"Keeping the Promise", "Fulfill their Trust" and "No one left behind" are some of the many mottoes that refer to efforts to recover those who became missing while serving our nation.
Although the POW-MIA flag (and subsequent emblem), seen at the top of this page, was born from the Vietnam Missing In Action, it has come to represent POW's and MIA's from all wars and military actions involving USA military forces. More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. Defense Department staff -- both military and civilian -- work as part of personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. Their single mission and focus are designed with the goal of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. The mission requires expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries, and scientific analysis.
The goal of USA POW-MIA, in conjunction with and in support of other POW-MIA organizations throughout the United States, is to ensure that our government agencies maintain a dedicated effort in returning all United States POW's and MIA's.
In 1971, Mrs. Michael Hoff, the wife of a U.S. military officer listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War, developed the idea for a national flag to remind every American of the U.S. service members whose fates were never accounted for during the war. The black and white image of a gaunt silhouette, a strand of barbed wire and an ominous watchtower was designed by Newt Heisley, a former World War II pilot.
By the end of the Vietnam War, more than 2,500 service members were listed by the Department of Defense as Prisoner of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA). In 1979, as families of the missing pressed for full accountability, Congress and the president proclaimed the first National POW/MIA Recognition Day to acknowledge the families’ concerns and symbolize the steadfast resolve of the American people to never forget the men and women who gave up their freedom protecting ours.
Three years later, in 1982, the POW/MIA flag became the only flag other than the Stars and Stripes to fly over the White House in Washington, D.C.
On August 10, 1990, Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, designating the POW/MIA flag:
“The symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.”
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2014 and Beyond
What-if, DPMO & JPAC Roles
Some USA POW-MIA.net visitors have asked the question, "What would happen to USA POW-MIA.net should all MIAs (includes POWs) be located and all return home?"
The short version of the answer to that question is that, in the unlikeliness that all should be returned to their "homes," USA POW-MIA and other MIA services must extend an indefinite vigil by maintaining a world-wide presence. Again, not only in the unlikelihood that all MIAs will return home in the foreseeable future, but so that this unfortunate dilemma, an unavoidable "reality" of wars and conflicts, will never be relegated to a low-profile, insignificant or even forgotten status again.
It is important not only to the families. loved ones and close acquaintances of our MIAs, but also to the ethics and morals for which our Nation was founded on.
Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
On USA POW-MIA, and possibly other sites, you will see DPMO mentioned or statistics, updates, news, etc from the DPMO cited.
Although the DPMO is a division of the Department of Defense (DoD), they nonetheless have become an invaluable, effective resource for researching and, more importantantly, locating our MIAs (again, included POWs).
The DPMO is located in Washington, D.C. and was established in 1993 ... (read more)