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Missing in action facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
United States POW-MIA flag
the POW/MIA flag for the Prisoners and Missing in Wars

Missing in action (MIA) refers to a soldier who is reported to have gone missing during active service. The soldier may have been killed, injured, captured or deserted. It is not known what happened to them. If they are dead, neither their body nor grave can be found or identified. Going missing in action has been a risk for people in armed forces for as long as there has been war.

World War II

According to the US Dept of Defense as of June 26, 2020:

  • MIAS-North America: 2,411
  • MIAS-South America: 645
  • MIAS-Europe: 20,933
  • MIAS-Middle East: 16
  • MIAS-Africa: 988
  • MIAS-Asia/Pacific: 47,187
  • Total of MIA US Servicemen/civilians: 72,590

According to official US Department of Army and Department of Navy casualty records, submitted to Congress in 1946 and updated in 1953, the combined possible total of missing service personnel worldwide is closer to approximately 6600 and probably considerably fewer. Since DPAA alone designates such WWII personnel as the crew of the USS Arizona and most of that of USS Oklahoma as both "missing" and "unaccounted-for" it is possible that DPAA records keeping may be somewhat idiosyncratic.

Korean War

US Department of Defense Loss concentrations maps estimation of US MIAS/POWS as being lost in North Korea in 1954 and in 2017.
Location 1954 2017
POW CAMPS 1,200-1,273 883-1,200
Unsan/Chongchan area 1,109-1,559 1,294-1,549
DMZ 89 1,000
UN Cemeteries 266 [233]
Chosin Reservoir area 523-1,002 598-1,079
Suan Camps 0 185
Totals 3,260-4,116 3,960-3,828

According to the US Dept of Defense as of June 26, 2020:Total of working number of MIA US Servicemen:7,581

Vietnam War

According to the US Dept of Defense as of June 26,2020:Total of MIA US Servicemen/Civilians: 1,587

Cold War

According to the US Dept of Defense as of June 26, 2020:

  • MIAS-Europe: 15
  • MIAS-Asia/Pacific: 111

Total of MIA Servicemen: 126

Others

According to the US Dept of Defense as of June 26,2020:

  • MIAS-Gulf Wars/Middle East: 5
  • MIAS-El Dorado Canyon/Africa: 1

Total of MIA Servicemen: 6

As of June 26,2020 Total US MIAS World War II to present: 81,890

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