POW/MIA Update

The POW/MIA issue is of paramount concern to The American Legion. The Legion’s Mandate on this issue commits us to keep the spotlight on securing the full accounting for all POW/MIAs from the Gulf War, the war in Southeast Asia, the Cold War, the Korean War and World War II. Full accounting means the return of live POWs, the repatriation of their remains, or convincing evidence why neither of these is possible.

The American Legion has also worked continuously with both Congress and the Defense Department to improve the policies and programs for the accountability of missing persons. For years The American Legion supported a National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is now recognized annually on the third Friday in September.

The American Legion will continue to speak out and exert maximum pressure on both the Administration and on the Congress to fully account for America’s POW/MIAs.

A sacred value of The American Legion is the full accounting and repatriation of fallen U.S. service personnel. The Legion supports Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) activities to locate and repatriate all recoverable remains of U.S. military personnel who have fallen or are missing in foreign battle zones.

How You Can Help

Family Reference Samples (FRS)

JPAC can often identify individuals if they have a reference sample of a special type of DNA from surviving family members. This special DNA is called Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, and it is inherited only from the mother. We use this type of DNA because it is long-lasting, abundant, and doesn’t change much from generation to generation.

FRS Explained

You may be able to help us identify America’s missing heroes. If you are a family member of an individual who is Missing in Action, we may be able to use a sample of your DNA to help us with our identification process. However, we do not need a sample from just any family member – we can only use samples from family members who share the same mtDNA as the missing service member. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed on through the maternal line.

To view a list of Iowans for whom a reference sample is needed, visit the JPAC website.

Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command website:  www.jpac.pacom.mil