Keeping the Promise

Millington, TN – Each year, all casualty branches of the military service search the globe to identify and give full military honors to approximately 100 MIA/POW's. Hundreds of people work these cases, often with little or nothing to go on.

Ken Terry works closely with the families of long missing Navy soldiers to bring their loved ones home, and finally bring closure.

When Kenneth Terry talks about working those issues he's saying that they're putting together clues from crash sites, medical records and soldiers' families who do not know where their soldier is. Many have been listed as Prisoners of War or Missing In Action.

The military uses forensic evidence, not unlike CSI uncovering a crime scene, to identify the remains and eventually link to a Missing in Action or Prisoner of War case. These remains can be in the form of bone material, teeth, jewelry, or anything that has survived the elements and time at the crash site.

DNA matching is relatively new. So you may wonder how they are able to make genetic matches. This is achieved by collecting DNA samples from the maternal side of the soldier's family and comparing it to human remains found at various crash sites around the world.

Day in and day out Ken Terry works these cases to keep the promise to bring military personnel back home.

The military classifies remains in two ways: group remains and individual remains. Group remains are given full military honors and buried at Arlington Cemetery. The family of the individual may choose to have their loved one buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery or have them laid to rest elsewhere.

One by one Kenneth Terry and hundreds of Navy personnel work these cases of the unaccounted for soldiers. For the Navy alone, 37,000 are from World War II and some 1,500 from other foreign wars. In total, the military continues to search for some 90,000 unaccounted for military personnel to keep the promise made so long ago.

For information on how to inquire about a missing family member, contact the appropriate military branch below:

Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
2900 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-2900

USAF Missing Persons Branch
550 C Street West, Suite 15
Randolph, TX 78150-4716
(800) 531-5501

Department of the Army
US Army Human Resouces Command
Attention: AHRC-PER
200 Stovall Street, VA 22332-0482
(800) 892-2490

Headquarters US Marine Corps
Manpower and Reserve Affairs (MRC)
Personal and Family Readiness Division
3280 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5103
(800) 847-1597

Department of the Navy
Navy Personnel Command
Casualty Assistance Division
POW/MIA Section (PERS 62P)
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-6210
(800) 443-9298

East Asia and Pacific Division
Overseas Citizens Services
US Department of State
2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20520
(202) 647-5470