INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Friday, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced there are now fewer than 82,000 service members still unaccounted for from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, Iraq and other conflicts. Indiana still has 1,736 service members unaccounted for.
The announcement came on National POW/MIA Recognition day, September 20th, which honors service members who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.
You may remember last year, North Korea repatriated 55 boxes of presumed U.S. remains. The remains of a Hoosier, Army Master Sergeant Charles McDaniel, were among them. His dog tag was the lone military identification.
In a CBS4 exclusive, we had a chance to sit down with the director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and learn where the identification process for the rest of those remains stands. He told us to date, 37 remains have been identified, but there's potential for a lot more.
"What people don't understand and often get confused is that the boxes where highly commingled remains. We believe that because of DNA sequencing there are 250 different individuals in those boxes. Now, DNA sequencing also determined that 170 of them are of western origin, the rest being non U.S., non-western. Of the 170, only 20 were previously accounted for. So, we're very hopeful that in the coming months were will be much more than the current, as there is potential for up to 150 Americans." said DPAA director Kelly McKeague.
Currently, there are still more than 7,600 service members still considered missing from the Korean War. Of those, 5,300 are believed to be in North Korea. We know that according to the DPAA, 174 of the total unaccounted for are from Indiana. We're working with the DPAA as identifications come out. If any of the remains are Hoosiers, we'll let you know.