Long after they died, military sees surge in identifications

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) - Decades after they died, the military is seeing a surge in identifications of U.S. service members who had been classified as missing in action.

The number of identifications is expected to reach 200 this year, more than triple what used to be the norm.

The increase by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is credited to increased funding and new techniques for tracking remains and identifying them. The soaring number of identifications followed years of complaints that the process was ineffective.

The increase has led to a surge of long-delayed memorial services and burials across the country as families and entire communities honor those killed.

Families in South Dakota have also had identifications of military servicemen recently, such as a South Dakota sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified and returned home earlier this spring.