DOD Reaffirms Commitment to POWs, MIAs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2011 — No one has matched the Unit­ed States’ time, resources and com­mit­ment to account­ing for its miss­ing mil­i­tary mem­bers and hon­or­ing its pris­on­ers of war, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta said today.

Dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon cer­e­mo­ny to hon­or Nation­al Pris­on­ers of War and Miss­ing in Action Recog­ni­tion Day, the defense sec­re­tary talked about the nation’s com­mit­ment to account­ing for its miss­ing patri­ots and hon­or­ing pris­on­ers of war.

“Today, as we hon­or those who have been in prison and those miss­ing while defend­ing our nation, we also hon­or their fam­i­ly mem­bers, the brave men and women who have kept those mem­o­ries of their loved ones burn­ing bright and who have nev­er stopped push­ing this nation, and its lead­ers, for the clo­sure that they deserve,” Panet­ta said.

“We do this because we believe that every life is pre­cious,” he con­tin­ued, “and because those who put their lives on the line for their coun­try need to know that we will spare no effort to bring them home.”

The defense sec­re­tary talked about the Defense Department’s resolve to find miss­ing ser­vice mem­bers.

“Over the years, slow­ly, method­i­cal­ly, we have been mak­ing progress in this effort,” Panet­ta said. “Six hun­dred men and women of this depart­ment, mil­i­tary and civil­ian, inves­ti­ga­tors and sci­en­tists, work tire­less­ly around the world to ful­ly account for the more than 80,000 Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers who remain unac­count­ed for … from last century’s con­flicts.”

Panet­ta said this “painstak­ing” work is being car­ried out in the field and in lab­o­ra­to­ries in the Unit­ed States.

“Because of these efforts, the remains of 98 miss­ing Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers have been iden­ti­fied in the past year — 25 from the Viet­nam War, 36 from the Kore­an War, 36 from World War II and one from World War I,” he said.

“That’s 98 more fam­i­lies who now have clo­sure and the knowl­edge that their nation did not for­get them,” Panet­ta added, not­ing the pas­sage of time did­n’t “damp­en our resolve to locate and iden­ti­fy their loved ones.”

Navy Adm. James A. Win­nefeld Jr., vice chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke in hon­or of “142,000 Amer­i­cans who have served our coun­try as pris­on­ers of war and the many thou­sands who are still miss­ing.”

“You have giv­en so much in wear­ing the cloth of our nation,” he said. “You who have shown what it means to be an Amer­i­can when the chips are down and one must per­son­al­ly pay for that priv­i­lege. You should know that this nation is keen­ly aware of, and ever thank­ful, for your sac­ri­fice.”

Win­nefeld addressed fam­i­lies of for­mer POWs and those miss­ing in action.

“I know I speak for every­one here when I tell you how tru­ly grate­ful we are for your sac­ri­fices,” he said. “The uncer­tain­ty, con­cern and fear you have felt — and many still feel for the fate of your loved ones.”

“As for­mer [Defense] Sec­re­tary [Robert M.] Gates said, ‘Your pres­ence today proves, once again, that the bonds of love tran­scend the pas­sage of time,’ ” Win­nefeld said.

Panet­ta reaf­firmed the DOD’s com­mit­ment to the fam­i­lies of those miss­ing and encour­aged every­one to sup­port them.

“It should be all of us, as one fam­i­ly and one nation,” he said. “Pledge on this day, and every day, that as long as it takes to bring every Amer­i­can home, we will nev­er stop work­ing, we will nev­er stop search­ing, and we will nev­er stop think­ing of those lost war­riors.

“We will nev­er for­get those who have sac­ri­ficed for our free­doms and our val­ues,” Panet­ta added. “That is why this coun­try is the great­est coun­try on Earth.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →