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AFMES, DPAA shares missions with service members, families

Todd Livick, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Outreach and Communications director, speaks to U.S. Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructors about the DPAA mission at the U.S. Army S.E.R.E. school, Fort Rucker, Alabama. The DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System provided information on their respective missions and held question and answer session with the Soldiers to provide a better understanding about the two agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm) Todd Livick, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Outreach and Communications director, speaks to U.S. Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructors about the DPAA mission at the U.S. Army S.E.R.E. school, Fort Rucker, Alabama. The DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System provided information on their respective missions and held question and answer session with the Soldiers to provide a better understanding about the two agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency provided local outreach to communities in Alabama January 24-26, 2019.

“These outreach opportunities are important for us to educate the community and service members about the DPAA and AFMES missions,” said Todd Livick, DPAA Outreach and Communications director. “We are also able to provide information to those who may be able to help us locate missing Department of Defense personnel.”

Both agencies provided information on their respective missions and held  question and answer sessions with the 42nd Medical Group and 42nd Force Support Squadron, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. and the Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school, Fort Rucker, Ala.

“This helped make us more aware of the agency and learning how it happens,” said Army Maj. Glenn Anderson, Army S.E.R.E school detachment commander. “It’s showing that we will always come and get you; we will always come and find you.”

Dr. Tim McMahon (left), Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Department of Defense DNA Operations director, talks with Dorothy Britt, about family reference sample to see if she is eligible to donate DNA during a family member update in Birmingham, Alabama. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducts periodic and annual government briefings for families of service members who are missing in action. These events are designed to keep family members informed of those still missing and to discuss in detail the latest information available about their specific case. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)
Dr. Tim McMahon (left), Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Department of Defense DNA Operations director, talks with Dorothy Britt, about family reference sample to see if she is eligible to donate DNA during a family member update in Birmingham, Alabama. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducts periodic and annual government briefings for families of service members who are missing in action. These events are designed to keep family members informed of those still missing and to discuss in detail the latest information available about their specific case. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Anderson added that overall, it was a great development for the cadre in the school, which will be passed along to students with new updates to the curriculum to add information about the DPAA and AFMES.

“We will fully transition to the Defense Health Agency in October,” said Air Force Col. Jeanette Frantal, 42nd MDG commander. “As we will be new members of DHA, it was fascinating to see the mission of not just our counterpart, but how both AFMES and the DPAA strive for accountability for all our military personnel.”

The DPAA and AFMES concluded their outreach with a family member update.

The DPAA conducts periodic and annual government briefings for families of service members who are missing in action. These events are designed to keep family members informed of those still missing and to discuss in detail the latest information available about their specific case.

More than 225 families attended the Birmingham family member update, with nearly 50 percent being first time attendees.

This was the second family member update for Jason Murphree, who is hoping to bring his great uncle, Army Pfc. Calvin Murphree, A Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, home after going missing in action during the fighting withdrawal from Kunu-ri, North Korea.

“These are very emotional events, being at these, seeing all the family members telling similar stories to what I grew up with,” said Jason. “I never met my uncle but I feel like I know him. I’ve heard all these stories and see his purple heart on the wall.”

Jason added that for families that have any interest in finding a loved one or supporting a family trying to find a loved one, they need to come.

“It’s such a benefit coming to one of these,” said Jason. “Hearing the open forum and hearing all these similar things and talking to families one-on-one, they’re all here for the same reason; to bring their loved one home.”

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