The Defense Department today revealed the prisoner of war/missing in action commemorative poster which, leading up to POW/MIA Recognition Day in September, will highlight ongoing efforts made by the department to provide the fullest possible accounting of the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen still missing from past conflicts.
Each year, the department creates a poster in advance of POW/MIA Recognition Day, which will be commemorated on Sept. 17.
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks explained that since the Revolutionary War, more than a half-million U.S. service members have, at one point in time, been held as prisoners of war.
Today, nearly 82,000 service members remain unaccounted for, from conflicts dating back to World War II, she said. More than 72,000 of those were lost during World War II, nearly 8,000 from the Korean War, and around 1,600 remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
The department remains committed to bringing all of them home, she said.
"Working closely with partner nations, the Department of Defense is firmly committed to the fullest possible accounting for those U.S. personnel who remain missing. ... We owe nothing less to the families who continue to wait for answers about the losses of their loved ones."
– Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks
During the event, which was held near the POW/MIA exhibit in the Pentagon, Hicks, along with Ann Mills-Griffiths, the chairman of the board of directors of the National League of POW/MIA Families; retired Air Force Col. Michael Brazelton, a pilot and former prisoner of war; and Justin Hart, assistant national service director for Disabled Veterans of America, unveiled the poster.
The poster features multiple images featuring the POW/MIA flag, as well as the words "America's commitment — Globally Fulfilled."
"It is an homage, a reminder of our commitment to the noble mission of full accounting of our missing, and providing answers to their families," Hicks said.
Brazelton, who flew 120 missions in the F-105 aircraft and was held as a prisoner of war for 2,402 days in North Vietnam, said he always thought he'd be released from captivity at the end of the war.
"I always knew I'd get home," he said. "I thought I'd probably be sent home. After the war was over, I was repatriated. Unfortunately it took a really long time."
Today, he said, he's a supporter of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency efforts to bring home those who are currently unaccounted for.
"I'm really happy about that," he said. "I'll do whatever I can to help them."