National POW / MIA Recognition Day

POW/MIA Flag being flown
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National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Did you know that nearly 81,000 American service members still remain missing after having served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and other conflicts involving the U.S. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has worked to recover 127 service members in 2023. That is 88 members that were missing from World War II, 35 from the Korean War, and four from the Vietnam War.

It is presumed that 41,000 of those missing, will never be recovered as they were lost or buried at sea. In World War II (September 1939 –  September 1945), more than 16 million Americans served in that war, with 400,000 died during that war. At the end of that war, 79,000 Americans were unaccounted for. Today, there are 72,183 of those lost who still remain unaccounted for.

During the Korean War (June 1950 – July 1953), some 1,789,000 Americans served in the war, with 36,574 died during the war. There are 7,490 Americans still missing.

During the Cold War (March 1947 – December 1991) some 126 American service members are still Missing In Action or are Prisoners of War.

During the Vietnam War (November 1964 – April 1975) of the more than 500,000 U.S. Military personnel involved in the War, some 1,578 are still POW/MIA.

For the more current conflicts, like Desert Shield / Desert Storm (1990-1991), Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, War on Terror, the Afghanistan conflict, plus U.S Interventions in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Uganda, Niger, Syria, and other conflicts, there have been six POW/MIAs.

The last official POW to return to the US is Marine Private Robert Russell Garwood, who was captured on September 28, 1965, and released on March 22, 1979, which is 14 years as a POW. 

I’m absolutely amazed at these numbers, I mean, I can totally understand how this can happen, but the numbers are just shocking to me. So the next time you see a POW/MIA Flag stop and think of those that never returned and their family never got closure.

*** NOTE *** The numbers seem to vary greatly depending on the source and time frame. I took my numbers from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

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