These day-long conferences are held monthly throughout the year at locations all around the country (next one is in Spokane
on Nov. 19). See http://www.dtic.mil.dpmo
> . The purpose of the DPMO meetings is to present information on their efforts to achieve the "fullest possible
accounting of missing Americans from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Cold War and World War II." Of the 90,000
Americans still unaccounted for, 79,000 are from WWII.
After an overview of the program and an introduction of
who's who in DPMO, an hour was allotted to allow family members to briefly speak about their missing loved one. It was
unhurried, and everyone who cared to speak did. Many of their comments were quite moving -- somewhat reminiscent of
the sharing circles at AWON conferences. (As many of us saw at the WWII Memorial Dedication in May, folks from the Greatest
still cry when they reflect about their war.)
Each family member is assigned a representative who becomes the
contact for all matters regarding the missing loved one. Dr. Chris McDermott was the contact, along with Tracy Brown
and another scientists, who presented the information gathered thus far about our missing family members and the efforts to
locate the crashed C-47B. All family members present were given every opportunity to ask questions and offer information and
comments. A more exact and feasible crash site location needs to be available for the government to facilitate a search.
slogan is "Keeping the Promise" that every effort will be made to find and return all soldiers to the land they died
to defend. A final presenter said, "Every soldier deserves a ride home."
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Goodrich were there and offer this information from their experience:
The San Diego POW-MIA meeting was a very enlightening series of meetings that can be ranked as something each of us family
members might like to attend, once. The first meeting was a general meeting of relatives from all conflicts
from WW-II forward with a lengthy introduction of the 60 individuals the government brought to the session accompanied with
what their duties include. After introductions relatives were invited to speak to honor their family member(s) lost.
That session then split into groups of each conflict which as we learned was the first time there was a session
specifically for WW-II families.
DPMO (Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office) and JPAC (Joint POW-MIA Accounting
Office) members spoke at this session advising how they do their work and more specifically as to WW-II in the area of
forensics and investigations. During the Q&A they happened to disclose they are short of funds by
speaking of problems they are having in several areas. At this point I told them of the recent newspaper
article about my brother and the intention of the article to assist in seeking Congressional support for their
work. And when specifically asked about that part of the story by the newspaper reporter, Personnel at JPAC denied
they were short and the reporter came back to me asking 'what gives' and changed the story line direction. We then
broke for lunch. My statements caused some staff concern as manifested when
we went to the table to donate DNA to the forensics group (for use for assistance in identification of remains, if found). Before reaching the table, two officials approached me and we spent the next full hour in a discussion
of why that was said and answered my inquiry of how to support their work. Certain conclusions were gleaned
from this conversation:
1. The statement from government officials that 'no one will be left behind'
is pure rhetoric! (his words) Their staff was severely
reduced by the Clinton Administration. The
Bush administration is more friendly, but they have a terrorist war
to fight and little empathy for our issue.
2. Their combined agency is indeed running short, 8 Million Dollars short.
3. If we wanted more action, we needed to form a pressure on the congress
by forming a national organization - like the Korean and Viet Nam families did in the past, garnering
great public and media attention.
I was told that when a letter is written to a congressman about the subject, it
is referred to their offices, who then write
a report of information as directed by their Military leaders. The agency will deny any financial problems as "they are not allowed to lobby
Congress" for funds. I was also told it will take a organization
of relatives making enough concern at the congressional level that they might lose votes if they don't do this. There was a not a comforting answer to
the question of how to get past their denials undercutting what we are asking for as they reply whatever their commanding
officers viewpoint is.
These people as individuals are perceived as earnest about their work but inhibited by the politics
in Washington and the Military. By this time it nearly 3PM, so we joined other members of our meeting with JPAC for a presentation about the missing
aircraft in India that crashed carrying our loved ones in 1946. An excellent report was given regarding the issues
of where to search with the latest information about the plane and what they could do next. One
statement was the problem our crash presents these people and probably why our issue will not go away for them. Our
single flight/crash is significant as it represents more than half of the 109 people being sought in the BC (Burma-China Theatre
End of Jim's comments.
Hope remains eternal to bring our loved ones home.