Government suspends search for MIAs globally due to pandemic

Jack Murphy
March 24, 2020 - 12:28 pm
DPAA in vietnam

Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Claire Farin


The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has announced it is suspending worldwide operations to recover the remains of American soldiers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Agency’s highest priority is the health, safety, and physical well-being of the assigned service members, civilians, and contractors, as well as the personnel of our partner organizations, all of whom contribute to the accomplishment of its worldwide mission," DPAA announced in a press release.

The agency dispatches Investigation Teams (IT) and Recovery Teams (RTs) all of which have been stood down and returned back home to be put into a 14-day quarantine.

Missions were cut short in the Philippines, Poland, and Vietnam. Other missions have been postponed in Austria, Cambodia, Germany, Guam, Italy, Kuwait, Laos, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Poland, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sweden, and Vietnam, DPAA says.

The remains of 39,000 service members could still be identified — but DPAA needs more money

Army Air Forces pilot killed during World War II is coming home

"The ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic requires we take the necessary precautions to prevent and mitigate the impacts of the virus while ensuring we remain mission-ready," Rear Adm. Darius Banaji, DPAA’s Deputy Director for Operations writes. "We’ve postponed or canceled missions for the next several months; are focused on bring our teams home safely and concurrently, adjusting our daily operations to minimize possible exposure to COVID-19 while keeping the health and safety of our personnel and their families at the forefront."

For the time being, DPAA employees are working remotely from their homes and following US government guidance.

Want to get more connected to the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Reach Jack Murphy: or @JackMurphyRGR.