Washington, D.C.–U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) re-introduced the Bring Our Heroes Home Act (BOHHA), which would eliminate obstacles preventing families and caseworkers from accessing the records needed for recovering America’s prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA). According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, more than 81,500 Americans–including 360 Idahoans–remain unaccounted for from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other conflicts.
“This commonsense legislation tells every family and survivor that their loved ones are not forgotten,” said Crapo. “America’s servicemembers, past and present, have shown incredible sacrifice and dedication to defending our freedom. We owe it to our nation’s heroes and their families to cut the bureaucratic red tape and continue the effort to identify and recover those who have not yet made it home.”
“Families of service members who have been prisoners of war or missing in action bear an incredible emotional and psychological burden directly related to their loved ones’ service to our nation. Far too many families have to wait years, sometimes even decades, for information about their lost loved ones to emerge,” said Shaheen. “That’s why I’m reintroducing the bipartisan Bring Our Heroes Home Act to ensure that the records of service members are properly collected, declassified when appropriate, and made public, helping honor their legacy and heal their families. I’ll continue working to pass this vital legislation to bring our heroes home.”
The Senate bill, which has six bipartisan co-sponsors, would consolidate all records related to missing personnel within a newly instituted Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and require all government agencies to transmit any missing servicemember records to NARA. The measure would also establish an independent government office, the Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Review Board, to identify missing personnel records, facilitate the transmission and disclosure of these records, and review any decisions by federal agencies to postpone declassification.
Co-sponsors include Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois).
Senators Crapo and Shaheen previously co-sponsored the legislation in the 116th Congress and have long supported various efforts to identify and recover all missing and unaccounted for American military personnel.