INFORMATION SOUGHT ON WWII VETS MISSING IN PALAU

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By Nazario Rodgriquez

KOROR, Palau (Marianas Variety, March 20) – The Joint Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) is encouraging anyone who could give information on 100 American soldiers believed to be missing in action during World War II in Palau.

This is based on several points that Capt. George Mitroka raised in a message to local print media through an Email on Wednesday March 14, explaining the main goal of JPAC.

Mitroka is the head of the mission that JPAC is currently undertaking in Palau, where it is currently doing underwater excavation for the remains of eight American Air Force men aboard a B24-J Liberator plane that crashed in Aimeliik waters after being shutdown by the Japanese ground force during WWII.

According to Mitroka, JPAC’s mission is to account for all missing American service members from "our nation’s past wars."

"No case is ever closed until we determine what happened to that service member," he noted.

He also said that "every soldier is entitled to one certainty, that he will not be forgotten; and the men and women of JPAC are singular in our focus… that the reason we deploy to some of the most remote and rugged areas on earth is to keep that promise."

Mitroka stressed that the support of the host nation is critical to the completion of the mission and that JPAC encourages anyone with information relating to an American loss to contact them either directly or through the American Embassy or Consulate.

Mitroka also provided a general statement readied for release whenever JAPC is asked to explain about the mission.

It said that "The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, JPAC, is conducting humanitarian operations in the area with the full knowledge and cooperation of local and national Palauan authorities. JPAC is a unit of the U.S. Department of Defense with the mission of accounting for missing Americans from our nation’s past wars. Our team is here to conduct investigations of sites possibly associated with missing American servicemen from World War II."

Accordingly, there are approximately 78,000 Americans still unaccounted for from World War II—approximately 100 are believed missing in Palau.

What are JPAC hoping to find during this deployment?

"Our mission is to account for servicemen still unaccounted for from America’s past wars. During this mission, we are excavating several locations around the country that previous investigations correlated to possible missing Americans lost during World War II," Mitroka noted.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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