DNA in the Trenches: How Missing Soldiers Get ID’d Decades After Their Deaths

Cracked Science

Did you know that over 73,000 American soldiers who fought during World War II are still missing in action1? These are Armed Forces personnel who were sent by their government to fight a war but who never came back. They became prisoners of war (POWs) or were listed as missing in action (MIA). 1,643 U.S. soldiers sent to fight the Vietnam War are still unaccounted for; for the Korean War, that number goes up to 7,903. While these figures may seem unreasonably high for someone unfamiliar with armed conflicts, here’s an even more unreasonable number: 50 million U.S. dollars.

This is the operating budget of JPAC, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which is tasked with bringing these soldiers home2. This article will not be a tirade against the substantial funds that are used to bring back bits of bone and cracked dog tags to family…

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