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 1, 2015

News: Iranian aircraft buzzed U.S. Navy helo in Persian Gulf - An Iranian aircraft buzzed a Navy helicopter operating in the Persian Gulf earlier this month, a U.S. military official said March 31. Active duty suicides up in 2014 - Suicides among active duty members of the military increased in 2014, though reservists and members of the...
 
 

News Briefs April 1, 2015

Germany, France, Italy plan to develop military drones Germany and France plan to work together with Italy to develop military surveillance drones that could also carry weapons. French President Francois Hollande said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel March 31 that it is important for Europe to be independent in both manufacturing drones and in...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

AirRobot, Northrop Grumman Remotec sign distribution agreement for unmanned aerial systems

Northrop Grumman photograph An AirRobot unmanned aerial system flies at Fort Benning, Ga.. Northrop Grumman Remotec is the sole reseller of the systems to law enforcement and first responders under a distribution agreement sign...
 

 

Raytheon awarded $528 million AMRAAM contract

Raytheon has been awarded a $528,797,459 fixed-price incentive, firm target contract modification for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles. Raytheon will provide AMRAAM Lot 29 missiles and other AMRAAM system items. This contract involves foreign military sales. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by January 2018. This award was booked...
 
 

Raytheon, DRS team for Army’s third Generation IFLIR B-Kit

Building on their combined platform integration experience, Raytheon and DRS Technologies have entered into a teaming agreement for the U.S. Army’s 3rd Generation Improved Forward Looking Infrared program B-Kit “Raytheon and DRS have teamed to provide an IFLIR solution that provides our military supremacy in reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition,” said Dr. Taylor...
 
 

U.S. Air Force awards Raytheon $91.5 million for MALD-J

Raytheon Company received a $91.5 million U.S. Air Force contract modification award for the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer missile. The contract modification is for Lot 8. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by June 2017. This award was booked in the first quarter 2015. MALDÆ is a state-of-the-art,...
 




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>