Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, provided remarks at a POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes today.
Hyten spoke of service members still missing in action and thanked the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency for its ongoing efforts to find them.
“We will go to any length to bring you home. We will scour every inch of land. We will dive every shore. We will plunge into every depth of the Pacific and the Atlantic. We will comb every bit of the Korean and Italian peninsulas and the unmarked graves from Belgium to Burma, and we will find you. We will never forget and we will never leave a fallen comrade,” said Hyten.
Austin, speaking to prisoners of war and their families as well as to the families of the missing, said “We’re humbled by your sacrifice and your resilience. We still feel the pain of those missing from conflicts for generations ago, and we share the uncertainty that many of you endure. We also thank you for your advocacy and involvement in our work to recover our fallen, and our missing.”
More than 81,600 U.S. personnel still remain unaccounted for, but DPAA personnel are still searching for them and identifying their remains when found, the secretary said.
Of the many who were recovered and identified in recent years, Austin mentioned three.