Families traveling from as far away as Boise huddled in a Spokane hotel room this past weekend to meet with specialists from the U.S. Department of Defense to be briefed on efforts to recover their missing loved ones—prisoners of war or missing in action—to help families cope with their own personal wars on the homefront.
This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that 122 Inland Northwest family members met with federal officials. Throughout the year, some families travel to Washington, D.C., to review case files, but many can't make the trip. That's why, on occasion, the Department of Defense sends its officials to regional meetings.
Families are briefed on new forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA methodology, being used at the U.S. Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.
One Idahoan still holding out hope is 64-year-old Don Bradway of the North Idaho city of Hayden. Bradway was three-year-old when when his father, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Judson Bradway was shot down over North Korea in 1951. Don Bradway said he had reason to believe that North Korean villagers may have buried his father following the crash. Forensic experts told Bradway that the soil conditions likely would have preserved his father's bones.
It's estimated that there are more than 83,000 American servicemen missing in action from World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars.