United States Missing In Action (MIA)
World War II
Pacific Theater, Korean War and Cold War
American Prisoners Of War (POW)
Since 1988, U.S. Congress established National Former POW Recognition Day on April 9th to mark the anniversary of the surrender of U.S. forces in Bataan Peninsula on April 9, 1942. The day is recognized with a U.S. Presidential Proclamation.
American Missing In Action (MIA)
At the end of World War II, 78,750 Americans were listed as Missing In Action (MIA)
with roughly half in Indo-Pacific as a result of the Pacific War. During the Korean War, over 8,000 Americans were listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
In the United States, two holidays honor America's war dead. Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Since 1979, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the 3rd Friday in September, established with a proclamation signed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. In 2019, the National POW/MIA Flag Act was signed into law, requiring the POW/MIA flag to be flown on certain federal properties, including the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House “on all days the U.S. flag is flown” and “in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public.”
Recovery of American Missing In Action (MIA)
The recovery and identification America's unaccounted-for Missing In Action (MIA) began during the war by American and Allied forces. Postwar, the MIA search and identification was tasked to the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS). Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) agency responsible for MIA recovery and identification is the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Every year, new discoveries and reports are
made about remains and wreckage that often lead to sites being discovered and MIA cases resolved. Due to ongoing accounting efforts by the DoD, the number of Americans that are MIA is being reduced as more individuals are officially accounted for.
Number of MIAs Remaining Today
As of September 18, 2020 the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) lists a total of 85,394 Americans Missing In Action (MIA) including 4,422 from World War I, 71,692 from World War II, 7,717 from the Korean War, 1,561 from the Vietnam War and none from other conflicts.
As of September 10, 2021 the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) lists 81,600 Americans Missing In Action (MIA) from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and other conflicts. This includes 72,400 from World War II (including 47,075 in the Indo-Pacific region representing 65% of the World War II missing), 7,555 from the Korean War, 1,584 from the Vietnam War, 126 from the Cold War (108 in Asia and 8 in Europe), 5 from the Gulf Wars and 1 from Operation El Dorado Canyon in Libya (bombing of Libya April 15, 1986). Of these, 75% are located in the Indo-Pacific region and over 41,000 are presumed lost at sea. (Source DPAA - Past Conflicts as of September 10, 2021).
CSPAN "House Armed Service Hearing on POW/MIA recovery and accounting" April 2, 2009
DoD Missing In Action March 2009 (74,791 Missing from World War II, with nation breakdown, 8,050 Missing from the Korean War)
DPAA (DPAA) National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) - Past Conflicts data of September 11, 2020
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Burials Search "Missing Status: Missing In Action" as of September 18, 2020