Calls attention to National POW/MIA Recognition Day
To the Editor:
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Sept. 20.
A review of the “Recently Accounted For” listings on the DPAA website since the return of 55 boxes of POW/MIAs to the U.S. July 2018 has shown that 263 remains have been identified: Southeast Asia, 10; Korean War, July 2018, 8, Punchbowl exhumations, 24, and previous recovery operations from 1990 to 2017, 42; and World War II, Pearl Harbor (Punchbowl) exhumations, 87, Tarawa, 25, Pacific Theater, 22, and European Theater, 45.
Most of the identifications were from cemeteries where the American unknowns had been buried.
This would not have been possible without the advances in forensic science.
Researchers, investigators, and non-profits have contributed immensely by providing historical information to DPAA so exhumations could take place.
Access is still needed to battlefields, crash sites, and former POW camps such as Sunchon.
This recent progress has been long overdue, but we must not be complacent.
We must challenge our top government officials to be creative and dedicated to find a means to improve the lack of progress in resolving the cases of our unrecovered POWs and missing Americans from Southeast Asia.
Most importantly, what discussions are taking place at the top levels of all governments involved in Southeast Asia, including Russia and China, about our Last Known Alive cases?
We must look beyond the current level of identifications to the immediate need for high level discussions concerning LKAs, more recovery missions, and the declassification of all wartime information to aid in the research process.