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Brown Says 'Trust' at Center of Military Service, POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster

The Defense Department today revealed the prisoner of war/missing in action commemorative poster which, leading up to POW/MIA Recognition Day later this year, will serve as a reminder of America's ongoing efforts to provide the fullest possible accounting of the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who are still missing from past conflicts.

Four people look at a poster displayed on an easel.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster
Chad Lindell; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.; Colleen Shine; and Bill Bonnell unveil the 2024 National POW/MIA Recognition Day poster at the Pentagon, June 20, 2024.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Kamren Chotalal, DOD
VIRIN: 240620-A-TC178-1013

Today, nearly 82,000 service members and civilians remain unaccounted for from conflicts dating back to World War II. The role of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, is to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing personnel to their families and the nation.

Each year, DPAA creates a poster in advance of POW/MIA Recognition Day, which will be commemorated this year on Sept. 20. This year's poster features a silhouette of a service member saluting both the American flag and the POW/MIA flag and bears the words "Honoring their sacrifice. Earnestly searching for those still missing."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., who spoke at the event and who also participated in the unveiling of the poster, said that upon taking his role as chairman, one of his expectations of the joint force has also proven foundational when it comes to efforts by the DPAA and the DOD to bring home unaccounted-for service members. That expectation, he said, is "trust." 

"Trust is the foundation of our profession," Brown said. "The profession of arms is a noble one. And in our society, trust is a critical aspect of relationships."

The general said the U.S. military must, for instance, ensure service members trust that their leaders will take care of them. There is also great trust that the department will provide the best capabilities, training and leadership possible so that service members are best positioned for success when called into combat. 

"Finally, our service members, their families and the American public trusts that we will do everything in our power to recover our missing service members and our prisoners of war," Brown said. "That's why it's especially important to be here today, to honor the work of DPAA, our Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency." 

Since 1973, DPAA has accounted for nearly 1,000 American service members from World War II, over 450 from the Korean War and more than 1,000 service members from Vietnam. Last fiscal year DPAA accounted for 158 missing service members.

Kelly K. McKeague, director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said tens of thousands of service members are still unaccounted for around the world, and that it is the role of DPAA to bring them home. 

"They made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and did not come home," McKeague said. "Their families, some of whom are here today, still grieve over their loss, which is exacerbated by inherent uncertainty. America's staunch commitment to its POWs and MIAs has spanned decades. It is manifested no more profoundly than by the extraordinary lengths that the Department of Defense takes to find, recover and identify missing heroes." 

The complex work of DPAA is demanding and involves risk, McKeague said. But the work is aided as well by cooperation with 45 host nations. Right now, he said, 205 DPAA personnel are operating in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, the Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. 

"The tremendous efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency gives our service members and their families the gift of closure after decades of not knowing," Brown said. "Each identification is a testament to our dedication to bringing every missing hero home [and] ensuring sacrifices are never forgotten. As we unveil the 2024 National POW/MIA recognition poster, let us remember our duty to those brave individuals and their families."


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