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DPAA accounts for 183 missing service members in fiscal year 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducts a ceremony for POW/MIA Recognition Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, Sept. 15, 2017. POW/MIA Recognition Day, first established in 1979 through a proclamation from President Jimmy Carter, is an observance to honor and recognize the sacrifices of those Americans who have been prisoners of war and to remind the Nation of those who are still missing in action. Today, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is conducting worldwide operations to provide the fullest possible accounting for those classified as still missing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Bruch) The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducts a ceremony for POW/MIA Recognition Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, Sept. 15, 2017. POW/MIA Recognition Day, first established in 1979 through a proclamation from President Jimmy Carter, is an observance to honor and recognize the sacrifices of those Americans who have been prisoners of war and to remind the Nation of those who are still missing in action. Today, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is conducting worldwide operations to provide the fullest possible accounting for those classified as still missing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Bruch)

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WASHINGTON — 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.  DPAA works closely with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, part of the Research and Development Directorate of the Military Health System.

“These numbers are an unprecedented achievement in the accounting mission's history.  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,” said DPAA Director Kelly McKeague.

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.

In FY 2016, DPAA made 164 identifications. McKeague attributed the substantial increase in FY 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 find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa.

In Fiscal Year 2017, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of 183 U.S. Americans unaccounted-for from past conflicts and made 18 individual identifications of remains included in previous group interments, for a total of 201 identifications. The agency's efforts spanned the globe in search of U.S. personnel lost in our nation's past conflicts. Department of Defense civilians and our joint military team bring several disciplines together for a common goal. Historians and analysts provide planners and in-country detachment personnel the information they need to manage recovery teams during excavation operations. Recovery teams in-turn bring back found materials to the DPAA laboratory for analysis and identification. DPAA also reaches out to families of the missing through family member updates and annual meetings/briefings to review their losses and collect family reference samples. The agency assists in repatriations, disinterments and burials of those who were once unaccounted-for in the effort to lay our fallen to rest and provide the fullest possible accounting of our missing personnel to their families and the nation. (U.S. Army graphic by Staff Sgt. Roy Woo)

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