SPECIAL MESSAGE TO FAMILY MEMBERS OF MISSING AMERICAN SERVICE MEMBERS FROM THE RESEARCHERS and INVESTIGATORS OF THE CHIEF RICK STONE AND FAMILY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
The dysfunctional management and leadership disaster at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) continues with no end in sight and a seeming inability to correct long identified problems by multiple media and government investigations. Efforts by those in command to “slow roll” family members of our lost heroes by refusing to provide information from their files continues and has even reached new heights under DPAA. Basic information that could either bring closure or provide for the possibility that their loved ones might ultimately be found, identified, and returned home for burial is simply not shared with families or those investigating their cases.
The response by the command at JPAC was always “We don’t want to give them false hope.” Our Foundation’s founder’s retort was always the same, “How about we tell the families the truth and let them decide if there is hope, false or otherwise?” To that query, there was never an answer…only more dysfunction, retaliation, slow rolling, and frustration. The management mantra of “Delay, Deny, and Wait for the Families to Die” continues in full bloom and has now fully infected the replacement agency at DPAA simply because many of those who developed that policy were not removed and remain in functional control. Some who were dismissed when JPAC was disbanded, including the Director, were re-hired!!! Disgraceful!
This has not stopped our Foundation from helping family members obtain truthful information about their missing service member. We play JPAC/DPAA’s idiotic “Freedom of Information” (FOIA) game and file the paperwork as demanded by the Department of Defense. The overworked Department of Defense FOIA clerks then requests the files from DPAA. DPAA ignores the Department of Defense FOIA Office who responds to our requests by telling us that the files are the property of DPAA and neither the National Archives nor the Department of Defense has them to release. Catch 22! Disgraceful!
To get the necessary research documents to aid families, we continue to file federal lawsuits to force JPAC/DPAA to produce the files. After a year of so of legal wrangling through the Federal District Court on each suit filed, JPAC/DPAA has been ordered to produce the documents and taxpayer dollars are squandered for the costs of the senseless litigation. Disgraceful!
A backlog of dozens of Foundation FOIA requests currently exists and exactly two requests have been acted upon by DPAA in the past ten years that did not require a lawsuit. Another long and expensive Federal lawsuit against DPAA is pending based on DPAA’s pattern of knowingly and willfully violating Federal law with impunity.
The Foundation’s persistence in the task to help families includes expensive journeys to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to copy paper records that could easily be provided electronically by DPAA. But DPAA’s refusal to release 70 year old records for historical research makes a long trip and a physical search through paper files the only way to obtain documents when the same files are available to DPAA personnel on-line. Disgraceful!
In April 2015, the Secretary of Defense announced a “new” policy regarding disinterring and identifying over 8,000 “unknowns” buried in American military cemeteries worldwide. The policy change was accompanied by a much ballyhooed press release to the media. When the Foundation requested a copy of the new policy from DPAA, we were told that we needed to make a formal legal request for the information through the “Freedom of Information Act” or FOIA. Our researchers filed the FOIA paperwork on April 18, 2015. DPAA finally provided the policy on October 7, 2016…A YEAR AND A HALF AFTER it was given to the media! So much for the spirit of cooperation and ”transparency” pledged by the “new” DPAA agency head before he quit in less than a year. Guess he found out that the JPAC leftovers remain in control at DPAA. Disgraceful!
At the same time the policy was requested, Foundation researchers requested the case files on nine sets of remains of missing American service men who were sitting on the shelves in DPAA Laboratory. A YEAR AND A HALF AFTER the request, DPAA responded that they had “no records pertaining” to the cases. What makes this response so unbelievably incredible is that Chief Stone physically handled many of these case files and actually placed investigative reports in these files while at JPAC/DPAA! Disgraceful!
Despite all of the dysfunction at JPAC/DPAA and all the roadblocks set up to deter our efforts, to date we have completed over 415 comprehensive “Family Reports” for those who continue to await the recovery, identification, and return of a lost service member. Often our customized “Family Reports” exceed 80 pages in length and include photographs, maps, and other materials from government files that we have obtained through our efforts to aid families.
If you are a family member of one of these “Lost Heroes” please contact our Foundation at the link above as soon as possible so that we may send you a customized “Family Report” with a great deal of information about your family member.
There is ABSOLUTELY NO CHARGE for our services.
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