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Missing in action.
-- devastating words for the family of any member of the US armed forces.
Those three words could mean a lifetime of uncertainty about what happened to -- love.
But for the dedicated -- who work here.
The world's largest skeletal forensic laboratory.
Thousands of families would never know.
What happened to their missing soldier sailor airmen Guardsmen or Marines.
Good evening I'm Oliver North this is war stories coming view of the joint POW MIA accounting command.
The -- air force base in life.
Testifying even 188000.
Americans who've been declared MIAs since the start of World War II can be a high risk mission.
And still remote mountain ranges all the find a single MIA.
Join us -- the stories of once missing heroes who waited decades to come home and those who worked tirelessly.
To leave no one behind.
It's a job it's unlike any.
Nelson really anywhere and I tell people what I do a job at this you know you can -- opinion altering -- that some people that make it back.
It's -- to -- -- that his old military unit of its kind test finding Americans missing in action here.
American servicemen died.
And remains one.
We're gonna look for general Hal Moore who led soldiers in the battle for Vietnam's it drang valley it's a sacred duty.
Just days it.
President Johnson County -- -- into.
-- very -- today ordered -- Vietnam air mobile division.
My home -- them before we left.
To all who would ultimately our missions to fulfill prompts.
-- of -- our job.
After victory in World War II the United States Begin bringing the boys home.
Many of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Were buried in the US cemeteries overseas.
But after nearly four years of global conflict.
The whereabouts of many who have fallen run though so that the United States has had this this desire.
Its commitment to recovering them find work.
Doctor Thomas Oliphant is a scientific director check back in 1940s.
They created a central kind of patient.
Predecessor but it.
And it identified tens of all.
The designation of this command joint POW MIA.
-- and where did that come from there was -- concern when when the Vietnam War there were still potentially in lives.
And certainly in my eyes.
We're on account of what numbers -- -- About 80000 from World War II 8100.
From Korean War.
The process of finding those missing in action begins with an investigation.
-- headquarters -- -- -- Well deserved it.
While the personnel files are -- analysts views security analysis.
-- fourth basket anymore.
Armed with files comprise the after action reports eyewitness accounts and medical records investigation teams like those led by major -- on -- -- it.
Traveled to battlefields around the globe.
-- routine mission how many cases would do.
In my experience about thirty day mission.
Of our annual.
Many of the places we go to simply -- out of mansion.
That this country is doing this they cannot imagine that we are spending the effort and the resources defined.
Remains -- proprietor or or.
And so there's a certain level of suspicion and wariness the first thing we'll do we get back -- -- a -- -- to our commander.
Request that the site you for a fresh approach and then recovery teams can assign and we go out and do the actual archaeological -- -- Lieutenant Leslie Alexander -- US Naval Academy graduate has led recovery teams to some of the most inhospitable places on the planet.
It's an honor being chosen to come here for sure.
We're responsible for the overall seeking conductive to remission marine captain George Murphy is -- over ten missions.
The team's composition is always saying the team -- looks at the mission.
What performance are.
Taylor's as a team -- The recovery team includes medical specialists engineers and scientists.
They have to be prepared for anything.
They have the exports of Warner's disposal technician because if you run into a lot of unexploded ordinance on -- mission.
We are -- war zones.
So -- there I was on -- recovery mission in Cambodia.
Signed the victory the Khmer Rouge still active and they mortar or base camp.
We have to kind evacuate while we were shooting for or content you have this is a member of the team which is an anthropologist -- go to the field.
Make the decisions in terms of what we can you.
Anthropologist Bradley -- is a veteran of more than twenty recovery operations.
There's -- -- pictures just just in working with and the terrain there are many many species of poisonous -- Some -- the prisoners on the planet beach's snake -- Some sites even tigers things like that are definitely concerns.
Despite the dangers to teams aren't deterred.
Once we get on indexer.
Or equipment for -- policies.
Most likely -- PlayStation.
And when you get out there do you have local labor to assistant.
The -- we certainly do and what the outcome there's just no possible that this was.
Once we get into the -- started again -- -- and slow process we're looking at fragments that are hardly recognizable filled.
Once on site work is complete.
And He remains at all evidence -- sent to the central identification laboratory in Hawaii for analysis and this is the the main lab floor of the central -- laboratory.
An expert in forensic identification.
John Bird manages hundreds of open cases.
These are cases that at this moment.
Are meeting to receive some kind of analytical attention by -- an anthropologist or an urban colleges and this laboratory typically at any one time has over 600 active cases -- called dentist who called.
-- -- order intelligence will we have a good dental record we might have a very strong positive ID that's gonna come from that dental comparison but increasingly about 80% of our cases used in a somewhat and this has revolutionized -- we do business we're going back.
To cases that we put back on the shelf and and resolving those cases now because of the we are trying to put together.
That are not only 304060.
Years old have been scattered.
And politics got family members you've got veterans who played some very anxiously.
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