On September 10th, I was invited by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command to attend an arrival ceremony for the recovered remains of fallen U.S. personnel from World War II and the Vietnam War. These remains received full military honors during the ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base, before being transported to JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory to undergo the forensic identification process.
As an Army wife with a husband currently deployed to Afghanistan, I must commend JPAC for their mission, which is “to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all Americans missing as a result of our nations past conflicts.” Granting families who have suffered losses some closure, and simultaneously granting these fallen heroes the recognition they deserve is a truly noble cause.
Our day began with a video briefing on JPAC’s mission, introduction to the commander and other JPAC members, and a brief tour of their forensics lab.
Major General Tom, Commander of JPAC
JPAC CIL forensic anthropologist Carrie Brown gives a talk about forensic evidence used for identification.
Dogtags recovered from Vietnam.
An American Flag displayed in front of one of the lab's rooms.
Skulls created from X-rays of the scientists' own skulls, printed in plaster with a 3D printer. Part of an experiment for future identifications.
Names of Americans who have been identified so far.
We then carpooled out to Hangar 35 for the ceremony. The following information is from the JPAC press release:
The remains receiving full military honors represent losses associated with the Vietnam War and World War II. An honor detail made up of JPAC military members will carry four flag-draped transfer cases from a C-17 to a bus that will transport the cases to JPAC’s laboratory for analyses. The first two transfer cases represent the Vietnam War and were recovered from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The remaining transfer cases were recovered from the Republic of Vanuatu and Germany, and represent World War II losses.
To view my complete collection of photos from the event, please click here. I would like to thank JPAC for the opportunity to observe and photograph this solemn event, and for their service to our country.