JPED Honored at DAFB for Work Following 9/11 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

JPED Honored at DAFB for Work Following 9/11

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The wings and pin found in a case at JPED facility. The wings and pin found in a case at JPED facility.
DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Little items can have big meanings. The work of the Joint Personal Effects Depot was honored Monday at Dover Air Force Base.

JPED started in the wake of 9/11. Its team handled the personal effects of those killed when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. And its operations are currently located at DAFB.

In the aftermath of September 11, the men and women of JPED processed many, many items. But it was two very small items that were a big focus of today's ceremony - a pin and a pair of american airlines flight attendant wings.

It was in a case at the JPED facility, among cell phones, watches and other items recovered and processed through JPED after 9/11, that Joan Cote, Center Director for USO Delaware, spotted the pin and wings.

It took a year and a half to get them back to American. It was work that included getting permission from the Pentagon to release the items.

"It was a great pleasure when they called us and let us know that the Department of Defense was going to release these items back to American Airlines," Cote said.

Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, says there's no way to know who exactly the wings belonged to. But she says it doesn't necessarily matter.

"We're just happy they were returned to us. We all wear those wings and wear that pin. For us it was one of our family. We're just so happy to have them return to us."

The items are now on display at American Airlines company museum in Dallas.

Lading and others from the APFA were in Dover Monday to help honor Nelson Delgado and Sgt. Elmer Feliciano for their work with JPED. The men say they are just part of a team tasked with the solemn duty of handling the belongings of the deceased.

"It's a team effort, not just one working. It's team JPED. What we do is with a lot of dignity, honor and respect try to bring some closure to the families," said Sgt. Feliciano.

Even though the Department of Defense started JPED to handle items from 9/11, its mission did expand from there. As America started fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, JPED became responsible for processing the personal effects of service members killed overseas.

JPED has called DAFB home for three years. It started at Fort Myer outside Washington, DC.

Dover is an appropriate place for JPED. Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations is located on the base. It handles the remains of fallen service members returning the US. That process includes dignified transfer.

The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System is also located at DAFB.
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