Every year the nation pauses on the third Friday of September to remember the sacrifices and service of prisoners of war, members still missing in action and their families. This year, National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day falls on Sept. 19.
Nearly 1,500 airmen are still missing and unaccounted for from various conflicts. There are more than 83,000 Americans still unaccounted for across the Defense Department, according to the Air Force Personnel Center.
The remains of one missing airmen — Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William Bernier, missing since his B-24D Liberator was shot down over the Madang Province, New Guinea on April 10, 1944 — have now been identified. He will be buried Sept. 19 in his hometown of Augusta, Montana. Jenn Rowell of Great Falls Tribune, a sister publication, tells his story.