Page 34 - Scene Magazine 45-09 September 2020
P. 34

  Local Interest
BY AARON D. EDLEFSON, MPA
Director, Calhoun County Veterans Affairs
   National POW/MIA Recognition Day
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation establishing a National POW/MIA (Prisoner of War/ Missing In Action) Recognition Day. Now observed on the third Friday of each September, it is marked by a Presidential proclamation and ceremonies to honor those who have been held captive by ene- my forces and those who remain missing, both military personnel and civilians. The number of missing is staggering. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), whose mission it is to locate and return missing service members, reports that there are currently 81,879 Americans missing dating back to World War II. That number includes:
• 72,583 missing from World War II
• 7,578 missing from the Korean War
• 1,586 missing from the Vietnam War
• 126 missing from the Cold War
• 5 missing from the Gulf Wars
• 1 missing from Operation El Dorado
Canyon (Libya)
Of the missing, over 41,000 are pre- sumed to be lost at sea and 75% of those unaccounted for are in the Indo-Pacific. There are currently 2,866 individuals listed as unaccounted for from Michigan (2,473 from World War II, 340 from the Korean War, 48 from the Vietnam War, and 5 from the Cold War).
Custer National Cemetery), or in Arling- ton National Cemetery. Most recently the DPAA accounted for Army Sergeant John E. Hurlburt from Connecticut on August 19, 2020. On July 7, 1944, he was killed during a Japanese attack on Saipan at the age of 26 while serving with the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. In 2020 alone, the DPAA has announced the accounting
The DPAA is comprised of both civil- ian employees and military liaisons who deploy throughout the world to account for all our missing. Unfortunately, the DPAA is unable to conduct operations in North Korea where approximately 5,300 U.S. personnel are still unaccounted
for. Once an individual is identified, the casualty office of their service branch is contacted. The service branch will then contact the next-of-kin to inform them of the identification. If there is no known next-of-kin, the service branch will attempt to locate them. Those identified can be laid to rest in a hometown cem- etery, a national cemetery (such as Fort
for of 95 U.S. servicemen including Ser- geant Hurlburt. While the DPAA remains steadfast and dedicated to their search for the missing, it is unlikely that their mission will ever be completed.
On September 18, please take a moment to consider the fates of those nearly 82,000 who are still unaccounted for and the hardships and dangers that our former Prisoners of War endured. Those who have been Prisoners of War forever carry with them a burden that is impossible to fathom for those who have not shared their experience.
 Providing services for veterans and their families.
Federal Benefits Emergency County Burial and Programs Assistance Benefits Benefits
                                                                                                          (269) 969-6735 • 190 East Michigan Avenue, Third Floor, Battle Creek, Michigan calhouncountymi.gov/departments/veterans_affairs/index.php
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