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Letter: Remember our POWs, MIAs

Sept. 18 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. POW means prisoner of war and MIA means missing in action.

On Sept. 18 I hope everyone will take a minute or two to pause and remember our POW/MIAs who were never returned to this fine country of ours. Also we need to remember the families of these fine young people. Parents pass away and never knew what really happened to their sons. In my view that is a real tragedy. Currently there are still around 20,000 MIAs from World War II, 8,100 from the Korean War, 200 from the Cold War, 1,800 from the Vietnam War.

The U.S. Department of Defense has a joint POW/MIA accounting command. These people go to various locations to exhume remains of suspected burials of U.S. military personnel. From these remains and through DNA they are able to identify the missing people. Back in the 1990s they were able to get into North Korea to excavate suspected burial sites, but since the souring of relations with North Korea, that has not been possible. Hopefully we will see improved relations with North Korea, China and Russia so recovery teams can revisit these countries.

These countries have been off limits to the recovery teams. On July 6 it was announced the US/Russia POW/MIA commission will reconvene. This commission was created in 1992 and has given U.S. researchers access to Russian military archives in search of missing American troops. That access was cut off in 2006. Keep the MIAs and their families in your prayers.

Also Kandiyohi County has a special reason to be vigilant. It has two solders missing from the Korean War. M/Sgt Carl Harold Lindquist, Company H, 31st Inf. Regiment, 7th Inf. Division, was missing on Nov. 29, 1950. Sgt. Harry Reynold Zupke, Service Company, 31st Inf. Regiment, 7th Inf. Division, was missing on Dec. 6, 1950. Late in November 1950, while east of the Chosin Reservoir, two battalions plus supporting units of the 31st Infantry Regiment were cut off and attacked by three Chinese divisions. This is the area where Lindquist and Zupke were lost. Both their families have submitted DNA samples so if their remains are found they can be identified.

James R. Johnson

Grove City

POW/MIA representative

Admiral Benson VFW Post 2818