Veterans

October 25, 2017
 

DPAA Accounts for 183 Missing Service Members in fiscal 2017

Service members with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency honor the fallen during a disinterment ceremony Aug. 28, 2017, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. The remains disinterred will be transferred to the DPAA laboratory for identification.

In fiscal year 2017, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency accounted for 183 formerly missing persons from past conflicts.

Also, the agency individually identified the remains of 18 additional personnel, who were previously accounted for as part of group burials, reaching another milestone of 201 total identifications for the fiscal year.

“These numbers are an unprecedented achievement in the accounting mission’s history,” said Kelly McKeague, DPAA director. “With more than 600 military and civilian personnel stationed and operating around the world, DPAA is staunchly committed to researching, investigating, recovering and identifying U.S. personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. It’s through this staunch commitment that we endeavor to bring solace to those who still wait for the fullest possible accounting of their loved ones.”

A breakdown by conflict of those whose remains were identified shows that 143 were from World War II, 42 from the Korean War, and 16 from the Vietnam War. Geographically, 172 were from the Asia-Pacific region, and 29 were repatriated from the European-Mediterranean region.

Members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participate in the full honors service for Army Air Forces 1st. Lt. Francis Pitonyak at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Sept. 22, 2017. Pitonyak, a member of the 36th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron during WWII, went missing in October 1943 during deteriorating weather conditions and lost visibility near Port Moresby, Territory of Papua. His remains were identified by a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recovery team in July 2016 from dental remains recovered from a crash site in Papua New Guinea.

In fiscal 2016, DPAA made 164 identifications. McKeague attributed the substantial increase in fiscal 2017 to talented and dedicated subject matter experts, advanced scientific methods, and a vigorous operations pace for field activities and disinterments.

“We are also extremely grateful to each of the countries in which we operate, the combatant commands, military Service Casualty Offices, as well as to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory; the teams from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries; and our partnerships with non-governmental organizations. Their collaboration with, and support to, DPAA have been outstanding,” said McKeague.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for U.S. personnel still missing and unaccounted-for while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, or www.facebook.com/dodpaa.




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