By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs Office
MILLINGTON, Tenn. - “Until every story ends…” is the theme for the 2010 National Prisoner-of-War/ Missing-in-Action (POW/MIA) recognition observance Sept. 17.
“We can provide the family of a POW/MIA servicemember with survivor benefits, we can make service arrangements for them but we cannot provide them closure until we can provide them with that final piece of information,” said Kenneth Terry, POW/MIA department head, Navy Casualty Assistance.
The Navy’s POW/MIA Casualty Assistance Division is responsible for policy, control and oversight of ongoing efforts to identify Sailors unaccounted for due to hostile or non-hostile circumstances.
“Information related to the status or case progress of an unaccounted-for-servicemember is presented to family members through official correspondence monthly and annually for government briefings,” said Terry. “Identification briefings are presented to the primary next-of-kin when positive identification has been determined.”
The Navy actively monitors nearly 40,000 POW/MIA from War World II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam Conflict and the Gulf War.
Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans' facilities. It is traditionally observed on the third Friday in September each year. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.
The flag is to be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House.
The Navy’s POW/MIA Casualty Assistance Division can be reached by phone at 1-800-443-9298, fax 901-874-6654, e-mail MILL_NavyPOW-MIA@navy.mil or by visiting www.npc.navy.mil/CommandSupport/CasualtyAssistance/POW+MIA+BRANCH.htm.