MIAs: The Final Mission

Lauren Trecosta News 10 Comments

National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2020

POW MIA Poster 2020

National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2020 gives us a chance to reflect on our POW/MIAs, the sacrifices they have made for our country, and their final mission home.

This day is especially close to our hearts. We spend every day of the year researching, searching for, and striving to bring our MIAs home.  For us, every day is POW/MIA Recognition Day.

But 2020 is proving to be an extraordinary year. We find ourselves — along with virtually everyone else — facing extraordinary challenges. 

On the one hand, we are eager to get back out in the field, frustrated that circumstances would interfere with our global missions to bring MIAs home. On the other hand, we recognize that our current life challenges represent a fraction of the disruption our POW/MIAs faced. 

We recognize it isn’t how one lives their life when everything goes according to the plan that is defining. Rather, it is how we manage the unexpected challenges that matter most. Again, we turn to our MIAs for their example, and they do not fail us. They teach, speak, and serve even now 75 years after World War II.

Keeping America’s Promise

Our country makes a sacred promise to the people who wear her cloth. If a service member falls in combat, every effort will be made to bring the fallen home. It is a promise that carries weight, especially with those who serve and their families.

In 1993, Pat Scannon realized that almost a hundred MIAs were n Palau and thousands around the world remained unaccounted for decades after the war. He committed to spending his time and resources to bring them home. Then, it was one man’s mission to help keep America’s promise to bring MIAs home. Now, it has taken on a life of its own. 

Bringing our MIAs home is not just a government’s promise. We, the people, are more than an institution. 

We are Americans, standing together, to recognize and honor so many who gave up all of their tomorrows for ours.

Bringing our MIAs home is a mission for every American.

The Final Mission

In the beginning, we thought our mission —  bringing MIAs home for their recognition, their family’s closure, and for a grateful nation — was the final mission.

What we learned over time is that our MIAs, even now, continue to serve us. Coming home is their final mission. 

What we thought was their last act of service, sacrificing their lives in defense of the US in WWII, was the prelude to an even greater mission decades after the war ended. When our  POW/MIA service members return home, they come home to a grateful nation. 

They also return to a nation beset with challenges. The country which our MIAs helped turn into a world leader, is a nation in crisis again. 

Our MIAs return as ethereal reminders of who we are as Americans and what our country stands for. They remind us together we can overcome vast, almost insurmountable challenges.

Americans unite to welcome our MIAs home. We crowd the streets, rain or shine, wave flags, feel lumps in our throats, and try to hold back tears.  We feel hope, unity, gratitude, love. 

They remind us that Americans of every color and creed fought and sacrificed for a better future they would not live to enjoy. Our MIAs remind us that hundreds of thousands of people died for peace, freedom, and justice.

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They silently point to our responsibility to carry that torch forward, learn from the past, and spare our children from making sacrifices that have already been made.

Our returning MIAs are emissaries of peace, kinship, and commitment. Hailing from the past, they intersect the present and change the trajectory of the future.

POW/MIA Recognition Day: Living Legacy

On POW/MIA Recognition Day, we recognize there are 82,000 MIAs. We know it is impossible to recognize each individual service member who gave up their life in service to the country and to us. Rather, we recognize we are their living legacy. Everything we do, we do because others sacrificed so we may do so. 

Our MIAs bring consciousness to our actions, words, and intentions. They are, in many ways, the model for our values-oriented approach. 

As a team, we strive for the highest level of integrity in our personal and professional lives every day. Not just because it is the right thing to do. 

We do it as a salute to all who have come before us and gave us the gift of freedom. We make it a priority to integrate the best of the old with the best of the new. We let our actions speak for themselves and work indirectly and in real-time toward a unified, respectful, and sustainable future. 

Like those who came before us, we use our values as a compass to have a positive influence on as many people as possible. Especially to our POW/MIAs and their families. Especially on POW/MIA Recognition Day 2020.

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Comments 10

  1. I would like to especially remember my uncle, Frank C Burns, USMC MIA 16 May 1945 Philippines. Marine aviator and gunner.

  2. Many thanks to the entire Project Recover team and their great work.

    My buddy US Army Air Corps Stf. Sgt. Clarence “PRESS” Pressgrove – Rt. Gunner B-29
    “The Peacemaker“ was shot down and thrown in a P.O.W camp in Japan for the last 6 months of WWII and like all, suffered greatly.
    See his story http://www.USAWarriorStories.org

    Let’s never forget The Costs Of Our Freedom that the men and women of our military sacrifice and do by putting it on the line for all of us.

    Salute

    RCR

  3. Remembering the OSS Maritime Unit/UDT 10 – Robert Black, John MacMahon, and Howard Roeder who are MIA from USS Burrfish at Yap Island. Also, ARM3c Robert Oliver Rotsel MIA/lost at sea with his pilot Ensign James A Rutledge from USS Saratoga CV-3 near Solomon Islands (Task Force 61 enroute to Battle of Guadalcanal). Thank you for continuing the search.

  4. Remembering today my Uncle – 2LT John E. Meyer, dob March 5, 1919. He was a member of the 18th Fighter Group, 6th Fighter Squadron. The P-70a airplane he was flying went down on February 24, 1943 at 0115, 170 miles SW of Wallis Island, on his way to Fiji. I have not seen any reports about a search for him, or if anyone is searching for him now. I do have some files, but they are rather vague – and very difficult to read (I also have the #MACR and his serial number, as well as various letters, photos, etc.). Unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate the tail number of the aircraft. Thank you for all you do in finding our POW/MIAs, and bringing them home. God bless them all!

    1. Hello Peggy, Our MIA Family Outreach team will contact you via email shortly. On behalf of all Project Recover members, we wish to express our sympathies and gratitude as Americans for the ongoing loss of your Uncle John. We gratefully acknowledge his sacrifice in defense of our country, as well as the consequent sacrifices made by you and your family to this day.

      We also have two articles on our website that include steps you can take to learn what is known about your family’s missing relative as well as provide your own information to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA):

      How To Research Your Family’s MIA includes the first three steps you can take to get started. It includes DPAA resources, family meetings, and casualty office phone numbers.
      Click here: https://www.projectrecover.org/research-your-familys-mia/

      Finding Heaven Can Wait; Kelly Family Shares MIA Research – The Kelly Family Shares Research reveals the steps the Kelly Family Research team took to research the possible location of the downed B-24, Heaven Can Wait. After five years of research, they turned their findings over to Project Recover which located the B-24 in October 2017.
      Click here: https://www.projectrecover.org/family-shares-mia-research/

      Blue Skies,
      dan

    1. Hello Missy, was Cpl Harvey Goff a family member?
      On behalf of all Project Recover members, we wish to express our sympathies and gratitude as Americans for the ongoing loss of Cpl Harvey Goff. We gratefully acknowledge his sacrifice in defense of our country.

      We also have two articles on our website that include steps you can take to learn what is known about a MIA, as well as provide your own information to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA):

      How To Research Your Family’s MIA includes the first three steps you can take to get started. It includes DPAA resources, family meetings, and casualty office phone numbers.
      Click here: https://www.projectrecover.org/research-your-familys-mia/

      Finding Heaven Can Wait; Kelly Family Shares MIA Research – The Kelly Family Shares Research reveals the steps the Kelly Family Research team took to research the possible location of the downed B-24, Heaven Can Wait. After five years of research, they turned their findings over to Project Recover which located the B-24 in October 2017.
      Click here: https://www.projectrecover.org/family-shares-mia-research/

      Blue Skies,
      dan

      1. Hello Dan,

        Thank you for everything you and Project Recover do for the many soldiers and their families, as I am one.
        I Thank You!!

        Yes, Harvey is my great uncle. My Mother and I in 2017 received a request for a DNA sample in the hopes of locating Harvey, and we did so..

        They also sent me his DPF file,

        Harvey, was the son of an Osteopathic Doctor and School Teacher he only had one other sibling, my grandmother.

        I come to a brick wall when trying to find ANY info about him.. and the Internet does not provide hardly anything about his Unit. Other units of WW2 except the 228th seems to have more specific info.

        Due to Covid-19 It has delayed my trip to the Archives in St. Louis.

        I search daily for info.

        Thank you again,

        Missy Watkins

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