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Current News – Missing In Action

Video from the U.S. Army, filmed 2 weeks ago.

Right now, there are about 82,000 total people still missing from every major conflict since World War II. Of those, 81 are from Nevada. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is a government agency that is actively searching for all of those people.

The DPAA is working to get DNA swabs of family members related to those missing so that if and when they’re found, they can be identified. They then work to actually locate the remains of the people missing.

Last year, 217 people were found and identified. About 75% of those are former unknown soldiers. The DPAA researches what is known about the unknown soldiers, then if they are confident they can identify them positively, they’re able to do DNA testing on the remains.

The other way MIA are identified is through a search. The DPAA researches anything from where the person was last seen to where planes went down to where major battles were fought. They conduct interviews with any witnesses then determine the best area to search. Then, they bring in teams of dozens of people and dig for about a month, hoping to find any human remains. Even if it’s just a tooth, that’s all it takes to ID a person and solve the mystery of what happened to them.

The DPAA held a meeting in Henderson to update local families on their loved ones’ cases. Attendees heard updates on new technology being used to search and their own personal cases. There were also chances for family members to give DNA swabs.

For the families of the POWs and/or MIAs – CONTACT

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert C. Agard Jr. – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., 2/24/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon, SK

Jacob Cruz – Los Angeles, CA; USMC, WWII, Pvt., Co. D/1/6/2nd Marine

HONOR

Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Elmer E. Drefahl – USA; USMC, WWII, Cpl., USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Henry E. Ellis – USA; USMC, Korea, Pfc., HQ Co./1/1st Marine Division, KIA (Koto-Ri, NK)

Harry Gravelyn (101) – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, WWII, Captain, Co. D/331/83rd Division

Jesse D. Hill – Highland Park, MI; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Co. C/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Marilyn Mackson – Lansing, MI; US Army WAC, WWII, Signal Corps decoder

Aurekui Ortiz – San Diego, CA; US Army, Korea, HQ Co./2/187th RCT

Joseph Pincinotti – Charleroi, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. D/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Jimmy Young – Johnson City, TN; US Army, 89th Artillery, 11th Airborne Division

[The MIA’s recovered from the Korean War, and gradually being identified to come home, have been made possible by the joint talks between President Trump and North Korea]

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COME ON BROTHER, I’M TAKING YOU HOME

Angel Flight

Angel Flights are the U.S. Air Force planes (C-130’s) used to fly home our Fallen Soldiers.  Angel Flight is also their call sign.  Angel Flights have top priority in the U.S. airspace – Towers will be heard to say, “Number One for landing/take off.”

The Air Force Angel Wing flare pattern is amazing to watch as the flares come out in the shape of an angel wing.  A fitting tribute to bring home our fallen with the respect they have earned.

Please watch and listen to Radney Foster sing the powerful message of “Angel Flight”

During January 2018, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), accounted for the following U.S. service members:

WWII

Willard H. Aldridge, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma

Warren H. Crim, Fireman 3rd Class, USS Oklahoma

Eugene P. Ford, 1st Lt., 765th Bombardment Squadron/461st Bombardment Group/15th Air Force

Leonard R. Geller, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma

Donald G. Keller, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma

Jack H. Krieger, Pfc, USS Oklahoma

Chester E. Seaton, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma

Lowell E. Valley, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma

Korean War

William C. McDowell, Cpl., Co. D/1st Battalion/32nd Infantry Regiment/7th Infantry Div.

Lamar E. Newman, Pfc, Co. B/1st Battalion/9th Infantry Regiment/ 2nd Infantry Division

Pete W. Simon, Sgt. 1st Class, Co. G/8th Cavalry Regiment

And the search goes on…

A Navy diver guides a salvage basket during an underwater recovery operation searching for World War II remains off the coast of Koror, Palau, Jan. 30, 2018.
TYLER THOMPSON/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

Divers in Palau recover remains linked to missing WWII air crews!

A joint underwater recovery team of soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians recently completed an intense two-month excavation of sunken World War II airplanes in Palau, retrieving remains that could belong to long-lost American air crews, the Navy said.

Headed by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the team worked from aboard the USNS Salvor near Ngerekebesang Island, completing work on Feb. 25.

Above information from: “Stars and Stripes” magazine.

Angel Flight information from: 11th Airborne Division Assoc. newspaper, “The Voice of the Angels”

Identifying our missing information from: DPAA/ American Battle Monuments Commission; the DPAA identified 183 service members during the fiscal year of 2017.


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National POW/MIA Recognition Day (2)

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FOR ALL THOSE WHO BORE THE TRIALS – PAST AND PRESENT – MAY THEY ALWAYS COME HOME!

To view last years POW/MIA Day post click HERE

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POW/MIA

by: Abe Jones

For as long as we have Wars
And we send our Young to fight
We’ll have Those who are Missing
And the P.O.W.’s plight.
 
All People of this Nation
Have this Duty to fulfill,
We must keep Them in our thoughts
And, We must have the Will
 
To bring every One home
And those POW/MIAs
And leave NO Souls behind.
 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pamela Brement – Tucson, AZ; civilian internee, WWII, Philippinespowmia

John Gulberanson – Roveville, MN; US navy, WWII, POW Santo Tomas, Philippines; Korea

Richard Klema – Wilson, KS & Morro Bay, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Buel Knight – Tuscaloosa, AL; US Army, ETO, POW / USMC, Korea, Vietnam

Bruno Lombardi – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 91st Bomb Group, Purple Heart, POW

Robert Miller – Owosso, Mich; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Danile Segrete – Northport, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Harry Shevchuck – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

John Swett – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

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Orel Pierson and the SS President Harrison

SS

SS “President Harrison”

TWO EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS

The SS President Harrison was a part of the American President Lines which was chartered by the US Navy on a day-to-day basis; when they could serve their country.  In the words that follow of Master Orel A. Pierson, they were under the orders of Admiral Hart and “on the drum” of the Cavite Naval Radio.  This meant, they were in constant contact, on a specified frequency and had a secret call letter.

Master Orel Pierson

Master Orel Pierson

“At the Torres Straits, here we were informed that we would proceed to Hong Kong as a transport and proceed to Shanghai together with the SS President Madison to evacuate the US 4th Marines.  On 3 December, we made a rendezvous off Formosa with 4 US submarines and with their guns mounted ready for instant action.  We proceeded to Olongapoo, Philippines.  At this time, it was apparent to all that war was imminent.  We noted and reported that Japanese Naval units and transports were steaming south in large numbers.

“We left Manila on the morning of 4 December 1941 with a crew of 154… On arrival at Chingwangtao, we were to pick up around 300 Marines of the Peking & Trintsin Legation Guard and some 1400 tons of equipment and return to Manila.

“Tension was mounting… The destination of the Harrison, [supposed to be secret], was the talk of every hotel and bar room in Manila… I was later informed by the captain of a Japanese destroyer that ‘they knew all about our movements.'”

Port of Shanghai bides the 4th Marines a fond farewell.

Port of Shanghai bids the 4th Marines a fond farewell.

The SS President Harrison was ultimately captured along with the largest group of merchant seamen.  The cargo supposedly included the fossils known as “Peking Man” whose whereabouts remains a mystery today is open to various speculations.  The ship was turned into the Kakka Maru and then the name was changed to Kachidoki Maru, which was torpedoed by the submarine, USS Pampanito.  It is now restored and a museum ship in San Francisco, California.

Orel Pierson was taken prisoner and spent most of his three years and 9 month confinement at Zentsuji War Prison Camp on Shikoko Island.  He was transferred 23 June 1945 to Nokoroshu Camp in western Honshu, Japan until liberated 2 September.

China coast

China coast

“The story of my years in prison camps closely parallels that of any American held by the Japanese, with all the heartaches, abuses, uncertainties and slow starvation accorded to them in the military prisons.  I lost 85 pounds, need I say more.”

This story was taken and condensed from the SS President Harrison Master’s Report, US Naval History.

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The

The “Harrison” as the “Kachidoki Maru.”

Also aboard the SS President Harrison was Hank Behren, a college student who took a year off school for a little adventure and to earn money for his next term – he became a Merchant seaman.  Once back home, he finished school, bought a home and married. (Once freed, merchant seamen were not entitled to G.I. benefits).  In 1981, Hank returned to China and found the old prison camp.  His guide was an elderly Japanese man and Behren asked the man where he was during WWII.  It turned out, he was the captain of a gunboat that patrolled the Whanpoo River.  Hank couldn’t believe it!  From his POW camp  he had watched the boat patrol up and down the river while he enjoyed the old Japanese folk songs the guards played on their gramophone.

When Hank returned home, the old captain sent a cassette of the folk songs to him and the two men corresponded until Hank passed away.  Two years before he died, the U.S. presented Hank with a military discharge and a POW medal.

Hank Behren’s story was found in “The Greatest Generation Speaks” by Tom Brokaw and condensed.

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Dr. Seuss continued to dig with his political cartoons______

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Click images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Peter Bennish – Norvet, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, HQ Co/187th Regiment

Robert Carlson – Elgin, IL; US Navy, Korea

courtesy: Cora from 'A Fresh Start'

courtesy: Cora from ‘A Fresh Start’

Ralph Federson – Mesa, AZ; US Navy, WWII

Hector Hotte – Ottawa, Can; RC Army, WWII

Richard Lowe – Des Moines, IA; US Navy, WWII, gunner’s mate

Mary McGovern – Portland, ME; WWII, civilian employee , stenographer/Military Intelligence Service

Richard Siedel – Alamogordo, NM; USMC, WWII, 91st Chemical Mortar Co/6th Marine Division

Vernon Staum – Winder, GA; US Army, Lt. to Lt.Col., Korea and Vietnam

William Throp – Napier, NZ; Service # 288446, WWII

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Loss of a fellow blogger – I discovered yesterday from Tina Blackledge, that Ajay Mody, better know to us as, Ajaytoa, passed away 10 August.  May he rest in peace.

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Operation Big Switch

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Article 111 of the Korean Armistice Agreement laid the ground work for the exchange of prisoners that started 5 August 1953.  Phase One would transfer  the prisoners who chose repatriation to the neutral area around Panmunjom and be supervised by three representatives from both sides.

Phase Two was for those that refused repatriation.  Red Cross teams went to the camps to be certain the POW’s choices were voluntary.  Officer teams from Sweden, Switzerland, Poland and Czechoslovakia directed the activities; 3,000 Indians troops were sent to arrange the required interviews.

Arriving at the Gate of Freedom

Arriving at the Gate to Freedom

All during this difficult process, continuous little battles were being fought behind the wire and there were constant threats to the interrogators and their families.  By 31 December 1953, only 5,000 prisoners had been screened out of 22,604.

The United Nations returned 75,823 to North Korea and 22,604 were turned over to the NNRC (Neutral Natural Reparations Commission, overseen by India.)

The Communists returned 12,773 to the United Nations and 359 to the NNRC.

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The UN General Assembly expressed , by Resolution 712, it’s “profound satisfaction that fighting has now ceased in Korea on the basis of an honorable armistice.”  The UNCURK (The United Nations Commission for the Unification of Korea) was disbanded in 1977.

The Signing

The Signing

Syngman Rhee was more and likely retained as president of South Korea due to the war’s onset.  The invasion of North Korea had failed the plans of an internal revolt to dispose of the leader.  A similar uprising in 1960 did however succeed in overthrowing Rhee.

To quote “America At War: The Korean War” by Maurice Isserman; published by Facts On File, Inc.:   ….and it was Ridgeway, who would warn prophetically in the spring of 1954,  against American military involvement in Vietnam.

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Adair, Jr. – Chandler, AZ; US Army 161st Infantry, SSgt., WWII PTO, 2 Bronze Stars

Cameron S. Baird – Burnei, Tasmania; Cpl./4th Battalion/2nd Commando Unit/RAR, Afghanistan, Victoria Cross

John M. Copoulos – Westminster, AR; US Army, WWII

Victoria Cross for Valor

Victoria Cross for Valor

James Daniel, Jr. – Coral Hills, MD; US Army, Korea

Alexander (Ted) Edward – Christchurch, NZ; EX2nd Division, RNZEF # 111589

Francis Gerow – Springfield, VA; US Navy, Captain (Ret.)

Herbert Swing – Highland Creek, Canada; RC Engineers, WWII

William Was – Santa Ana, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Henry Wronka – Sun City, AZ; US Air Force, Korea

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National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The Missing Man formation

The Missing Man formation

Today observances will be held on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veteran’s facilities.  This is one of six days throughout the year that Congress mandates the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag.  The flag will be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, and the WWII, Korean and Vietnam War Veterans memorials.

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“My Friend”

by Shorty Estabrook

B/19/24

I lost my friend along the way
To this place that I call now.
I didn’t want to lose my friend,
But I did and don’t know how.
 
I remember how he looked at me
As I laid him down to rest,
When he said, “I can’t go on, old pal;
You’ve seen me at my very best.”
 
“So, leave me now and go your way
And when your journey ends,
Remember me beside the road,
Your buddy and your friend.”
 

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Some of our fellow bloggers who have a similar theme:

Diedra at;
http://powdiaries.wordpress.com/about/

Hillary at:
http://greenwritingroom.com/2013/09/18/beyond-the-call-of-duty-pows-15/

Pierre – who has multiple blogs:
http://athabaskang07.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/rcaf-415-squadron-swordfish/

and Don at:
http://donmooreswartales.com/2013/09/16/paul-cearlock/

Tell me about those servicemen you think of – they all need to be remembered!

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