Puerto Rico Native Searches for Missing Service Members

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2) Jose A. Colon Feliciano, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, has a very special job with the U.S. Army. He is the leader of the Research Investigation Team (RIT) at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The DPAA is a division of the military that specializes in finding and identifying American service men and women from historic battlefields, back to World War II.

The infographic below shows their mission and process.

Colon Feliciano, a graduate of Colegio San Coronado and Universidad Catolica in Ponce, leads teams of investigators in Vietnam, visiting that country approximately once very two months. “My job is important because we are providing the families of thousands who are still missing from this war with the closure that we’re doing everything we can to find their loved one,” Colon told an Army interviewer.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducts excavations all over the areas involved in past battles, seeking the remains of soldiers who lost their lives there. They work with eye witnesses from the events, and use sophisticated forensic techniques to identify the individuals they find.

Once individuals have been identified, the agency contacts the soldiers’ family and helps make burial possible.

Colon will retire next year, after 20 years of faithful service in the U.S. Army. He is part of Puerto Rico’s long and proud tradition of service in the military.

“For the 1,589 who are still missing from the war,” the agency’s website says, “DPAA works to fulfill the sacred promise made to them and their families by finding, identifying, and returning their remains.”

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