“Ask the Chief” Forum

Comments on Current Events and Questions to the Foundation

Question: “I have managed with your help in tracking down where my uncle’s remains might have been buried as an “Unknown” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has his dental, they have my DNA, they have an X-Ray and circumstantial evidence. Now how long will I wait for him to be identified?”

Answer:  Eleven years from receipt of remains in the DPAA Laboratory to identification is the AVERAGE time, according to their own internal study.

Question:  “What is the worst policy at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that hurts MIA families?” 

Answer:  Wow, what a question!  And which one of many dysfunctional practices to chose from as the “worst?”  But, undoubtedly the most harmful to MIA families is DPAA’s refusal to release any specific information about a MIA’s recovery when DPAA makes the first public announcement.   While one family is correctly thrilled to first learn their family member has been identified, the family is not initially told any specific details about the recovery.  DPAA’s policy is to await the conclusion of a meeting with the identified MIA’s family before they provide ANY details of the recovery to anyone.  This policy looks good on paper but the meeting may be months, years, or even NEVER before it occurs.  At the same time, hundreds of other family members whose MIA may have been a candidate for the same set of remains that were identified are left to agonize completely in the dark by DPAA.

Here’s some examples on how the current DPAA policy works in real life:

  1.  In March 2017, DPAA announced that PFC Jack Fox had been accounted for as an “Unknown.”  To this day, DPAA refuses to release exactly which “Unknown” was identified as PFC Fox!  Did all the members of PFC Fox’s family die before a meeting could be scheduled?  We don’t know.  What we do know is that there are currently 394 other MIA families whose own MIA’s are candidates to be the “Unknown” identified as PFC Fox, whichever one he was.  Don’t these families deserve to know whether or not their own missing hero can be eliminated from the list of possible matches?
  2.   In March 2019, DPAA quietly posted on their web site that Captain Edward Walker  had been identified as an “Unknown” who was recovered from an American military cemetery in 2017.  The problem is that Captain Walker’s remains had been misidentified in 1946 and these remains were buried in his family plot.  Whose remains were buried as Captain Walker in 1946?  And what “Unknown” was identified as Captain Walker almost a year ago?  We don’t know. What we do know is that a total of 1,090 families of American servicemen are in agony awaiting these answers.
  3. In December 2019, 2nd Lieutenant George Johnson was announced by DPAA as “accounted for.”  Absolutely no details were released about his recovery and all requests for information to DPAA have been refused.  The problem is that Lieutenant Johnson was widely thought to have been lost in an aircraft crash at sea and other members of his crew remain missing.  Did a diver find Lieutenant Johnson’s aircraft at the bottom of the ocean?  Was he also a misidentified “Unknown?”  Did a native or a paid contractor find his bones washed up on a beach?  We don’t know.  What we do know is almost 400 other families of MIA’s who were lost in the same general area are anxious to know how Lieutenant Johnson’s recovery affects their own cases.

And the list of agonizing MIA families grows and this dysfunctional policy at DPAA goes on and on…

Question:  “What happened to the guy who claimed he was affiliated with one of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) paid contractors who was charged with theft of government materials from the National Archives?”

Answer:  He plead guilty in Federal Court and is awaiting sentencing.  A “non-profit” corporate contractor with whom he claimed affiliation has now been paid over $12 million dollars by DPAA.

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty In WWII Dog Tags Theft

Virginia man pleads guilty in WWII dog tags theft

HISTORIAN, RESEARCH, & ANALYST AT HISTORY FLIGHT, Inc. – By Linkedin 

Question:  “Where does the Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation get its research materials?”

Answer:  Our Foundation’s research is based on documents we have lawfully obtained through hundreds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to various government agencies, two successful Federal civil lawsuits to obtain public records, information provided to us by family members and other researchers, and online research of public records.  Our Foundation’s investigators also do on site research at the National Archives and the National Personnel Records Center where we must pay the Federal government from our limited funds for copies of the materials.

 

As always, thank you for your support!  Don’t hesitate to contact us by using the form below if you have any questions that I or the Foundation can  answer for you.”

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