This page is a work in progress.
Organizations Involved In MIA Recovery
The organization chiefly responsible for the recent recoveries from Tarawa, History Flight is emerging as a leader in the MIA recovery movement. Click the logo above to learn more about their work.
Chief Rick Stone is a former Deputy Chief of the World War II Research and Investigative Branch at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). Through his efforts, 93 “Unknowns” buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (the Punchbowl) have been identified as Tarawa casualties. Chief Stone’s foundation is currently involved in the identification of missing servicemen from the battle of Tarawa.
If you or someone you know is related to a Marine listed as MIA from Tarawa, please contact the foundation by clicking the image above and request a free, comprehensive “Family Report” designed specifically for your missing serviceman, including information on any possible match to remains buried in the Punchbowl.
Headed by former Marine and long-time researcher Ted Darcy, the WFI Research Group has an unsurpassed collection of primary sources dedicated to lost aircraft and missing American servicemen of all branches. Darcy’s work has been directly responsible for the return of at least three servicemen to their families, and he has many other cases in progress. Working with WFI on three cases from Saipan is the reason for this site’s existence.
Project PRIAM (run by Daniel Leahy) maintains one of the foremost databases of Allied personnel listed as missing in the Pacific War, searchable by name or aircraft number. They also keep up-to-date on recovery efforts by independent and government agencies.
An excellent organization founded by Justin Taylan. Pacific Wrecks focuses not only on lost aircraft, but also ships, tanks, airfields and battlefields. They curate interviews, support recovery efforts, and more.
BentProp™ specializes in research and recovery efforts for lost aviators; they have been carrying out expeditions since 1999. Their primary area of focus is the Republic of Palau.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is the government agency responsible for the recovery of missing American servicemen, and make the final decisions about whether or not to act on information that could lead to a recovery. Their site hosts many resources for families of missing servicemen from all American conflicts, and maintains the official roster of those unaccounted for.
How You Can Help
• Make a donation to any of the organizations above. Most are 501c3 non-profits, and your donations, in addition to being extremely helpful, are tax-deductible.
• Submit a DNA sample to JPAC. If you are the relative of a missing service member of any branch, consider sending a sample for JPAC’s database. Recovered remains are subjected to a battery of tests, but the most important is securing a DNA match.
The researchers at Golden Arrow specialize in obtaining individual service records, after-action reports, flight records, and more. “This service is not offered by the National Archives or any other company in the United States, and it is especially exciting because so many Army and Air Corps Personnel Files were destroyed in the 1973 Personnel Center fire,” say their lead researchers. “Many times we can actually reconstruct the service history of those whose records were lost in the fire.” An indispensable service for anyone researching a unit or individual.
To find the service records of an individual serviceman, you can fill out a Standard Form 180 with the National Archives. This is particularly helpful if you are searching for a family member – copies of records are available free to veterans and next of kin, though other family and researchers are required to pay a fee.
Links of Interest
Jim Hildebrand, nephew of PhM1c John K. Hildebrand (MIA at Tarawa) hosts an incredible resource for those interested in the battle of Tarawa and the Second Marine Division. Excellent photographs, personal histories, and research work.
Information about American servicemen who died as POWs and were never recovered. Also details one family’s struggle with JPAC to have their relative, Private Arthur “Bud” Keeler, returned home.
Library of the Marine Corps
Online home of the official USMC Research Library, Archives, Special Collections and more.