Saturday, September 24, 2005
Roger McKee Connor, Sharon
Edwards Connor, Mickie De Garmo Hansen,
and Walter Dutton Lund attended the monthly update tour of the
Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) in San Diego.
Day-long sessions are held monthly throughout the year at locations all around the country.The purpose of the DPMO meetings is to present information on their efforts to achieve the "fullest possible accounting of missing Americans from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Cold War and World War II." Of the 90,000 Americans still unaccounted for, 79,000 are from WWII.
After an overview of the program and an introduction of who's who in DPMO, an hour was allotted to allow family members to briefly speak about their missing loved one. Each family member was assigned a representative who is then the contact for all matters regarding the missing relative. The representative provided each attendee with a packet that included the IDPF as well as a summary and status of each case.
During the WWII "break-out" session, family members we were able to speak individually with the research archivist working on the case of their missing soldier.The officials advised this was the first time they ever had a break-out group for WWII, but since the WWII inquiries have increased, they now have five researchers dedicated to WWII.
Attending were AWON members Mickie De Garmo Hansen, whose dad was lost in Burma; Walter Lund Dutton, whose uncle's C-47B presumably crashed in the Bay of Bengal; Sharon Crowley Connor, whose dad died in a collision of two B-24s over the South Pacific; and Roger McKee Connor, whose father was killed in the Battle of the Bulge and is buried in Luxembourg. Roger took the opportunity to introduce AWON to the audience.
Especially remembered on this day were PVT George Roger Connor, SGT William Edward Crowley, 1LT Melvin G. DeGarmo, and Walter Dutton's Uncle, Donald Clare Dutton.
DPMO's slogan is "Keeping the Promise" that every effort will be made to find and return all soldiers to the land they died to defend. A final presenter said, "Every soldier deserves a ride home."
For more information on the DPMO and it's tour schedule, http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/
In response to a related discussion
on the AWON List, Sharon included the eligibility statement for
government-funded markers for any cemetery, national or privater, anywhere in the world.
Here's the eligibilty statement at http://www.cem.va.gov/hmelig.htm : The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. Persons Eligible for a Government Headstone or Marker in a Private Cemetery:
a. Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard)
(1) Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty.
(2) Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. With certain exceptions, service beginning after September 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after October 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 months or the full period for which the person was called to active duty. (Examples include those serving less than 24 months in the Gulf War or Reservists that were federalized by Presidential Act.) Undesirable, bad conduct, and any other type of discharge other than honorable may or may not qualify the individual for veterans benefits, depending upon a determination made by a VA Regional Office. Cases presenting multiple discharges of varying character are also referred for adjudication to a VA Regional Office.
The logo, story, and eligibility statement were provided by Sharon Crowley Connor with thanks!