Fallen, but not forgotten


In 2015, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) was formed with the goal of providing a full accounting of U.S. men and women missing from past military conflicts.
It’s estimated more than 82,000 U.S. service members who died in war remain unaccounted for and the agency is working to bring them home.
The agency, comprised of more than 600 civilian and military personnel representing all branches of service, works with U.S. and foreign specialists to research, investigate, recover and identify the remains of unannounced-for American service members.
An overview of the agency’s work will be presented by retired U.S. Army Colonel Ward Nickisch, during an Armed Services Day program sponsored by the Coal City Public Library District, St. Juvin Post 1336 Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Unit 1 School District.
Nickisch served as the deputy adjutant general of the Army. His last assignment was director of casualty and memorial affairs. In that position he supervised the Army’s Central Identification Laboratory.
The lab conducted the search, recovery, identification and repatriation of soldiers of all military branches whose bodies were never recovered. The unit he led was reorganized into the DPAA.
Nickisch has participated in recovery missions in Vietnam and was a member of the U.S. delegation to first have talks with North Korea that resulted in recovery operations there.
Nickisch will be in Coal City on Saturday, May 18 to share his knowledge of the continuing recovery effort in a program titled, “Fallen, But Not Forgotten.”
The program will provide an overview of Nickisch’s work and the ongoing effort to bring American soldiers home.
He will provide information on the processes used to identify the recovered remains and return them to surviving family members.
Nickisch is also involved in various veterans affairs groups at the local, state and national level. He serves on the board of the David Westphall Veterans Foundation in support of the first Vietnam Veterans National Memorial in New Mexico and he co-chairs the Gold Star Mothers National Monument Foundation. He has been designated as a distinguished member of the Adjutant General’s Corp Regiment by the Secretary of the Army and is a member of the U.S. Army Adjutant General’s Corps Hall of Fame.
The community is encouraged to attend the program that will also include comments from Charles Brown, commander of St. Juvin Post 1336 Veterans of Foreign Wars and Coal City Unit 1 School District Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg.
The program begins at 1 p.m. in the Coal City Performing Arts Center, 655 W. Division St., Coal City. There is no cost to attend and refreshments will be served afterwards.