Teams to Search Cambodia for Vietnam War MIAs

From a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command News Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2011 - Two archeological teams from the U.S. Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command are scheduled to arrive in Cambodia soon to search for Americans unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, and physicians and nurses from military commands in Hawaii will accompany them to participate in a health engagement mission.

As part of the recovery portion of this dual-purpose deployment, more than 40 recovery team members will excavate a burial site and an underwater aircraft crash site in search of four missing Americans in Cambodia's Kampong Cham and Kracheh provinces.

The deployment, expected to last about 40 days, marks the command's 44th joint field activity in Cambodia, officials said.

Recovery teams search for human remains, life-support items and other material evidence that may further the identification of Americans missing from past conflicts.

In addition to recovery efforts, U.S. and Cambodian personnel will participate in a medical engagement outreach event, treating 4,000 to 8,000 people in rural and highly underserved communities, officials said. The specialized 12-member team of experts in various medical specialties will provide basic health assistance, laboratory services and optometry examinations.

The U.S. medical team members are from Tripler Army Medical Center, the 18th Medical Command and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. U.S. and Cambodian physicians will reinforce medical capabilities by participating in an information exchange, benefitting both countries educationally and socio-culturally, officials added.

"[Tripler] is sending physician residents from OB/GYN and family medicine to conduct expert exchanges with local physicians, and will be invited to work alongside the Khmer physicians and treat their patients," said Army Capt. Drew Webb, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command physician assistant.

This will be the first time a Tripler resident program has deployed to a foreign country on a humanitarian outreach mission, Webb added.

"The big takeaway for all of this is that the [Tripler] residents will get training and experience in such a unique environment," he said.

Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command is a jointly manned U.S. Pacific Command organization of more than 400 military and civilian specialists that has investigated and recovered missing Americans since the 1970s, officials said, noting that 1,702 Americans still are listed as missing in action from the Vietnam War.

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