Veterans

September 23, 2013

Leaders honor missing, captured service members, families

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel greets former prisoners of war following a ceremony to remember POWs and service members missing in action at the Pentagon, Sept. 20, 2013.

The Defense Department will never stop working to bring captured and missing service members home, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pledged at a Pentagon ceremony Sept. 20.

That commitment extends to Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan more than four years ago, Hagel said.

“Our hearts today are with the Bergdahl family. Using our military, intelligence, and diplomatic tools, the United States is continuing its strong efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl’s safe release,” he said.

DOD’s commitment to leave no service member behind also extends to the more than 80,000 Americans who remain missing in action, the secretary said.

Hagel noted this year marked the 40th anniversary of Operation Homecoming, when hundreds of American prisoners of war returned to freedom from captivity in Vietnam. Retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert H. Shumaker, in the audience for today’s ceremony, was one of those prisoners, the secretary said.

“He, along with hundreds of other service members and civilians, endured unspeakable cruelty, attempts at political exploitation, and years of confinement,” Hagel said. “But through courage, resilience, and determination, they survived to return home to a grateful nation.”

The secretary said he admires the inner strength that enabled prisoners of war to survive harsh physical and mental abuse at the hands of their captors.

“Americans in uniform today are inspired by the fierce resolve of generations of American POWs,” Hagel said. “We also draw inspiration from the bonds of camaraderie, compassion, and love that prompted our POWs to care for each other, and sustain each other, through terrible, terrible months and years of hardship.”

Such bonds are fundamental to the American military and underpin “who we are and everything we do,” he said. “We protect each other. And we vow to never leave a fellow service member behind.”

Every day, Hagel said, hundreds of DOD staffers, including forensic anthropologists, underwater archeologists and other experts, scour the globe and work in laboratories to identify the missing.

“Since this time last year we have been able to account for 61 service members from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam,” the secretary noted. “Each case represents years of effort – meticulous work piecing together evidence and clues from across many continents.”

Hagel said he’s deeply aware that many thousands of families are still waiting for a breakthrough.

“Words and promises cannot make the lingering uncertainty and heartache go away,” he said. “But I hope it provides comfort to know that as long as members of our armed forces remain unaccounted for, the Department of Defense will do whatever we can to find them and bring them home.”

Hagel said that as the black-and-white flag honoring America’s prisoners of war and missing in action is raised in communities across America today, “We pledge to live by its creed, ‘You are Not Forgotten.’ We as a country are committed to our former POWs, our missing, and their families, … just as we are committed to those who wear the uniform today.”

The POW/MIA flag is a symbol and a call to action, Dempsey said.

“For wherever our missing lie, wherever a prisoner waits, we will remain committed to freeing them,” he said.

More families deserve closure, the chairman said. “More of those who’ve worn our nation’s cloth deserve to come home,” he added.

Dempsey said the department will not rest or “call our mission complete, until our family is whole again.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 14, 2014

Business: U.S. Navy looks to leverage submarine work to keep costs down - The U.S. Navy hopes to save money and time by leveraging industry investments as it replaces its Ohio-class nuclear-armed submarines with the Virginia-class attack submarines now built by General Dynamics Corp and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.  Study raises red flags on California aerospace...
 
 

News Briefs April 14, 2014

U.S. Navy destroyer Zumwalt christened in Maine The U.S. Navy has christened the first ship of its newest class of destroyers, a 610-foot (186-meter)-long warship with advanced technologies and a stealthy design that will reduce its visibility on enemy radars. The warship bears the name of the late Adm. Elmo ìBudî Zumwalt, who became the...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seamn Edward Guttierrez III

Russian aircraft flies near U.S. Navy ship in Black Sea

Navy photograph by Seamn Edward Guttierrez III Sailors man the rails as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook arrives at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Feb. 11, 2014. Donald Cook is the first of four Arle...
 

 

45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload. The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office. “I am proud of the persistence and focus of the...
 
 

U.S. Air Force selects Cubic for Moroccan P5 air combat training system

Cubic Defense Systems, a subsidiary of Cubic Corporation announced April 11 it has been awarded a contract valued at more than $5 million from the U.S. Air Force to supply its P5 Combat Training System to the Moroccan Air Force. Morocco will join the United States Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, along with a...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft powers through first integrated system testing

Lockheed Martin photograph Engineers in the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, perform avionics testing on the Orion spacecraft being prepared for its first trip to space later this ye...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>