Today, September 18, is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It is a day to recognize those who remain missing in action and prisoners of war. It is also a time to honor their families' sacrifices. According to The National League of POW/MIA Families, as of September 14, 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) has still listed 1,627 personnel who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
To learn about those American service members recently accounted for, visit the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office. And to get involved with the National League of POW/MIA families, or for information about receiving POW/MIA flags and bracelets, visit their website.
In 2015, five Vietnam service members were accounted for. The statuses next to their names on The Wall were changed and they were honored at a ceremony on Mother’s Day. On The Wall, the status of a cross represents missing in action. When a service member’s remains are returned or accounted for, a diamond is superimposed over the cross to show that the service member was killed in action. These five service members had their status changed from MIA to KIA:
• William E. Cooper; COL, USAF; Albany, Ga.; Panel 6E, Row 131
• Douglas D. Ferguson; CAPT, USAF; Tacoma, Wash.; Panel 15W, Row 110
• Melvin W. Finch; CAPT, USA; Fort Belvoir, Va..; Panel 2W, Row 125
• Francis J. McGouldrick Jr.; COL, USAF; New Haven, Conn.; Panel 36W, Row 17
• James L. Vanbendegom; SSG, USA; Kenosha, Wis.; Panel 23E, Row 65