In a fact sheet, dated January 18, 2013, it was stated that personnel from the U.S. and Philippine governments will conduct investigations into possible location of the remains of American Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Actions (MIAs) in the Philippines.
Based on record, more than 83,000 unaccounted-for Americans from past conflicts are still to be identified. In the Philippines the search team will be searching for evidence of about 80 Americans who remains unaccounted-for until today from the 2nd World War
A 9-member investigation team will work with Philippine partner to authenticate leads from eyewitnesses and conduct field research in different locations in the Philippines to determine whether a return visit for excavation if feasible.
Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Brian L. Goldbeck said the investigations will close cases for the families of American service members who went missing while serving their country in the WWII, and expressed his gratitude to the Philippine counterpart for working closely to facilitate the project.
This laudable undertaking follows the signing of a Statement of Intent on June 3, 2011 between the US and the Philippines to collaborate in researching, investigating, recovering, and conducting forensic reviews of American POW and MIA remains.
This herculean task is led by the US Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) which is based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Its mission is to conduct global research, recovery and laboratory operations to identify these missing Americans.
JPAC American personnel were instructed to respect all Philippine national and local laws and regulations, local customs, traditions and courtesies as part of the agreement.
All activities relating to this thrust are being closely coordinated by the Philippine Departments of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Health, Interior and Local Government, Environment and Natural Resources; the National Museum of the Philippines; the Bureaus of Customs and Immigration; the Commission on the VFA; the NBI; the National Commission on Indigenous People; the AFP; and the PNP.
JPAC’s operations are divided into four areas: Analysis and Investigation, Recovery, Identification, and Closure.
Analysis and Investigation- If enough evidence is found, a site will be recommended for recovery and the search team will return to site for excavation.
Recovery- JPAC has 18 Recovery Teams of 10 to 14 members who travel throughout the world to recover missing American servicemen from past wars. Each team is typically led by a team leader and a forensic anthropologist, a sergeant, linguist, medic, life support technician, forensic photographer, RF systems communications technician/operator and an explosive ordnance disposal technician, mountaineering specialists or divers as needed.
Identification- Upon arrival at the laboratory, all remains and artifacts recovered from a site are signed over to the custody of the CIL and stored in a secure area. Forensic anthropologists carefully analyze all remains and artifacts to determine the sex, race, age at death, and height of the individual, among other duties. Often, recovered military and personal equipment artifacts are forwarded to the USAF Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory (LSEL, located at Brooks City-Base, in San Antonio, TX).
Closure-The recovery and identification process may take years to complete. In addition to the factors previously mentioned, each separate line of evidence must be examined at the CIL (bones, teeth, and material evidence) and correlated with all historical evidence
Completed cases are forwarded to the appropriate service Mortuary Affairs office, whose members personally notify next-of-kin family members.
As of December 4, 2012, still missing American servicemen in:
World War II – – – – 73,677
Korean War – – – – 7,938
Vietnam War- – – – 1,655
Cold War – – – – 126
Iraq and other conflicts: 6
Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghan War): 1- Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl
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U.S. and Philippine Governments Partner to Investigate Remains of American service members …
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
In MIA Facts Site are narration of some American servicemen and possibly soldiers from other nationality who are perhaps listed as POW or MIA but are actually deserters, have gone home or stayed in other places under assumed names and their true identities were finally discovered by authorities. Are there status still POW or MIA?