With the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act, Congress designated the third Friday of each September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Coupled with this celebration, Congress ordered the prominent display of the POW/MIA flag on this day the president of the U.S. typically releases an annual proclamation honoring National POW/MIA Recognition Day. This year, President Obama said, “To further uphold our eternal promise, we established the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).”
This new agency, which was formed earlier this year, combines Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office and parts of the Air Force’s Life Sciences Lab. Although not stated, this very could include the Air Force Missing Persons Branch which is active in located the location of Air Force MIA/POW personnel. DPAA was formed to provide more efficient means of finding MIA remains as well as reporting and keeping current records of the results of these recoveries.
The mission of DPAA is to “provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation.”
Many people may not know that the remains of MIA are continually being found, returned to the U.S., and have received a proper burial. For example, the September 4 edition of the Veterans of Foreign War’s email Action Corps Weekly newsletter reported that the remains of Medal of Honor recipient, Marine Corps 1st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman, were recovered by History Flight. This organization is a “non-governmental organization dedicated to finding, recovering and repatriating America’s war dead to American soil. “
Bonnyman had been posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions “in the battle for Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, on 22 November 1943”
There are two ways to obtain information on recent discoveries America’s MIA: the POW/MIA Facebook website; and DPAA where they list 83,108 as the current number of “Unaccounted for From Past Conflicts”: WW II: 73,515; Korean War: 7,835; Vietnam War: 1,626; Cold War: 126; and Iraq & Other Conflicts: 6.
We Vietnam Veterans hold the POW/MIA flag near and dear to our hearts. You will find many of us flying the flag in our front yards or wearing their patches on our vests or jackets.
And we would like to thank all y’all for telling us, “Thanks for your service”. We really appreciate it.
-By Chuck Yarling Military & Veterans Affairs For Freedom Daily-