OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. –
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency held its first honorable carry ceremony since the runway reopened April 4, 2023, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
An Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster delivered nine transfer cases containing the remains of World War II service members disinterred from an American cemetery in France and from excavation sites across Europe to the lab during the ceremony.
“It is humbling to think about the sacrifices these soldiers made, and I am proud to see the effort being made to reunite them with their families” said Rep. Mike Flood, who attended the event along with Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen and other local elected officials and base leadership.
An honorable carry is a ceremony that pays tribute to the Unknown service members who are returning to American soil for the first time since their conflict-related death. The Agency laboratory will now begin the extensive process to identify the remains, which can take anywhere from a few months to several years based on the state of the remains recovered.
“DPAA appreciates the extensive support shown by the local community, the state of Nebraska and the base, not only for today’s ceremony, but also for our daily work in providing the fullest possible accounting of missing personnel from previous conflicts,” said Fern Sumpter Winbush, DPAA principal deputy director.
An additional example of close community ties cited by DPAA Officials was the partnership with University of Nebraska-Lincoln for both research and field work, UNO College of Information Science and technology, and the UNMC School of Dentistry.
The 33,000 square foot lab at Offutt has helped identify more than 500 service members since opening in 2013 and together with its partner lab in Hawaii have accounted more than 1,000 missing Americans since DPAA stood up in 2015.