Woman Honors Vietnam Vet Missing In Action Since 1967 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Woman Honors Vietnam Vet Missing In Action Since 1967


MILFORD, Del. - Shannan Wilcutts is among countless individuals across the nation celebrating National POW-MIA Recognition Day.  It's a day held on the third Friday of September.

Wilcutts is honoring Lt. Col. James McGarvey of the U.S. Marine Corps.

"He was a pilot in a fixed wing aircraft and was shot down over north Vietnam and they never found any remains," said Wilcutts from Harrington.

McGarvey has been missing in action since April 17,1967. Wilcutts wears a silver bracelet with his name and the date he went missing to honor him.

She says while she can't remember where she got the original bracelet from 40 years ago, she did get a replacement from the website herobracelets.org.

"I did not choose him. That's the bracelet that was sent to me," said Wilcutts.

Not only has she worn the bracelet for years, but after extensive research, she found the missing man's sister and was able to talk to her on the phone.

"I found out where he was from and contacted their VFW. They in turn contacted a family member of his which was his sister and gave her my name and address and phone number and we've been corresponding over the last several years. We both were crying and talking and she was telling me all about her brother. She did send me information on him and a picture of him. She keeps me updated if there's any new investigations," said Wilcutts.

According the Department of Defense, more than 83,000 are missing from past conflicts. More than 1,700 veterans are listed as missing or unaccounted from the Vietnam war. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841.

About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam's wartime control, according to the National League of Families.

In 1979, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the observance of POW-MIA Recognition Day.

Airmen at Dover Air Force Base in Dover also commemorated the day.

Groups of airmen participated in a 24-hour running vigil holding the American and MIA flag.

"We only get to recognize them once a year, but in our hearts they are with us all the time. We have a 24 hour running vigil to let them know that they will never be forgotten," said Airmen Lori Tascione, loadmaster with DAFB and organizer of this year's POW-MIA event on base.

Tascione says she hopes America will take a moment to honor POWs and MIAs.

"I hope people will remember those who can't be with us today. The ones who don't get to have a weekend. The one's whose families hearts will always go out wondering where their family members are at for the MIAs. For the POWs that got to come home, knowing what they've done for us, I want them to know we respect and appreciate them," said Tascione.

Wilcutts says she will continue to wear her bracelet until Lt. Col. James McGarvey is found.

"He was originally from Indiana and his sister now lives in Florida. The last I heard, his family is still around near the marine corps base in Virginia," said Wilcutts.

Wilcutts says she hopes she will get to meet his sister one day face-to-face.

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