Vietnam Veteran Works to Reunite Families with Their Fallen Heroes
Army veteran Johnie Webb, deputy of outreach and communications for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), has spent much of the last 30 years helping reunite families with their fallen heroes.
The DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing military personnel to their families and the nation.
A few years after serving in Vietnam, Webb was assigned to the Central Identification Laboratory and he was tasked with locating the remains of fellow servicemembers who never made it home.
Then, in 1985, Webb was chosen to lead the first recovery team into Vietnam to search for the remains of the victims of a B-52 bomber crash site near Hanoi.
Today, the DPAA teams work with the Vietnamese government as they search for roughly 1,600 Americans missing from that war.
The agency’s mission has expanded to include recovery efforts from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and other conflicts.
Now 72 years old, Webb’s main role is to keep families and veterans service organizations up to date on DPAA’s efforts.
This is important since a site can take months or even years to excavate, and if the tedious process should reveal human remains, it can take even longer to identify them.
On June 12, 2018, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recommitted to recovering and immediately repatriating the remains of prisoners of war and soldiers declared missing in action during the Korean War as part of a denuclearization agreement signed in Singapore.
In a statement signed by both leaders, the countries agreed to the recovery of the remains and the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Nearly 7,800 American troops remain unaccounted for from the 1950-53 war in the Korean Peninsula. About 5,300 were lost in North Korea.