POW/MIA Director Visiting Southeast Asia to Reaffirm Importance of Accounting Mission
By LtCol Ken Hoffman
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2018 —
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Director Kelly McKeague has been travelling to Southeast Asia March 9-21, 2018 to acknowledge the longstanding cooperation of the governments and people of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in the search for America’s unaccounted for personnel from the Vietnam War.
“The progress we have made in accounting for our personnel still missing from the Vietnam War would not be possible without the strong support and collaboration of our host nation partners,” said McKeague.
Currently, 1,600 personnel remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. There are 1,253 Americans still unaccounted-for in Vietnam, 292 are in Laos, and 48 Americans remain unaccounted for in Cambodia. Extensive efforts are ongoing to research and develop leads to identify possible locations, and to investigate and recover forensic evidence at those sites.
McKeague stressed that the continued cooperation from the host nations has been essential in providing the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation. He also said the good will generated in pursuit of the Agency’s humanitarian efforts in Southeast Asia has been foundational to the strengthened bilateral relationship in each country.
“The dedication and support from our Vietnamese partners resulted in 720 U.S. personnel identified as of January 2018,” he indicated. “Thanks to Lao cooperation, 281 have been accounted for there, and the Kingdom of Cambodia helped the United States account for 42 Americans.”
He said the Agency’s detachment in Thailand provides command and operational control for missions in Cambodia, as well as Burma and India, and also serves as a regional hub for DPAA logistics throughout the Indo-Pacific Region..
McKeague also discussed the development of joint initiatives to help accelerate the Agency’s overall efforts in Southeast Asia.
“We welcome and appreciate assistance from our host nation partners in developing new methods to increase the pace and scope of efforts to account for our unaccounted for Department of Defense personnel,” he said.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.