HAWAII, July 28, 2016 —
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency strives to provide families of missing U.S. service members as much support as possible in their journey to returning their loved ones back to the United States. The support and endless effort keeps the mission going until the nation has the fullest possible accounting for our heroes.
Last week Robert Chauffeur, nephew of a World War II prisoner of war, visited DPAA for a tour of the facility, June 30. While he was visiting, he was shown some of the remains of U.S. service members who had recently been disinterred from the Philippines, some of which could be his great uncle. When he was asked what it would mean for his great uncle to be returned, he had solemn but inspirational words to share.
“First of all, I see it as a when he will be identified not an if--he will go back to one of the prettiest places in the country,” said Chauffer. “Boulder Valley in Montana is where a little white church sits with a grave yard and he has a spot there.”
Chauffeur and his family have been actively involved in the search and identification of his uncle who was a POW in the Philippines in 1942. His great uncle is survived by four brothers, the oldest being -99-years-old.
“The goal for the family is to have him returned before his oldest brother Jack turns 100 years old next April,” said Chauffer. “My mother’s family is all buried in the Boulder area and there is a headstone for my uncle. Knowing that he is not there is a big difference than knowing that he is there.”
The story Chauffer has been told about his great uncle is one of honor. When he was asked about his relations to the service member, he admitted to not knowing his uncle but that does not deter him or other surviving family members to continue the effort to bring him home.