WWII Families for the Return of the Missing (WWRM) is an advocacy organization whose sole mission is the recovery and return of fallen WWII service members to American soil.
WWRM was established after my own frustration of trying to find information on my uncle 2nd Lt. Joseph C. Rich. My Uncle Joe’s picture hung on the wall of my grandmother’s house with all of the other family photos. For years, any mention of him was avoided as the shadow of his loss loomed over our family. We all wondered about Uncle Joe but we were afraid to ask, knowing that his loss brought deep sorrow to our grandmother. It was not until her death in 1999 that we found letters and documents about him that made me want to understand what happened to him. I obtained copies of my uncles Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) and his Missing Air Crew Report (MACR). The MACR states at 03:24 GMT on May 17, 1946, aircraft C-47 # 43-48308 left Rangoon, Burma carrying the exhumed remains of 38 POW’s recovered from the Rangoon Prison Camp, eight American Graves Registration Service personnel, and the flight crew of the C-47. The flight never reached its destination of Barrackpore, India and was declared officially “missing” at 10:00 GMT. I then tracked down the families of the missing service members associated with this aircraft. At first the families did not know where to find information how to begin to look for information. Then it became increasingly difficult to get answers, obtain documents and to find resources to help us search for our missing. It became apparent that a WWII advocacy group was needed for WWII Families to help navigate through the complex world of POW/MIA recovery efforts within the United States government and WWRM was formed.
WWRM remains the only organization dedicated solely to the return of WWII missing. Our work includes providing archival research and documentation from both domestic and international sources to WWII families, working closely with the US agencies involved in POW/MIA affairs and, connecting families with the government agencies involved in their individual case and with the resources needed to find resolution on their missing loved one, and where necessary, advocating for change in the accountability of the POW/MIA community.
WWRM is currently assisting the Service Casualty Office in the creation of a DNA database, which will help to identify missing service members by linking their DNA with samples provided by their surviving family members. Our outreach efforts aim to develop relationships and partnerships with other non-governmental organizations and reunion groups, to ensure that “No One Left Behind” becomes more than just a slogan.