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More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women -- both military and civilian -- work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. The mission requires
expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries, and scientific analysis.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, more than 400,000 died during the war. At the end of the war, there were approximately 79,000 Americans unaccounted for. This number included those buried with honor as unknowns, officially buried at sea, lost at sea, and missing in action.
Today, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from WWII.
The Korean War accounting effort remains a priority for the U.S. government. DPMO pursues opportunities to gain access to loss sites within North Korea and South Korea. Additionally, identifications continue to be made from remains that were returned to the United States using forensic and DNA technology.
More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
Since 1973, the remains of more than 900 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
For more than a decade the United States has conducted joint field activities with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover the remains of missing Americans. Throughout those countries, teams continue to investigate crash and burial sites, as well as interview locals to gain additional knowledge. The United States also continues to obtain access to historical wartime
records and archives that provide information relevant to the fates of missing Americans.
Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the conflict.
In addition to the thousands of service members who fought communist forces during wars in Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts, many service members risked their lives off of the battlefield while collecting intelligence on the Soviet Bloc, the People's Republic of China, and North Korea during the Cold War. The sacrifice made by these Americans enabled the United States and our
allies to contain the threat of communist expansion until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Today, 126 service members remain unaccounted for from the Cold War.
On Dec.1, 2011, the responsibility to account for missing U.S. personnel in Iraq transferred from the U.S. Central Command to DPMO. In accordance with the Missing Service Personnel Act, the current number of personnel missing from operations in Iraq and other current conflicts is seven. DPMO continues to ensure lessons learned during current conflicts are incorporated into
The policy of the United States, to never offer remuneration for the return of captured personnel, serves as a deterrent to hostage-takers and is one of the keys to protecting our service members.
The Code of Conduct
I am an American, fighting in the forces
which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in
I will never surrender of my own free
will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command
while they still have the means to resist.
If I am captured I will continue to
resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid
others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the
If I become a prisoner of war, I will
keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in
any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take
command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and
will back them up in every way.
When questioned, should I become a
prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of
birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I
will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or
harmful to their cause.
I will never forget that I am an
American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the
principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United
States of America.
Never Forgotten - Never Forgotten