The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is an agency within the United States Department of Defense. Their mission is to recover the remains of military personnel who are listed as prisoners of war or missing in action from past conflicts. We’ve added a new collection of indexed records for the estimated 82,000 American military and civilian personnel still missing in action. The index covers multiple conflicts including WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and more recent conflicts including Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The DPAA collection is divided into two groups. Group A, which consists of 38,000 missing service members whose remains are considered recoverable; and Group B consists of 44,000 missing service members whose remains are considered unrecoverable.
One of those listed in this DPAA index is 2Lt. Charles V. Safford. He served in the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, where his Battery suffered terrible losses in the Philippines. Of the 149 men enlisted in the battery, more than half were lost.
Safford was captured during the fall of Bataan in 1942 and sent to Davao Penal Colony, where he and other prisoners endured extreme abuse and deprivation. In September 1944, after more than two years as a POW, Safford and 750 other American POWs were loaded aboard the Japanese cargo-steamer Shinyo Maru, bound for Manila.
Allies intercepted messages and believed the Shinyo Maru was carrying enemy troops. On September 7, 1944, the USS Paddle fired upon the Shinyo Maru. The ship began to sink, and panicked prisoners scrambled to escape the flooding hold of the ship. Japanese guards fired upon those trying to escape. By the time it was over, only 82 POWs survived. Safford’s remains were never identified and his name is now included in the DPAA index.