Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Director Michael Linnington completed his first oversight visit to Southeast Asia last week to assess the U.S. Government’s efforts to achieve the fullest possible accounting for Americans still missing from the Vietnam War. Linnington, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general appointed to the DPAA position by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in June, traveled to the region from October 30 – November 12.
Director Linnington visited DPAA detachments in Bangkok, Thailand; Vientiane, Laos; and Hanoi, Vietnam, and met with senior U.S. officials in each country, as well as senior host nation counterparts. He also met with U.S. Embassy staff and Cambodian counterparts in Phnom Penh.
In Laos and Vietnam, Director Linnington joined DPAA recovery teams excavating sites associated with missing U.S. personnel. “The opportunity to get out into the field and visit with our teams and host nation partners working to account for our missing countrymen was the highlight of my trip,” Linnington said. He continued, “The dedication and commitment of the young men and women on our recovery teams is truly inspiriting. And the level of rapport and cooperation between our teams and our host nation counterparts is equally impressive. We could not do this mission without the support and cooperation of our partner nations, and for that assistance, I am very grateful.
“We’ve made great progress in accounting for our missing from the Vietnam War, but there’s more to do and I’m looking at every opportunity to speed up this mission. Those we search for deserve no less, as do their families,” Linnington said.
“I am honored to have been selected by the Secretary to lead this most important mission. As a former soldier myself, I take very seriously the commitment that we leave no one behind,” said Linnington.
1,626 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.