Teams to Search Cambodia for Vietnam War MIAs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2011 — Two arche­o­log­i­cal teams from the U.S. Joint Pris­on­ers of War/Missing in Action Account­ing Com­mand are sched­uled to arrive in Cam­bo­dia soon to search for Amer­i­cans unac­count­ed-for from the Viet­nam War, and physi­cians and nurs­es from mil­i­tary com­mands in Hawaii will accom­pa­ny them to par­tic­i­pate in a health engage­ment mis­sion.

As part of the recov­ery por­tion of this dual-pur­pose deploy­ment, more than 40 recov­ery team mem­bers will exca­vate a bur­ial site and an under­wa­ter air­craft crash site in search of four miss­ing Amer­i­cans in Cambodia’s Kam­pong Cham and Kracheh provinces.

The deploy­ment, expect­ed to last about 40 days, marks the command’s 44th joint field activ­i­ty in Cam­bo­dia, offi­cials said.

Recov­ery teams search for human remains, life-sup­port items and oth­er mate­r­i­al evi­dence that may fur­ther the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Amer­i­cans miss­ing from past con­flicts.

In addi­tion to recov­ery efforts, U.S. and Cam­bo­di­an per­son­nel will par­tic­i­pate in a med­ical engage­ment out­reach event, treat­ing 4,000 to 8,000 peo­ple in rur­al and high­ly under­served com­mu­ni­ties, offi­cials said. The spe­cial­ized 12-mem­ber team of experts in var­i­ous med­ical spe­cial­ties will pro­vide basic health assis­tance, lab­o­ra­to­ry ser­vices and optom­e­try exam­i­na­tions.

The U.S. med­ical team mem­bers are from Tripler Army Med­ical Cen­ter, the 18th Med­ical Com­mand and the Joint POW/MIA Account­ing Com­mand. U.S. and Cam­bo­di­an physi­cians will rein­force med­ical capa­bil­i­ties by par­tic­i­pat­ing in an infor­ma­tion exchange, ben­e­fit­ting both coun­tries edu­ca­tion­al­ly and socio-cul­tur­al­ly, offi­cials added.

“[Tripler] is send­ing physi­cian res­i­dents from OB/GYN and fam­i­ly med­i­cine to con­duct expert exchanges with local physi­cians, and will be invit­ed to work along­side the Khmer physi­cians and treat their patients,” said Army Capt. Drew Webb, a Joint POW/MIA Account­ing Com­mand physi­cian assis­tant.

This will be the first time a Tripler res­i­dent pro­gram has deployed to a for­eign coun­try on a human­i­tar­i­an out­reach mis­sion, Webb added.

“The big take­away for all of this is that the [Tripler] res­i­dents will get train­ing and expe­ri­ence in such a unique envi­ron­ment,” he said.

Joint POW/MIA Account­ing Com­mand is a joint­ly manned U.S. Pacif­ic Com­mand orga­ni­za­tion of more than 400 mil­i­tary and civil­ian spe­cial­ists that has inves­ti­gat­ed and recov­ered miss­ing Amer­i­cans since the 1970s, offi­cials said, not­ing that 1,702 Amer­i­cans still are list­ed as miss­ing in action from the Viet­nam War.

From a Joint POW/MIA Account­ing Com­mand News Release

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