Thursday, April 9, 2009

JPAC Officials Reach Out to Families of MIAs

Senior leaders from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted a briefing recently in Bethesda, Md., as part of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) family update, which is held eight times per year in various metropolitan locations.

These briefings provide an opportunity for all the families of missing service members to gain a better understanding of how the involved agencies work together to search for and repatriate the remains of their loved ones. See the story.

There were 71 open cases represented at this particular brief, including 31 cases from the Korean War, 19 cases from the Vietnam War, 17 cases from World War II and three cases from the Cold War. JPAC teams are actively working throughout the Asia-Pacific region to bring closure to the families who have been waiting decades to find out the fate of their service members.

JPAC teams visit multiple countries each year, both gathering information and searching for remains. The majority of the teams’ positive leads come from interviews with witnesses.

In 2008, JPAC knocked on the doors of more than 400 possible witnesses in South Korea who could provide information as to the whereabouts or fate of U.S. service members missing from the Korean War. Of these possible witnesses, 11 provided information that might be related to American losses. The visits and information resulted in three new excavation sites.

Since October 2008, JPAC has conducted or planned for 39 recovery missions, 13 investigation missions, and three underwater investigation missions. These missions cover World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Continually engaged throughout the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility and fostering relationships that allow for completion of its mission, JPAC stands as a reminder to the families of lost service members that they are not forgotten. It also stands as a reminder to today’s service members who defend or stand ready to defend the United States that if something were to happen to them, they will not be forgotten, nor left behind.

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