Until They Are Home: Army Sgt. Major Danang McKay

U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Danang McKay is the Command Senior Enlisted Leader at Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.

I’m constantly reminded of why we continue America’s search for our missing heroes; at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command we deploy between 60 and 70 teams a year to search for, recover and identify these heroes. On this day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we pay tribute to those men and women who, above all, demonstrated the highest degree of duty, honor, selfless service and personal courage. But it is every day we learn from their example and benefit from their sacrifices.

As the son of a Vietnam War veteran – I was named after the city of Da Nang in Vietnam – I have learned what the solemn promise between Service Members truly means, especially one made in combat, and also as a member of JPAC I have seen the endless depths of our nation’s commitment to these brave individuals.

They made America the greatest country in the world, and today we gather to pay tribute to them. National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the distinctive, black-and-white National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which bears the inscription, “You Are Not Forgotten.” And they are not. Day in and day out, when I travel and talk to people throughout the world about what JPAC does, resoundingly the mission is greeted with awe and support.

I’ve been asked “Why do we continue to search?” Our mission of accounting for the missing is the embodiment of this nation’s commitment to those it sends into harm’s way. We are keeping that promise to every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine, and to their families, that should they fall in battle while serving their nation, the United States will make every effort to return them to their families.

We take very seriously our obligation to keep the families and the American public fully informed about our sacred mission. Our mission stems from a solemn promise that the U.S. Government made to those who fought for our freedom and still holds today: that he or she will not be forgotten. Every American who gave their life in defense of our nation is entitled to that certainty, and it’s for that reason that we, as a nation, remain committed to recovering, identifying, and honoring our missing. Although these answers come decades after an American went missing, we strive to ultimately provide families with information about their loved ones’ service and sacrifice.

I’m especially proud to not only serve my nation today, but to also represent the men and women of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. It would be an understatement to say that serving JPAC is incredibly humbling, and I personally believe there’s no greater privilege than to honor our fallen and their sacrifice.  Above all, the men and women under my command believe in duty, honor, respect, selfless service, and personal courage. Too many families continue to grieve for their missing loved ones; it’s our duty to now serve those families in their quest for answers.

Thank you, on behalf of the men and women at JPAC, for continuing to remember the sacrifice made by so many before us.

Until They Are Home!