By Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Public AffairsSeptember 14, 2012
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (Sept. 14, 2012) -- The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, will honor former prisoners of war, or POWs, and fallen U.S. personnel who remain missing in action, or MIA, during a ceremony commemorating National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 10 a.m., Sept. 21, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
This ceremony is free and open to the public. Appropriate attire for the event is military Class B or service equivalent, civilian casual or aloha wear.
Organizations are welcome to present wreaths or flowers in honor of the many sacrifices made by those who served the nation or who continue to serve faithfully. Wreaths must be delivered to the Punchbowl ceremony no later than 9:15 a.m., Sept. 21
This day is a day of observance for all Americans to offer remembrance, honor and respect to service members who were prisoners of war and those who remain missing as a result of the nation's conflicts.
The 2012 national theme, "Until They Are Home," pays special tribute to the families of service members who have sacrificed and endured on behalf of their loved ones.
This year's program will be led by Johnie Webb, deputy to the commander for Public Relations and Legislative Affairs, JPAC.
Retired Col. William S. Reeder Jr., keynote speaker, was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. During his second tour in Vietnam, Reeder was shot down and captured May 9, 1972, by the communist North Vietnamese while on a combat mission in South Vietnam. He was released March 27, 1973, after being held captive for nearly a year.
Highlights of this year's ceremony include a wreath-laying ceremony, speeches and a rendition of taps played in honor of former prisoners of war and those still missing in action.
Falling directly under U.S. Pacific Command and employing more than 450 joint military and civilian personnel, JPAC continues its search for the more than 83,000 Americans still missing from past conflicts.
Since 2003, JPAC has identified more than 740 Americans. Combined with the efforts of its predecessor units, close to 1,830 Americans have been identified since the accounting effort began in the 1970s.
The ultimate goal of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, and of the agencies involved in returning America's heroes home, is to conduct global search, recovery and laboratory operations in order to support the Department of Defense's personnel accounting efforts.
Specialized investigative and archaeological recovery teams deploy worldwide to search for Americans who remain unaccounted for from World War II and the Vietnam War.
JPAC teams are currently deployed to Korea, Belgium and Vanuatu. A mission to Papua, New Guinea, is scheduled to return to JBPHH soon; a Vietnam mission has already returned to Hawaii.
(Editor's Note: Compiled from JPAC and U.S. Navy news releases.)