POW MIA Update

Posted: August 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
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"Keeping the Promise", "Fulfill their Trust" and "No one left behind" are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation. More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II (73,000+), the Korean War (7,900+), the Cold War (126), the Vietnam War (1,666), 1991 Gulf War (0), and OEF/OIF (6). Hundreds of Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. For a listing of all personnel accounted for since 2007 refer to http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/accounted_for . For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420. The remains of the following MIA/POW’s have been recovered, identified, and scheduled for burial since the publication of the last RAO Bulletin:
Vietnam
 DPMO announced 29 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Air Force 1st Lt. Robert E. Bennett III, 25, of Springfield, N.J., will be buried on July 7, in Montrose, Colo. On Dec. 13, 1967, Bennett and another officer were flying an F-4C Phantom II aircraft that crashed during a close-air support mission in Tra Vinh Binh Province, South Vietnam. Both men ejected and were seen landing in the Co Chien River. The other officer was rescued immediately by a nearby U.S. Navy patrol boat. Before he could be reached, Bennett sank into the water and presumably drowned. In 2010, a Vietnamese citizen reported to authorities that he discovered human remains and military equipment while dredging sand from the Tien River. The remains, found approximately 2,000 meters from Bennett’s last-known location, were turned over to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). Scientists from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA – which matched a hair sample found in Bennett’s military medical record – in the identification of the remains.
 DPMO announced 5 JUL that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano, 43, of Rochester, N.Y.; Col. Derrell B. Jeffords, 40, of Florence, S.C.; Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers, 27, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell, 44, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger, 32, of Lebanon, Ore.; and Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton, 33, Idaho Falls, Idaho, will be buried as a group July 9, in a single casket representing the entire crew, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Dec. 24, 1965, the crew was aboard an AC-47D aircraft nicknamed “Spooky” that failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos. After a “mayday” signal was sent, all contact was lost with the crew. Following the crash, two days of search efforts for the aircraft and crew were unsuccessful. In 1995, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated a crash in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Local villagers recalled seeing a two-propeller aircraft, similar to an AC-47D, crash in December 1965. A local man found aircraft wreckage in a nearby field while farming, and led the team to that location. The team recovered small pieces of aircraft wreckage at that time and recommended further investigative visits. Joint U.S./L.P.D.R. investigation and recovery teams re-visited the site four times from 1999 to 2001. They conducted additional interviews with locals, recovered military equipment, and began an excavation. No human remains were recovered, so the excavation was suspended pending additional investigation. In 2010, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. recovery teams again excavated the crash site. The team recovered human remains, personal items, and military equipment. Three additional excavations in 2011 recovered additional human remains and evidence. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental records and circumstantial evidence in the identification of their remains.
World War II
 DPMO announced 26 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Navy Radioman 1st Class Harry C. Scribner, 20, of Seattle, will be buried June 29, in Minneapolis, Minn. On Aug. 2, 1943, Scribner and two other men were aboard a TBF-1 Avenger aircraft that crashed on the island of Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides—now known as Vanuatu— while on a routine calibration flight. Sixteen days after the crash, one crewman was rescued from the jungle but was unable to assist recovery teams with locating the crash site. Shortly thereafter, personnel from the Army Graves Registration were unsuccessful in locating the site as well, and the two men were deemed unrecoverable. In 1999, a U.S. recovery team investigated several World War II aircraft crash sites on Vanuatu. In addition to human remains, at one location the team located aircraft wreckage which correlated with Scribner’s aircraft. From 2000 to 2011, additional U.S. recovery teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated the crash site three times, recovering additional human remains and military equipment. Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used forensic identification tools and circumstantial
evidence, including dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Scribner’s cousin—in the identification of his remains.
 DPMO announced 29 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Warren G. Moxley, 23, of Charleston, Mo., will be buried on July 3, in his hometown. On March 15, 1945, Moxley was flying an F-6C aircraft when he crashed near Asbach, Germany. Another American pilot flying in the same mission witnessed the crash and did not see a parachute deploy. Following the war, Army Graves Registration Service was not able to locate the crash site. In 1993, a German citizen led U.S. government officials to a crash site near Asbach, and turned over human remains. In 2006, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigation team interviewed the German citizen, gathered additional evidence, and concluded that Moxley’s aircraft was the only U.S. aircraft to crash in the area. Among forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Moxley’s brother—in the identification of his remains.
[Source: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases Jun 2012 +]

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