A team of volunteers, trained specialists, and professionals, each with essential expertise (history, aviation, diving, navigation), who are dedicated to locating and assisting with identifying American prisoners of war (POW) and missing in action (MIA) from World War II and other conflicts around the world. This effort is done through research, searches, recoveries, and other methodologies while coordinating with appropriate national authorities.
To repatriate every American service member who has not come home through research, searches, recoveries and other methodologies. To provide information and closure to the families of these service members. To provide a platform to educate all on the importance of service to one’s country. To provide unique educational opportunities in the arenas of science, history, leadership, and diplomacy to a select and committed student audience in conjunction with our missions in order to provide a real world application to the students and further educate the public.
Each team member, and the team as a whole, have individual and joint responsibilities in ensuring safety, both in planning and in execution of each and every mission. No team member will knowingly expose other team members to harm. Each team member has the ability to suspend an operation for any perceived safety issue.
We understand that leadership within the team is essential, and the need constant. We strive to promote leadership as part of the search experience for all team members. We encourage everyone to step up and take charge of what they are responsible for.
For the POW/MIAs and their families. For each other. For the cultures with whom we interact. Respect encompasses all aspects of our project, including such things as privacy, property, need for information, differences in outlook, and differences in backgrounds, laws and traditions. We are bound by this respect to avoid belligerent confrontation. We are especially respectful of the privilege of working in other countries.
Our affect is determined by our understanding that Americans have died in defense of us and our families – without ever having known us. We know we can learn from all around us. Our focus is our POW/MIAs and their families – not ourselves nor the general public. We orient pride, including self-pride, toward our team and our joint accomplishments. We view arrogance as a shallow shield hiding ignorance.
We value integrity, which is the integration of honesty with reality. Integrity of each individual and the team as a whole is fundamental to our success. We recognize and correct our mistakes expeditiously, privately and publicly, starting from within the team and extending as needed to those affected.
We understand that individuals, families and others can and will be affected by our actions and we have a commitment to anticipating, as much in advance as practical, the ramifications of our efforts. Team members accept the responsibility to visualize the second and third order effects of their actions, and the team’s actions all the way to the national and world level.
Rigor, Diligence and Perseverance
These overlapping values create a team obligation and approach to investigate, study, search and prepare for and follow through with each mission using all practical venues so that our search can be productive. We either accept each mission fully or not at all. We owe this to the POW/MIAs and their families, to the individuals, agencies and governments we work with and to ourselves. In doing so, we understand that such values also define practical boundaries hindering potential success. This leads to a constant re-evaluation of our approaches, methodologies and techniques, while having a never-ending thirst for knowledge and success.
Innovation and Resourcefulness
We are resourceful in maximizing use of technologies, records, personal recollections, selection of future team members and whatever else is needed to accomplish our mission. We do not let individual or collective experience hinder future solutions. We value thinking ‘outside the box’.
Through our thirst for knowledge, we seek to learn from others’ experiences, knowledge, and talents. We embrace and utilize education for sharing our efforts, methods and accomplishments with others.
Sharing of Information
We commit to timely sharing of information and discoveries within our organization, with families, agencies and others. We recognize that we have need to be both transparent and confidential in that sharing: transparent with ourselves and as appropriate, with agencies, families and others – confidential in holding information closely as appropriate.
Trustworthy and Trusting
Once accepted, each team member is deemed worthy of team trust in accepting and carrying out our mission. Because of this, differences between or among team members can and must be brought forward and expeditiously dealt with.
Joy and Fun
Our mission is somber, for which we are respectful. Nonetheless, these separate but overlapping values provide continuity and humanity to our efforts. If we cannot smile at what we are doing, we are not doing what we should.
Each team member is selected as, and considered to be, a valuable asset in the quest for finding POW/MIAs. Each team member is encouraged to participate in any and all aspects of any mission: from archival research to crawling in the mangroves. Each mission will have assigned tasks that will be distributed among all team members based on experience, skill set and desires.
We understand that our mission is both focused and flexible. We jointly accept that we go where our results may take us and we determine the size, expertise, scope and all other factors based upon the direction we decide to pursue. Such direction determines in turn the size and scope of our individual and overall missions. Semper Gumby!