It's hard to really know where to start. But one thing that is traceable is that chubby young girls from California, became powerful matronly women. Back in those days they spent an awful lot of time being jealous of a former air hostess named Page Derks (Durks)? She was a statuesque blonde, with not an ounce of fat on her.

There was Gloria Coppin from Voices In Vital America (VIVA). They were POW bracelet people. Then rumors began that she was crazy and wanted to take the money an go into another charity. So the bracelets were taken away and the money was supposed to go to POW/MIA children in scholarships. It was placed under, Purolator Corporation.

Since that time I have heard the debate about who started the bracelets and who owned the rights. I believe somewhere along the road a court ruled that POW/MIAs owned the rights, since they were issued in their names.

The only thing for certain is that back then, everyone credited Bob Dornan with coming up with the idea for the bracelets. Then there was those who said Carol Bates was responsible. But that was later.

Ann Mills Griffiths had husband trouble and everyone felt sorry for her. She, like Carol, was a chubby girl. No one predicted they would go far. You'd see them out in Los Alamitos Naval Officer's Club, at meetings of another organization. It was run by a Naval Reservist, a very dedicated and nice man. He didn't listen to the chubby girls either and has been at war with the IRS ever since. To the point he became a total tax rebel and refused to pay at all.

The League was ruled by Iris Powers, but the chubby girls were talking coup. She was also a Government employee and there were rumors that she worked for DIA or even CIA. The chubby girls could give you chapter and verse.

After we came home the records and files ended up in the basement of George Brooks. I recall how he stood with tears in his eyes and told me that the returned POWs didn't give a damn about those still missing. He also related how Iris Powers was trying to "close the book on our own men." I told him I'd stand beside them. But years later, when I sued Ronald Reagan, he sat besides Ann Mills Griffiths and accused me of attacking "their President."

The chubby girls from California had come full circle. They had disrupted meetings and spread rumors about others being "involved with the Government." They forced them out. "It's time for new young blood."

George Brooks kept the records. By what legal right, no one knows. These were not League records on POW/MIAs. Ann became the paid Director of the League and totally co-opted the Board. When they attempted to fire her, the Government stepped in and said it would cut all ties with the League. Carol Bates and Dick Childress delivered the message. Carol was then working for DIA, after years as the League Liaison.

So the rebels had taken over the palace and did all the things they had accused those pushed from power of doing. They, literally in some cases, got in bed with the Government. Back in 1973 nobody gave a second look. I suppose that was hurtful for the chubby girls. They certainly got their revenge. But who suffered from their matronly whispered rumors and innuendo? Returned POWs, who didn't want to play? Carol Hansen, who married an ex POW was a victim of their evil tongues? The pretty MIA daughters who moved in and established relationships with men determined to do something about the problem? No, the real harm was done to the POWs, left in chains. They became secondary to the maintenance of power in the League and supporting organizations.

Women were the power behind the League and its formation. They, through their gossipy and catty behavior, have been the cause of most of its problems. But I remember most of them, when they were just chubby girls, "looking for love in all the wrong places." Not much of a basis for expertise on POWs and intelligence matters.

George Brooks? He showed what a short step it is from loving father to venal, doddering old man. At least he wasn't fat.

Copyright 1998, by Mark A. Smith, Major, USA, Retired

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