On September 15, 2016, U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced H. Res. 871, which calls for the United States government to increase its efforts in finding 83,000 POW/MIA from around the world. The bill also asks for foreign governments to aid in the efforts to find and locate our missing and fallen service members. Rep. Johnson was a POW of nearly seven years after being shot down during a flight over North Vietnam. After introducing the bill, he stated on his website,
“This is a particularly meaningful day for me and my fellow POW buddies as well as our Great Nation’s military families,” said Johnson. “While I was blessed to make it home to Freedom, many of my fellow compatriots did not. In keeping with America’s promise to leave no man behind, and as a gift to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I have vowed I will never stop fighting for the Defenders of our Freedom.”
Johnson continued, “Just like those who fought for my release, I am continuing that effort to return ALL our American POWs and MIAs home. There is always more work to be done. My commitment to this country and those who fight for it will never end. Thank you to all the brave men and women in our Armed Forces, past and present, for your service and sacrifice to the greatest nation in the world – the United States of America. God bless you and I salute you.”
In addition to this resolution, Congressman Johnson recently urged the President to discuss ongoing U.S. recovery efforts in Laos to repatriate the remains of American personnel still Missing In Action in that country from the Vietnam War. In response, the government of Laos recently agreed to increase recovery personnel numbers and also indicated a willingness to ease burdens on excavation teams.
POW/MIA Recognition Day was September 16th, and currently there are still 1,618 U.S. service members missing in Southeast Asia from the Vietnam War. Out of the 1,618 POW and MIA, there were 50 Green Berets still missing in Laos. A more aggressive approach to locating POW/MIA is desperately needed for Southeast Asia since the soil there is very acidic and has a corrosive effect on the remains. Hopefully, once this new legislation is passed, more of our POW and MIA will be brought home and their family members will get the closure they deserve.
Image courtesy of the American Legion