Marla Andrews, Pearl Harbor Hickam, Austria discussed on The Takeout with Major Garrett


To leave. No man behind. While several hundred missing fallen have been returned for more than a decade as a result of North Korea's nuclear threats escalate. Search and rescue and recovery efforts have been suspended. Until today. That's the voice spice President Mike Pence at the honorable Kerry ceremony. August I twenty eighteen joint base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Hawaii our guest carry McCague director of the defense. POW accounting agency, Kelly. That sound bite from the vice president speaks to the country's relationship to those who still want to know and discover and have and this is an overused term, and I'm not even sure it applies. But let's just say for the sake of argument closure is an app, turn how much do you get to know or interact with these families, and what kind of communication does your agency have with them. And if you had personal experience with them searching, and then them learning, ultimately what your agency is able to achieve on their behalf and on behalf of the nation. They are who we dutifully serve. They are gold star families, which means they lost a loved one in combat but the difference between other gold star families says the families of the unaccounted for have that uncertainty associated with their loss. So it said grief, it's that. Discomfort. It's like a double layer of a it is, and it transcends generations it transcends time that even if spouses have passed siblings have passed their produce their descendants. Carry those memories those stories, and that's why we look at. Although the numbers are daunting challenges are steep every single one of those numbers is a unique story of an American who paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat on behalf of his nation and a family that long seeks answers and win an answer is obtained and it can be an answer as you were relating to me during break as small as a bone fragment or a tooth, and that linkage can be firmly established even that small remain, even though it's in many ways, a fraction of that military personnel. Former self that is accorded full military honors kit is no different than if a soldier losses. Life in Afghanistan. Stan last week. And that is part of this commitment. And it's part of this sense of what the nation owes back. We in our agency view it as a sacred obligation almost the moral imperative, but miss nation sent it's men and women off to war. And did they did not come back? Then it's our obligation to that servicemember. But it also speaks to an obligation to the family who is seeking those answers. But the other two aspects that I think are very important is that those on a counter for individuals have comrades in arms. They make as much as the family member in losing their comrade in battle and fourthly. It sends a strong signal to those currently serving in uniform that this nation will do everything humanly possible should they go missing and unaccounted for. I'd like to show you one more picture, of course. And I think this speaks to what I was talking about. So this is. Picture of two individuals to veterans of the Korean war one from the veterans of foreign wars VFW as well as another one from the order of the military, purple heart. Both of those as you can see are taken by one of their comrades coming back home at joint base Pearl Harbor Hickam from where the vice president spoke in that sound bite. We just heard right Brian is here breakfast has arrived. But those are pancakes, ladies and gentlemen. Yes. They are that is that is a stack of pancakes. That's going to be a mean effort for me, but it will be undertaken with the zealotry I guarantee you. So you mentioned this a moment ago and. I think it's important to zero in on it a little bit bakery writer. Thank you so much, sir. You talked about the identification would come from the service agency. Okay. So does that mean your agency does a lot of this work, but you don't ever actually do the face to face interaction with the families? We don't wanna comes to the notification of an identification. But one of our major lines of effort is communication with the families. And we look at it as a two way street, so we actively work to foster and, cultivate, communications with the families. So we host regional family updates throughout the country. In fact, on Saturday September eighth we will have one in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where we invite family members of unaccounted for from three hundred fifty mile radius and twice a year. We host the Vietnam war families in June as well as the Korean war and Cold War families in August here in Washington DC. And so because at one thing I was curious about is sometimes. Bureaucracies do lots of work, but they don't really touch you get a chance to tie. Absolutely. You have some of this emotional feedback, which I have to believe just a human level keeps you going it does. And not only does it keep us going, but it serves as a strong motivator for the host nations. We work with for the private partners that we work with. So we work with universities von governmental organizations to help build our capacity every single person that's associated with this mission. And know what they do. In fact, even an augment that we borrow from another command to assist in a field investigation or excavation is immediately seized by importance of what we do like to share with your great story. So there are twenty seven to ski airmen that are unaccounted for from World War Two. Throughout Europe Pacific. What have you last year through a partnership with the university of New Orleans university of Innsbruck? They found captain Lawrence Dixon. Let's a ski Gejerman his daughter Marla Andrews is still living. We've met Marla Andrews. In fact, she just addressed last week. Our team are seven hundred and fifty person team to share that experience of what it was like to hear that her dad was coming home. They found the two universities found the students. These are student anthropological anthropology students, then we're working this dig site in Austria, working with the local townspeople. They I find a ring inscribed with captain Dixon's initials as well as his wife. They find his harmonica. He was guitar player. He obviously couldn't carry the Qatar his p fifty one Mustang, but he carried his his harmonica. And then they found what they believed to be what we call Ossius material. What does that? That's what the scientists believed to be potentially human remains. And then those remains were brought back to our Omaha laboratory, they were examined DNA was cut Marla Andrews head of DNA sequence on file, and we were able to make that identification. He will be buried at Arlington sometime this fall and Marla tells a great story, you know, she says my dad loved music, and there will be jazz plane in the hall of parliament ten when they bring his casket into the room what a beautiful story, and again, it speaks to that visceral reaction that connection that sense of purpose that we have with the families, and I tell you the civilian and military. Scientists engineers all that work for agency were struck by how poignant more or less. Insights and perspectives were as she shared them with us. I mean listening to that it almost sounds like a novel. I mean, a harmonica in Austria is the first or one of the first evidence Serie trails that lead back this American who is in his own, right? A part of a transformative squadron and the United States and the history states military and his daughter and everything that flows from it the music the Commissioner of the nation, the others who cooperating. I mean, it's it's an amazing story. And I'm sure there are not countless, but a great number of those stories that flow through and around your agency every single one is unique every loss is we feel every loss. And so when our teams these are scientists these are hardened combat army soldiers when they come, and they know why they're there. Again, that's at sense of purpose. That sense of connection. We were talking to the professor at university of New Orleans professor that was in charge of the site in Austria, he said, it wasn't long before the students. These are undergraduate and graduate students when they learned why they were there and what they were looking for. He said it was like switch flicked. Right. I mean, they became not just academically motivated but emotionally involved. Absolutely. That's the voice of Kelly McCague, our special guests director defense POW MIA accounting agency. This is the takeout wrote at the Smith breakfast is here we're going.

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