.

There is a great deal to say about the losses of this phase of the Vietnam War. Cambodia's invasion would set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to millions of Cambodians murdered in a mass genocide, in the years following the Vietnam War. I asked Dave if this posed an almost unwinnable challenge, when first considering the idea of locating a war journalist.

His answer came as a surprise.

Exclusive photos of excavation: Scott Brantley

"Fortunately as with the case of Nazi Germany, institutionalized violent organizations run by an iron fist by what I could best describe as human fecal matter, seem to be obsessed with documenting their atrocities." Therefore, if the Khmer Rouge had not been obsessed with documenting what they did, his team would never have had a head start, so to say.

I asked him about the jaw bone and teeth recovered from the site, and why the team believed they were not those of an indigenous person, a native Cambodian.

"Yes the jawbone which we recovered had very well maintained and expensive dental work, of which was rare for the time."

There are no rice chips on the teeth which are a dead give away of Asian teeth, Dave said.

"But the teeth remained very white after 40 years in the ground and the dental work is definitely western."

Other items were located with the human remains.

"Yes we found clothing which I can't exactly go into detail about but I will say that we recovered a pair of shorts very similar to the ones he was wearing on the beach with Perry Deane Young in the photo you published on your website."

He added, "No jewelery, it would of been stolen with everything else at time of capture. The prisoners did not even have shoes or sandals they were taken from them so they humped it across Cambodia with no shoes."

Dave MacMillan and Scott Brantley

Dave MacMillan says there were signs of bondage at the time of death.

"Yes, the remains we recovered had cloth ties used to tie ones arms behind their back and thick jungle reeds that the Khmer Rouge used to tie the feet of their victims."

After recovering the remains, the team was left with the unique need of evacuating them safely from the area. The plan was made to send the remains off in a vehicle, while Dave and Thol stayed on site, on their motorbikes, "in case some 'deliverance' style boonie cops decided to try to arrest us or steal the remains for ransom."

He says they got out of their safely, but heard through Tim Page's guide Nhit, that in spite of the arrangements and blessing from Rory Flynn, criminal charges and arrest warrants had been issued for the team, as well as an order to hand the remains over to Tim Page and Michael Hayes.

"We had every intention of handing over the remains but we weren't going to do so unless we had collected comparable data for our independent testing," MacMillan said.

"This was purely a ploy on Page's behalf for us to hand the remains to him, since I recently spoke to Michael Hayes who told me that he checked with the police last week when he was in Kampong Cham and no such charges were ever filed."

According to Dave, there is one particular reason that he drew the ire of Tim Page; their discovery of remains apparently tossed a wrench in a plan for a funded documentary.

"What Page didn't say was 'I need to railroad MacMillan because Wall to Wall productions are about to open up a budget of $3 million USD for a documentary that I am trying to make and this find has prevented the deal going through by only a matter of days.'"

Conclusion

At this point, until we know more, there is no official end to this story. It seems remarkable that this team was able to work with information from a Veteran who has had to deflect his fair share of bad reviews and endure a tenuous relationship with various officials. That is Dan Smith of Washington, who I view as an American hero.

The problems surrounding the Sean Flynn story range from serious inaccuracy in media reports, to huge name awareness, and without question, serious jealousy issues. I asked Dave to comment on Rory Flynn, who we all respect greatly for never letting this go.

"I think she is extremely brave I know that I personally don't have the intestinal fortitude that she has, nor could I open up such a wound 40 years down and be so involved in this unpleasant process."

Indeed, she has her family's blood, adventurous spirit, and the desire to see a real conclusion, one that is fitting. Dave said, "I also feel sorry for her because the allegations of bone hunting, profiteering and wrong doing by our crew. I feel that they are ultimately huge insults unfairly aimed at her and the Flynn family. This mission was a Flynn Family initiative as I told you before I'm just their field guy."

"Why put your life at risk this way?" I asked.

"My mother and father taught me to do the right thing and to never apologize for the truth."

Are you afraid?

His answer was a simple, "No", and I believe him.

"On the ground in Cambodia our operation 'Objective Sierra Foxtrot' has pissed a hell of a lot of authority's off, I know this is not because we were operating illegally but because when it hit the media it was obvious they were all sitting their with their dicks in their hands not knowing what was going on," MacMillan said.

"Regardless of what they all say, if the guy who we recovered from that grave site could speak, I doubt he would be saying bad things about my crew and I."

Scott Brantley with Brantley Investigations in Memphis, Tennessee, exemplifies the team that has been on hand during this period. He says he was "lucky enough" to be selected for David's team mostly over his 17 years as a licensed private investigator. If you know his name, it is probably because of his role as an actor in Golden Globe and EMMY winning motion pictures with stars such as Angelina Jolie and Samuel L. Jackson.

He also has experience as a videographer for ABC, and above all, my 35 years of interest in Sean's tragic fate.

Regarding Dave MacMillan and the recent search and excavation of human remains, Scott said, "He left behind a life as a successful musician and fashion designer to pursue this mystery and has, as very member of this team has, donated his own finances to this project."

He believes Dave has defended himself admirably in light of the powerful, negative interests that have come into play against him, and thoroughly refutes all the charges laid against the team as having "damaged and desecrated a mass grave". He believes the fact that JPAC has forensically analyzed the entire area in question without recovering additional remains, should lay the matter to rest.

In the end, Dave MacMillan believes Page and other strong critics, have missed the point.

"I frankly believe its despicable the way they have been acting, they have been fighting like a bunch of old dogs over a bone."

He says for his team, it isn't about the fortune and fame, it is for a family he has always thought the world of.

"I didn't do this for money I did it for the Flynn's and in the name of humanity, we don't know if we have found Sean nobody knows yet but that being said Flynn is the only foreigner who has been documented to have been killed In Phka Dong."

He says he hopes in the future, that those who work with the story have what it takes to be respectful towards Rory and her family and have been clutching onto the coat tails of Sean's tragedy for 40 years now.

"It's about time to quit cashing in and to start using their positions and names to try to force the US government to expedite the DNA and dental testing of the remains which we recovered in Phka Dong, If I was in this for the money as they are claiming, I would not of given you this story now would I?"

Previous Salem-News.com reports:

====================================

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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D-Mac Express September 10, 2010 11:44 am (Pacific time)

Espososito you want to know who MacMillan is maybe put your hands up in his presence,Mr.JPAC maybe you should do a better job investigating your personnel breaking international child sex and anti-fraternization laws,I just watched the video and how cool it is to see your officers drinking the "f@#king underage participants cool-aid!


Mike Luehring June 30, 2010 11:49 am (Pacific time)

Thanks tim for telling this story, as I can see from the comments especially from Mr. Jpac that there are still alot of grossly misinformed pepole out there to continue to listen to old voices from the past.


Gita Hall May 28, 2010 10:22 am (Pacific time)

I knew Sean through his father who was so proud of him. I watched him play tennis, got to spend some quality time with him on several occasions. What a rare outstanding young man and what a tragedy that he lost his life at such a young age!


Pius Eugene, Saigon/HCMC, Vietnam. May 26, 2010 2:06 am (Pacific time)

Thank You Tim King, and Rory and Dave for Clearing the Air.
I hope this Great Story gets picked up and spread the Good of News, the way news is supposed to.
My wife Nguyen Kim Chi and I, have known Dave MacMillan since he first arrived in Vietnam, and we are like Family.
We have great respect of each other.
We like his Energy, Passion, Integrity and Disipline.
But now after all that he has faced and gone through here and esp in Cambodia with 'Objective Sierra Foxtrot', I have a greater Respect for him.
Persistance, Determination and Patients to get to the bottom of it all has made him better, STRONGER yet humble person.
There is a better Energy, Spirit and Aura about him since he's been back.
We are glad that he returned safely.
"A matured gentleman who speaksout right, does right, and never apologizes for the truth"
This is our friend and brother.

I hope Tim Page(to sustain his hippy life he started taking photos, war helped him become a photojournalist) and other self-claimed friends, colleagues etc of Sean Flynn RETURN what ever items of Sean's they may possess TO the Family, so his Soul May Rest in Peace.

I totally enjoyed reading this, Mr Tim King.
Sir, you have done a great deed, indeed.
Thank you very much.


Ian Carter May 23, 2010 3:04 am (Pacific time)

Great story Tim, just want to clarify the "Flynn Society""was not a "Secret Men's Club", it was just a plan to show Flynn movies at the bar but it never happened as I moved to Cambodia.

However I have started it here in Phnom Penh and on May 30, eve of Sean's 69th birthday, will screen "Five Ashore in Singapore"at Meta House.

Check facebook for "Flynn Appreciation Society" and "Sean Flynn son of Errol Flynn"

Next month ""Ädventures of Robin Hood"

I am off for a drink or 7 now - cheers!

Tim King: Ian, I am always so happy to have you there and I am glad you clarified this point.  I told you I would write a story about your fantastic effort at collecting Sean's films and making them available months ago, and I am overdue, but it is on my radar brother and I think so much of the effort.  This piece was in the works for a long time, now will be a good time to just celebrate this great person, and you for all you have done.  .  ឣរគុណ (aw kohnCheers to you! 


Marianne Meyers May 22, 2010 6:19 pm (Pacific time)

Since you guys are omniscient, why not give credit where credit is due. Rory has been searching for her brother for decades and Zalin Grant was the one who conducted the first official search for the missing journalists along with the government and leading men in the media field such as Walter Kronkite. Neither Sean's sister or Zalin have felt the need to draw attention to themselves. They just want to find the remains of someone who they care about. And they are not just searching for Sean, they want to find the other missing journalists also. Focus on what is important rather than on slandering people.

Tim King: Marianne, thanks for your support and for being a great help on things!


Bill Esposito May 22, 2010 1:35 pm (Pacific time)

Wondering what "working for Rory Flynn" really means. It appears these guys are using her for an excuse to play army. Macmillan was what? A successful musician and fashion designer? Brantley was an actor? So bizarre. I travel to that part of Kampong Cham frequently, it's not "barbaric" jungle. It's cultivated and accessible. Don't take my word for it, just take a look at the Google Earth images you posted. There may be a few bandits out there; it's probably as dangerous as downtown Portland. If the reporter had been to Cambodia to check his facts he would have known all of this. By the way, the story credited only one reporter but included several datelines: Phnom Penh/Los Angeles/Salem. Was he actually in Phnom Penh and Los Angeles, did he file from those locations? Reporting by phone or email doesn't count. Very misleading and unprofessional effort. Yet another example of how blogging has killed the fine art of responsible journalism.

Tim King: Well this sure sucks to read, and regardless of who you are, you have no right being this way about it.  I was not in Phnom Penh but the interviews incorporated into this story are from on the ground.  Everything was done in cooperation with Rory Flynn and you have no right to question that, period.  Dave MacMillan is a fantastic human being and you know what?  You can't say that for everyone involved in this story.  And when people choose to just be snooty and exclusive and claim stories about a particular family as their own, they learn sadly that it was never theirs in the first place.  So you want to miminize Dave's experience, good for you.  He and Scott worked their asses off on this and when money ran tight, they pitched in.  That is spirit Bill, versus sniping through story comments.  You do a disservice to our 54 writers with your blog comment, and believe me I am holding back what I really would like to say.  Maybe the lesson to this story is that the old guard is losing its grip and its time for younger, more dedicated people to take over.  I think some of the people in this story are just incredible, and we are huge believers in every war journalist.  Of course you would talk down so fully, you probably think my time in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other younger reporters, is a joke right?  I wasn't in Cambodia and for the record, the dateline use is not according to Bill's conveniant needs.  We typically use multiple datelines to denote that the story is taking place in one region, with the writer in another.  That is called honesty.  Our writer in Tehran recently interviewed a professor in in Brazil, and thus the dateline was TEHRAN / RIO DE JANEIRO.   Don't like it?  I will get you a box of kleenex.  The world is evolving Bill, that's why the BS about the excavator being so bad has lost its steam.  We are today's journalists and we are strong and have incredible solidarity with our readers.  We are responsible or we wouldn't be here after 15k published articles over six years, we would have been sued and shut down if we were anything like what you suggest.  So, I guess you are just as far off track with your observations as you could be.  Furthermore, I have been defining how Web news is done for the past several years, no idea where you have been.  Try stepping out of the box just a little bit.   


Mr. JPAC May 22, 2010 6:55 am (Pacific time)

Correction on my previous comment on this story: Dan Smith is from Washington State. I assumed the writer meant Washington, D.C. Still, this is a strange rambling story with no fact checking or balance. I really don't think that Macmillan's alleged experience being held by "30 gangsters" more than qualifies him to search for Flynn than Page who lived and worked with Flynn during the war, and was injured five times in battle. Macmillan obviously has been sharing his kool-aid with Mr. King.

Editor: What previous comment?  The rambling insult toward myself and everyone else truly involved in this story?  You sure seem to share the mindset that has made everything so damned damned difficult.  Mr. JPAC, what the Hell kind of credibility do you expect to have with a moniker like that?  You don't even have a full name to contribute to this?  As far as Tim Page goes, he said long ago he had 'no interest in working" with me because I worked (at the time) for a network affiliate TV newsroom.  I would have been happy for years and years to have any type of feedback, believe me.  I came across Dan Smith by pure chance and he turned out to be everything I was initially told.  I guess it makes a big huge government agency what, not look so good?  But there have been no real efforts on the part of that agency to search for Sean, not for a long time anyway.  I know Tim Page had a film deal and that was disrupted by this, and that does suck for him, but it does not change the fact that people who could help speed this along are dragging their asses.  Trying to undermine DM when he is clearly working for an with and on behalf of Rory is a pretty low life tactic.  In the end I don't think you are with JPAC, I don't think anyone from that agency would drop down into the gutter the way you did with your baseless attack.    

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