Interagency Personnel Recovery Working Group
DPMO hosted the Interagency Personnel Recovery Working Group on April 30th, 2012. This working group, comprised of 19 Executive Branch agencies, is a sub-working group of the National Security Staff's Hostage and Personnel Recovery Working Group. The major efforts center around implementing national personnel recovery via the Presidential Directive. The group focused on implementation updates, how to recover isolated personnel in a host nation-led environment, developing table top personnel recovery exercises, and discussed future participation in the Department's Angel Thunder personnel recovery exercise in 2013.
Remains Recovery in Burma
On April 26, the Commander of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command led technical meetings with the Burmese Ministry of Defense and Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs to discuss resuming investigations and remains recovery activities for WWII missing. Echoing what was previously expressed to the DASD for POW/MIA Affairs, both ministries were supportive of the proposal to resume operations in Burma, and they agreed to continue discussions to refine the details in the near future.
U.S. - Russia Joint Commission Meeting
DPMO's Moscow office forwarded a letter from Mr. Verga, Chief of Staff for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, to Ms. Priyezzheva, the Russian Co-chair for the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW-MIAs, in which he proposes a meeting in St. Petersburg or Moscow in June, 2012.
Korean and Cold War Annual Government Briefings
The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) hosted the annual briefings for the families of servicemen missing from the Korean War and Cold War on April 19-20, 2012, in Vienna, Virginia. During the two-day event, 322 family members received briefings from analysts and senior officials from DPMO, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), the Department of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, and the Military Departments. This year's event included a separate breakout meeting for 26 family members of Cold War losses. Families also had the opportunity to sit down with their respective casualty officer and analysts from DPMO and JPAC to discuss their loved ones' cases. To view the slides that were presented at the briefing, click here.
Remains Recovery Operations in India
In April, the State Department led a U.S delegation to India. One of the topics of discussion was our desire to recover the remains of U.S. servicemen still missing from World War II in India. Indian officials expressed sympathy for the humanitarian nature of the mission and proposed further discussions this summer regarding the details, locations, and support requirements for proposed remains recovery operations. The Indian officials advised that if the government of India and the U.S. come to an agreement on future operations, they should not take place until after the end of the monsoon season in September.
Chuck Henley Recognized for Service
On April 20, during an annual dinner hosted by Korea and Cold War Families of the Missing, Mr. Chuck Henley, Director of External Affairs at DPMO, was recognized for his outstanding 20-year commitment to the POW/MIA issue and for his sincere service to the families of missing personnel. In his current position, Mr. Henley oversees DPMO's Family Update programs and interactions between DPMO and Veteran's Service Organizations.
Accounting Community Meeting
On April 18, DPMO hosted a meeting for leadership of the Accounting Community to address issues and topics of concern for all agencies involved in the personnel accounting mission. Topics of discussion included the strategic approach for the collection of family reference samples from World War II families; the use of other Defense resources to increase the capacity for locating and identifying remains; disinterment policies for Korean War and World War II remains; and funding requirements for specific organizations.
DPMO Hosts Japanese Delegation
On April 13, DPMO hosted a seven-member Japanese delegation led by a Special Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister and member of the Japanese Diet, HONDA Hiranao and Deputy Director Yamaguchi Masami from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The group discussed cooperation on WWII remains recovery missions in the Pacific; to include organizational structure, information and technology exchanges, forensic and DNA techniques, sharing of annual plans for investigations and excavations, and the benefits of joint U.S.-Japan forensic reviews of discovered remains. The delegation was particularly interested in remains recovery operations on Iwo Jima, where Japan is attempting to recover remains of its military personnel and the U.S. also has missing personnel. The two sides discussed the benefits of jointly reviewing remains recovered to ensure they are returned to the correct nation. The delegation also thanked the U.S. for past assistance in locating information in U.S. archives that has been helpful to their work.
New Date for Providence FMU
The Family Member Update scheduled in Providence, R.I., will now be held on August 11th. Please make a note of this change if you are planning to attend.