Tuesday, April 1, 2014

MIA/POW SecDef Chuck Hagel Wants Them Found Quicker

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to reorganize its efforts to account for
U.S. troops missing in action from wars fought on foreign lands. He has ordered that a single agency
be formed in order to improve the accountability and speed the recovery and identity of remains.

Congress has been pressuring DoD to increase it's efforts to account for the more than 83,000 missing
US service personnel. There are 126 from the Cold War, 73,000 from WWII, more than 7,5000 from Korea, more than 1,600 from Vietnam, and the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Military Personnel
lists 5 from Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

The Pentagon spends about $100 million a year to find and identify the remains of about 70 people
a year, but there is a congressional mandate to increase its capacity to 200 annually by fiscal year
2015 beginning in October.

In a Pentagon news conference Sec. Hagel said, "There's not a more poignant, emotional, important
issue in our society today..than you take care of the people who gave their lives to this country,
and that you take care of their families."

"We will continue to do everything we can to account for and bring as many of our missing
and fallen service personnel as possible home here to the United States," he said.

In a report last year the Government Accounting Office said the effort to recover and identify
missing military personnel was "undermined by longstanding leadership weakness and a
fragmented organizational structure."

Hagel has ordered that the Pentagon is to consolidate two different offices, as well as part of an
Air Force laboratory into a single agency to be headed by a civilian appointee.

The new organization will be responsible for all communications with family members of
troops missing from past conflicts, giving them a single point of contact for information.

The agency will create a centralized database and case management system to track information
about missing troops. There will be a single medical examiner named as the authority responsible
for identification.

The American Cold War Veterans have long fought for, and petitioned congress to mandate
a complete accountability from foreign countries where our missing might be located.

Of the more than 83,000 U.S. military personnel still missing some 43,000 are considered
unrecoverable without additional information or the discovery of new technologies.

The need is there, why cannot a means be found to locate and identify the remains. There
should be a consolidated effort between the Pentagon and other outside groups, universities,
people doing research work on genealogy, or those searching for lost planes.

If you the mother of a missing loved on and you have not yet done so, it is important that you
supply a sample of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to your case worker or contact the
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC)

It is so very important to the families and loved ones of those who are missing that every
available avenue, and every effort made to bring home our missing and bring closure to
those who wait and wonder: Where is my loved one? Is it possible they are still alive?

For those who are still among the missing You Are Not Forgotten, we will always remember.

---- Jerald Terwilliger Chairman American Cold War Veterans "We Remember" ---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996