Not having lost anyone in a war, but having some experience in dealing with the Government in MIA issues I hope you will not mind my commenting on this thread.
Mr. Davis:Ms Beard has posted on this Forum for several years and those of us who frequent it and other boards know of her ongoing research in unravelling the mystery of her brother's loss.And you are correct that she did not detail the internment as being at Jefferson Barracks.Some of us did , however.Ms Beard's effort in detailing evidence 60 years after the fact is a massive job.Getting the Government to review it and action it--if it comes to an exhumation is beyond massive.In many ways it would be the odds-on equivalent to winning the Lottery---twice.
Mickey:I hope you know that my interest in assisting people in their searches is real and that is evidenced by my frequent posting here; and you will recallmy practical application of that knowledge and research in moving the Government to action in at least one MIA case.So you know that my comments following are not personal--they are practical.
I do not gamble.I know that I will lose.The Vegas odds on getting the USG to do anything on any case still categorized MIAfrom WW2 is roughly 78000 to 1.That is the number of personnel still missing from that conflict.Getting them to review, reexamine, recant and rework a closed case increases the odds to well over 6-digits. And that doesn't include the active cases from more current conflicts.
The limited resources available to the Government to work current MIA/POW cases necessitates them prioritizing targets. They handle about 10 WW2 cases a year, plus all the other conflicts.Just taking the 78000 WW2 cases, and calling half of them land-based, you can see that they have sufficient work to keep them busy for the next 3,900 years.
That is simply a matter of fact.In order to overcome the numbers and better your odds you have to approach your task in a purely Forensic-Legal and unemotional manner.You have to overwhelm them with facts: substantiated, annotated, parsed and qualified ten ways to Sunday.You have to know more about the circumstances than they do.You have to become the authority that they rely on for information.And that information has to be IRON-CLAD and factually/forensically supported.No offense intended--but you can not be emotionally "attached" to an impartial review of the evidence or the manner in which it is interpreted. A person can not be Plaintif and Prosecutor and Jury at the same time.This often results in a knee-jerk reaction that can stop a review of the evidence in its tracks.You have to remember at all times that you are dealing with people who were born after the facts you are presenting--and in many cases they do not speak the same language--I mean the language of the WW2 time period.You have to reexplain history to them.Every single step of the way has to be explained in detail.And all of it has to be geared toward an impersonal and factually compelling endpoint.
You have to present your case for review in terms of a legal case.There must be a substantiated and compellingreason for the review.Obviously you have a great quantity of material that you have accumulated over the years.You have to have information on everybody that was involved in the loss.And all of that material has to be correlated to every other aspect of the evidence.Everybody's IDPF, witnesses, rescue and recovery personnel...the whole boat.You must prove/disprove your case (and their case) short of doing the actual exhumation yourself.You must do it impartially and without prejudice.
Not to blow my own bugle here, but I know what I'm talking about in this regard.I did pick up on an MIA case which fortunately I had an historical interest in, so my historical learning curve was not that radical.I acquired all the official paperwork on everybody involved; found a living relative of everybody envolved, including the sole living survivor.Established direct communication with people living at the loss site currently.Visited the site and conducted videotape interviews with witnesses.Including the transcripts of the tapes, I accumulated over 3000 pages of material on the loss, and then parsed every sentence--literally--and reduced the bulk of the material to an annotated 65-page report simply called "Narrative of Events".In doing this it gets all the facts in logical sequence so that they can be included or excluded from consideration. Example: Two contemporary reports of my MIA have him wounded and walking away from the crash. (Doesn't matter that he was four inches away from the impact point of ten tons ofaircraft.Someone made that statement and it is the one that has found its way into printed history.It is also the single "fact" that caused field investigators in 1947 and 1950 to look for the MIA "above ground".)I disproved that contention four ways, returning focus to the crash site.And if the evidence HAD pointed to his walking away, then that is where the search (and research) must follow, regardless of how I "think" it ought to go.
The point here is that I did NOT undertake this study to "get the Government to go back and look again".I undertook it to accumulate all the facts.In the writing of the summary report the train of logic,and more importantly the evidence, led to the substantiated conclusion that the MIA was either buried in an unmarked grave at an ABMC Cemetery, or still in the impact crater--or both.
The long and the short of it is that my summary of the facts, along with personal input from the MIA pilot'sdaughter, moved the Government to "consider" the case for reexamination.Our case was termed "Number 11" in their 10-case-a-year priority line-up.Not bad starting from a 78000:1 shot.
There was one element missing from the factual material and that was the IDPF of the last identified casualty of the subject aircraft.It simply did not exist.They didn't have it and it could not be found.Considering that this was going to be the linch pin on which action would turn, I invested another year in finding it.And I did.A 100- page IDPF that broadened the search yet again and incorporated losses from yet another aircraft. The point is that I did not take "no" for an answer, and when they postulated that this material would be critical, I went and found it.
They were amazed--and asked HOW I found it (and if they could have a copy).Well, they do things their way, and I have my own methods. Sometimes its a benefit to be able to work outside the box.Finding that item pushed the case into the 10 bracket, and they scheduled an on-site visit to determine "feasibility".That done--and several months later--they scheduled a field MISSION.A month or so after that and they were in the air on their way to the site.I went there (Belgium) myself and spent nearly three weeks on site, since it was all sort of unbelieveable, and I wasn't convinced they WERE there until I walked around the corner and SAW them doing the dig.
Results from the three-week mission are still pending.
So Mickey and Jack, I sincerely hope I have not offended either of you in this recitation of my own personal experience.Like it or not, the impersonal orientation to legal/forensic/historical facts in these cases is the element that moves these cases forward.It's not personal--it's business.It is the business of history, with the end product being the resolution of historical fact--pro or con.
Mickey, I look forward to the day your search is resolved, and am always ready to assist.Your brother deserves it. Mr. Davis, I thank you for your service and I remain ever mindful of what the sacrifices of your service, and that of your son, and Mickey's brother, have given me.