By Eric Dehm
New data for FY 2017 from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) reports that for the fiscal year they accounted for 183 service members formerly listed as missing in action from past conflicts. While this is an improvement over the 160 accounted for in 2016, there are over 80,000 of our brothers and sisters in arms still missing dating back to World War 2.
Yes, you read that right. Eighty thousand.
While some of them will likely never be recovered, specifically those lost at sea, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will not stop looking for those who might be found. Whether they are among the 70,000-plus missing from WW2, or the 5 listed as missing from the Gulf Wars, the DPAA will continue the search wherever it takes them.
Why is it important to account for the missing soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines? The Director of DPAA, Kelly McKeague, served for 34 years in the Air Force, retiring as a Major General, and said during a visit to Connecting Vets’ Morning Briefing broadcast that they, and their loved ones deserve closure no matter how long it’s been.
“Our mission is intended to provide the fullest possible accounting of the missing to their families and to the nation,” McKeague said. “Those family members, although they may have passed on… generationally it’s as important to their grandchildren that we find, that the United States find, and repatriate their loved one who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war.”
The full interview with McKeague is available below for streaming or download. To download and listen anytime, click the share button and select “download” from the options.