MIA Facts Site

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Accounting: There are three ways in which missing personnel can be accounted for:
(1) Return alive
(2) Return identifiable remains
(3) Evidence why the first two are not possible.

Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Maryland supports
the CILHI in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

The Armed Forces Identification Review Board is a three-person board
convened to scrutinize CILHI identifications. It consists of one member
from the Army, Navy (or Marine Corps), and Air Force. This board is the
final approval authority for an identification recommendation.  Board members normally are O-6 (Colonel/Captain) and are chosen to have similar background of service to the individual whose remains are proposed for identification.  That is, if the remains under review are of a fighter pilot, fighter pilots would make up the board to the maximum extent possible.

Archival Research Team consists of members of the Joint Task Force - Full Accounting (JTF-FA) who conduct searches of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao archives.

Computer Assisted Post Mortem Identification is a Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii (CILHI) computerized list of ante-mortem (before death) dental records of all American servicemen unaccounted for from the war in Southeast Asia. By cross-referencing this data with the remains dental information, CAPMI generates a list of likely candidates.

Central Documentation Office is tasked with declassification of DoD
documents relating to Southeast Asia Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel. In
1993, CDO and its mission were incorporated into the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office (DPMO).

Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii is located at Hickam Air Force
Base in Hawaii, this United States Army organization is responsible for
conducting search and recovery operations worldwide for unaccounted-for
American servicemen from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and
the Vietnam War. CILHI also performs all forensic identifications of
remains.  Read this article for an overview of the identification process.

Commander-in-Chief Pacific is located at Camp H. H. Smith, Hawaii; the
CINCPAC is the operational commander of all military forces in the Pacific
region.  JTF-FA is under the control of CINCPAC.  The correct title is USCINCPAC (U. S. Commander-in-chief, Pacific)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Deoxyribonucleic Acid is a molecular material found in cells containing
the genetic "blueprints" of life. There are two kinds of DNA in cells,
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and chromosomal DNA found in the nucleus.  MtDNA comprises the walls of the cells and lasts long after death; it is used in identifying remains without flesh.  Chromosomal DNA dissipates after death.

Department of Defense.

Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office was established in 1993
and is located in Crystal City, Virginia.

Defense Science Board consists of a group of individuals outside of DoD,
recognized as experts in a particular field, asked to address scientific
or technological issues faced by the DoD.

Joint Casualty Resolution Center was formed in January 1973 to resolve the
fates of the unaccounted-for American servicemen from the war in Southeast
Asia. The JCRC was replaced by the JTF-FA in 1992.  Go to this link for a view of the work of the JCRC and now the JTF-FA.

Joint Chiefs of Staff is a collective body of chiefs of the four military
services headed by a chairman who serves to advise the President, National
Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. The Chairman, Joint
Chiefs of Staff is the principal military advisor to the President.

Joint Commission Support Directorate is a directorate within the DPMO
responsible for assisting the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission.

Joint Field Activity is a planned field operation staffed by two or more
US military services. These operations may include other nation's
services and include such activities as the investigation and surveys of
suspected grave or crash sites, subsequent excavation of the grave or
crashsite and the interviewing of witnesses.  Go to this URL; it is maintained by an individual who is assigned to the JTF-FA.  He describes their work.

Joint Task Force-Full Accounting is located at Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii,
with detachments in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, the JTF-FA is the successor
of the JCRC and is the DoD agency responsible for conducting field
operations to account for Americans from the war in Southeast Asia.  Same link here as in the above paragraph.

Last Known Alive are cases in which United States has information that the
individual survived the loss incident and fell into enemy hands. In the
case of the air incidents, this includes cases in which the crewmembers
are believed to have successfully exited their aircraft and to have been
alive on the ground. In the case of ground incidents, this includes cases
in which the individuals were last known alive, were not gravely wounded,
and were in proximity to enemy forces.

Lao Peoples' Democratic Republic

Life Science Equipment Laboratory is located at Kelly Air Force Base in
San Antonio, Texas.  Responsible for designing equipment used in military life support systems -- ejection systems, survival gear, and the like.  They are valuable members of search teams because they are able to recognize parts of crew equipment.   That is, is, from excavating the wreckage, it is clear that a man did not eject, we can conclude that he died in the crash.

Live Sighting Investigation is an investigation conducted by members of
Stony Beach, assisted by JTF-FA, based on reports of eyewitness accounts
of live American POWs in southeast Asia.

Off the Scope:
A term used to refer to aircraft losses in Southeast Asia where the aircraft loss location is unknown. A team of DPMO analysts has been assigned to
specifically research these difficult cases.

Oral History Program is a program to interview individuals in Vietnam,
Laos, and Cambodia to expand the general knowledge of the handling and
disposition of Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel.

Priority Case Investigation Teams are JTF-FA teams created to specifically
investigate the Vietnam Priority Discrepancy Cases. The PCIT was not
linked to planned JFAs giving them greater flexibility in tracking leads
and interviewing witnesses. In 1995, PCIT was integrated into the RIT.

The Polymerase Chain Reaction was discovered in 1985 and has
revolutionized DNA typing methods used in forensic casework. PCR is like
a biological photocopy machine. The DNA (genetic code) in each cell is 3
billion letters long. MtDNA analysis looks at approximately 600 of these
letters. However, number of copies of the 600 letter-long "sequence" is
too low to analyze when extracted from the skeletal remains. Therefore,
the sequence of letters is replicated, or "photocopied." The original
600-letter sequence is placed in the photocopy machine making two copies
total. The two copies are then placed back in the photocopy machine and
now four copies are available. After 38 rounds of replication or
"photocopying," there will be more than 1 million copies of the 600-letter
sequence available for analysis.

Peoples' Republic of China

Personnel Missing in Southeast Asia is a DPMO database containing basic
information on US and selected foreign personnel who were captured and returned, whose remains have been recovered, who died in captivity, and who remain unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia.  The current PMSEA contains over 3,700 names but only 2,079 (as of Sep. 22, 1998) men are listed as missing.  This fact has lead several MIA mythmakers to conclude that the DoD is "hiding" over 1,700 missing men.   In fact, the discrepancy is caused by the fact that PMSEA includes returnees, civilians, foreigners who were arrested or captured, and men whose remains have been recovered and identified.

Prisoner of War/Missing in Action.  This commonly-used term really means nothing.  An individual who is not present and whose fate and whereabouts are unknown is missing.  One who is know to have been captured, or known to be in captivity, is a POW.

Research and Investigation Team is a JTF-FA Hanoi based team that focuses
on four areas:
(1) Priority Discrepancy Cases
(2) Special Remains Cases
(3) Archival Research
(4) Oral History Interviews.

The RIT travels extensively throughout Vietnam pursuing leads to specific
cases, investigating general information, and, in some cases, conducting
limited excavation of alleged loss locations.

Search and Rescue is a generic time for forces (aircraft, ships, and
supporting troops) or for operations that attempt to locate and rescue personnel.

Secretary of Defense

Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the communist state formed in 1975 by the
forced takeover of South Vietnam by North Vietnam.  Before 1975, the correct name for what we referred to as North Vietnam was the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV).   South Vietnam was the Republic of Vietnam (RVN)

A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) team based in Bangkok, Thailand,
responsible for conducting Live Sighting Investigations in Southeast Asia.

USRJC: United States-Russia Joint Commission on Prisoners of War/Missing
In Action.