July 19, 2017
Jeremy Miller and Ryan Kaiser
Today we were welcomed at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii by community relations director Linda Read. The DPAA’s mission is to locate, recover and identify missing military service members around the world.
Our group got a behind-the-scenes look at the research and science that goes into locating and identifying our missing heroes around the world. Missing service members going back as far as World War II are still being recovered and brought back to the United States to be given proper honors. The DPAA plays a crucial in answering questions that family members of the missing have waited decades for.
The DPAA relies on many different specialists to accomplish their mission. Historians, archeologists, anthropologists, and explosive ordinance disposal technicians are just a few of the professionals that help to bring our missing service members home.
Having people at the top of their fields gives the DPAA a much better chance for success. For example, on one mission, a team member recognized that a local inhabitant’s sandals were made from the rubber of a tire that could have come from an aircraft they were searching for. That important piece of evidence would likely go unnoticed my most people.
Currently, DPAA is working tirelessly to identify the remains of sailors and Marines that were aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
We saw firsthand how dedicated the DPAA is to honoring and respecting the remains of the service members under their care. In the processing lab when they are not being examined, the remains of our heroes are always facing the American flag. Families are also able to spend as much time as they need with the remains of their loved one in a private room.
It is truly amazing the degree to which the United States will go to find and bring home our missing heroes.