March 5, 2004


Two teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) will deploy from Hawaii this week to Papua New Guinea and Australia to conduct investigation and recovery operations to search for Americans still missing from WWII.

The five person investigation team will investigate 19 sites located as far north as Wewak, south to Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea. The 10 person recovery team will begin operations in Australia to recover the missing pilot of a P-40 that crashed during a test flight approximately 30 miles northeast of Melbourne, Australia.

Upon completion of the excavation in Australia, the recovery team will move operations to Papua New Guinea to recover a crashed B-24, where 11 Americans are still missing. The site is located approximately 100 miles north of Port Moresby on the Solomon Sea.

Today, there is one American still missing from Operations Desert Shield/Storm, and there are more than 1,800 from the Vietnam War, 120 from the Cold War, more than 8,100 from the Korean War, and more than 78,000 from World War II.

The U.S. Government, the Department of Defense and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command are committed to scientific excellence and the fullest possible accounting of all Americans still missing or unaccounted for in defense of this great country. JPAC continues to fulfill our nation's promise to the POW/MIA families and those Americans still waiting to come home. "Until they are home..."


Today's technology allows us to identify some remains through mitochondrial DNA. If you know of a family member who is from the maternal bloodline of an unaccounted-for serviceperson, please ask them to contact the military services to provide a blood sample at: 
U.S. Army: (800) 892-2490 
U.S. Air Force: (800) 531-5501 
U.S. Navy: (800) 443-9298 
U.S. Marine Corps: (800) 847-1597 

LTC Jerry O'Hara
United States Army
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command PAO
JPAC Motto: "Until They Are Home"
310 Worchester Ave, Bldg 45
Hickam AFB, Hawaii, 96853-5530
Office: (808) 448-8903 Ext 111, alt. 109
Fax (808) 448-2619
Web Site: http://www.jpac.pacom.mil 

(Image and text from the Institute of Heraldry)

In 1971, Mrs. Mary Hoff, an MIA wife and member of the National League of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for a symbol of our POW/MIAs. The flag is black, bearing in the center, in black and white, the emblem of the League. The emblem is a white disk bearing in black silhouette the bust of a man, watch tower with a guard holding a rifle, and a strand of barbed wire; above the disk are the white letters POW and MIA framing a white 5-pointed star; below the disk is a black and white wreath above the white motto:


The flag has been altered many times; the colors have been switched from black with white - to red, white and blue, - to white with black; the POW/MIA has at times been revised to MIA/POW.

On March 9,1989, a POW/MIA Flag, which flew over the White House on the 1988 National POW/MIA Recognition Day, was installed in the United States Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation passed overwhelmingly during the 100th session of Congress. The leadership of both Houses hosted the installation ceremony in a demonstration of bipartisan congressional support. This POW/MIA Flag, the only flag displayed in the United States Capitol Rotunda, stands as a powerful symbol of our national commitment to our POW/MIAs until the fullest possible accounting for Americans still missing in Southeast Asia has been achieved.

On August 10,1990, the 101st Congress passes U.S. Public Law 101-355, recognizing the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag and designating it "as a symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation." Beyond Southeast Asia, it has been a symbol for POW/MIAs from all American Wars.

With the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act during the first term of the 105th Congress, the..... 'POW/MIA Flag' will fly each year on:

Armed Forces Day - Third Saturday in May
Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
Flag Day - June 14
Independence Day - July 4
National POW/MIA Recognition Day - Third Friday in September
Veterans Day - November 11

The POW/MIA Flag will be flown on the grounds or the public lobbies of major military installations as designated by the Secretary of Defense, all Federal National Cemeteries, the National Korean War Veterans Memorial, the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House, the United States Post Offices and at official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veteran's Affairs, and Director of the Selective Service System.  Civilians are free to fly the POW/MIA Flag whenever they wish.