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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A Page From History

“PARIS, Dec. 24 (AP) – Maj. Glenn Miller, director of the Unites States Aire Force Band and a former orchestra leader, is missing on a flight from England to Paris, it was announced today.

Major Miller, one of the outstanding orchestra leaders of the United States, left England Dec. 15 as a passenger aboard a plane.  No trace of the plane has been found.”

So read the December 25, 1944, page 4 article in the New York Times.  Miller – perhaps the most famous of big band directors – was an accomplished trombonist and actor as well.  At the height of his fame and fortune, Miller enlisted in the Army then transferred to the Army Air Force in 1942.  He eventually formed a 50-piece Army Air Force band, which toured domestically and internationally, often to USO Centers.

He was on his way to entertain Troops who had recently liberated Paris when his plane disappeared.  Still officially listed as “Missing in Action,” Miller’s story sparked the popular imagination of conspiracy theorists and Hollywood executives alike.  His wife, Helen Miller, posthumously accepted a Bronze Star on his behalf in 1945.

No trace of the plane or any of the other passengers has been found in the last 65 years.