September 18, 2019
Bolstered by an expansion and strengthening of partnerships, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in fiscal year 2019 accounted for 218 formerly missing Department of Defense (DoD) personnel from past conflicts, which is the highest yearly total reached by the agency or its predecessor organizations. Of the 218 newly accounted-for, 140 were from World War II, 73 from the Korean War and 5 from the Vietnam War.
Through a cooperative agreement awarded in 2018, HJF assists DPAA in their mission by providing operational support in locating and recovering the remains of those listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.
“I love coming to work and knowing that we are doing so much to honor our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen” said HJF Senior Program Manager Edie Druktenis, who is responsible for work on the cooperative agreement with DPAA. “We can never repay the debt we owe them, but it means everything to their families.”
A team of eight HJF staff is based around the world, including Germany, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, California, Texas, and Nebraska. The roles of the team members reflect the wide range of work they perform: archaeologist, historian, program manager, database manager, and more. Their investigation and recovery work currently consists of support for a number of terrestrial and underwater missions, including water and soil testing. In addition to the work performed by the team, HJF collaborates with a wide range of partners that include universities, nonprofit organizations and others.
Currently more than 81,900 service members remain missing from past conflicts, which include World War II (72,744), the Korean War (7,606), Vietnam War (1,587), Cold War (126), and the Gulf War (5). DPAA, which is part of the DoD, is dedicated to its mission “to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.”
Looking ahead, the HJF team is already focused on supporting new missions awarded under the cooperative agreement with DPAA.