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.
– Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff
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.”
The secretary mentioned that more than 81,600 U.S. personnel still remain unaccounted for. However, DPAA personnel are still searching for them and identifying their remains when found.
Of the many who were recovered and identified in recent years, Austin mentioned three.
Army Maj. Harvey H. Storms was a member of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which was part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team.
He was reported missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered. DPAA announced he was accounted for on July 29, 2019.
Army Sgt. John V. Phillips was a member of Headquarters Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippines. Intense fighting continued until the surrender of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942.
Phillips was captured during the fighting on Corregidor and died as a prisoner of war on July 27, 1942. DPAA announced that he was accounted for on Dec. 11, 2019.
Navy Cmdr. Paul C. Charvet was the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider attack aircraft assigned to Attack Squadron 215 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard.
During a mission on March 21, 1967, near Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam, his plane disappeared, and he was declared missing in action. DPAA announced that he was accounted for on March 1, 2021.
Speaking of those still unaccounted for, Austin said “We still seek answers to simple questions: ‘Where are they and when can they come home?'”
Source: US Dept of Defense