Bringing America’s Heroes Home

The December 2005 team of Moore's Marauders and the U.S.S. Pasadena,in Tannapag Harbor, Saipan. Courtesy photo.

By Joseph Andrew Lee for ON★PATROL

“Leave no man behind” is an axiom that speaks directly to the loyalty and brotherhood of all men at arms. It’s included in the Army Ranger’s Creed, to “never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy,” and if you ask the Marines, they haven’t left a man behind since Lord Nelson was preserved in a barrel of rum after Trafalgar. The reality, however, is a bit less noble. In fact, burial in-place was actually the norm up until the Korean War. It’s unfortunate, but in many wars past we have left some of our troops behind.

In the late 1940s, Graves Registration Service (now Mortuary Affairs) began going back out to the locations where on-the-spot burials were performed in order to dress up the graves and correctly document those buried there, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that a pro-active effort was made to go out and locate the soldiers who were missing.

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) estimates that more than 83,000 troops are still missing from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cold War combined. Of these, 43,000 are considered “recoverable” and efforts are underway through the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to bring them home.

Because of the sheer volume of the unaccounted for, however, many, like Ken Moore, believe that more can be done. That is why he started the non-profit organization called MIA Charities, Inc., affectionately known as “Moore’s Marauders.” Moore’s cadre of the “best and brightest” patriots are at the tip of the spear, helping to speed the recovery of American heroes from their resting places abroad.

“We will use any means necessary to find, identify, and return to their families the remains of American service men who died unaccounted for on foreign soil in service of our country,” declares Moore on the MIA Charities website.

Locating the remains is the first step in the recovery process, and according to Moore, that’s what the Marauders do best…

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New Honor Guard Lounge Opens at the Fort Myer Community Center

President of USO of Metropolitan D.C., Elaine Rogers (center), stands with the president and CEO of Harkins Builders, Richard M. Lombardo (left) and Army Major General Karl Horst, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters—National Capitol Region and The U.S Military District of Washington to cut the ribbon in front of the lounge, September 8, 2010. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

By Joe Lee, ON★PATROL Staff Writer

USO Metropolitan Washington celebrated the opening of the new Honor Guard Lounge inside the Fort Myer Community Center yesterday with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony.

Event speakers included Army Major General Karl Horst, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters—National Capitol Region and The U.S Military District of Washington; Army Colonel Carl Coffman, joint base commander; and Elaine Rogers, president of USO of Metropolitan D.C..

The lounge is specifically dedicated to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who serve on the honor guard—charged with burying our fallen warriors at Arlington National Cemetary.

There isn’t a more deserving unit, Coffman said,  as he recalled waking up every morning to a caisson rolling past his home during his first few days as base commander.

“It was a sobering reminder for me,” said Coffman. “Burying our heroes is the most important thing the honor guard does, and they truly are the standard to which we are all held.”

A group of Air Force and Army honor guard members relax in the movie lounge. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

The state-of-the-art lounge boasts a gaming center, a 52-inch plasma TV, five computer workstations, a movie theatre and even a real theatre-style popcorn popper.

“The honor guard delivers first class service to our fallen heroes, and they deserve a first class facility to serve them—I hope this lounge meets and exceeds those expectations,” said Rogers.

Special thanks were given to major contributors Harkins Builders and Quest Software who helped make this $250,000 lounge a reality.

“It’s no surprise that the lounge far exceeds our expectations,” said Coffman. “We never had any doubt.”

Airman First Class Dane Daproza plays Wii in the new honor guard lounge. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

President and CEO of Harkins Builders, Richard M. Lombardo (right) receives the commander’s coin from Army Major General Karl Horst, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters—National Capitol Region and The U.S Military District of Washington. Miss Virginia, Caitlin Uze, stands between them for the photograph. (USO photo by Joe Lee)