Relatives of missing servicemen gather in Waikiki in hopes of fi - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Relatives of missing servicemen gather in Waikiki in hopes of finding closure

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Air Force pilot Warren Anderson's plane went down somewhere near the coast of North Vietnam in 1965. His daughter Natalie Rauch, who was just 8 years old when that happened, said that since the military didn't know exactly where the plane went down, the recovery of his remains may be unlikely.

But the Fort Shafter resident isn't giving up yet. She and nearly 80 other Hawaii relatives of missing soldiers were in Waikiki Monday night, providing DNA samples and consulting with military case analysts about the latest recovery efforts.

"The best outcome for me is to know my dad is remembered. That there are people in the military that know the sacrifice that we made and that they are not going to forget him," said Rauch.

There are more than 150 servicemen from Hawaii still considered missing in action. For many of their relatives, participation in these government briefings brings them closer to closure.

Sharon Nakamura of Mililani said she hopes her DNA will help the military identify her uncle Harry Jerele's remains. 

Jerele died in the Philippines in 1942 during World War II and Nakamura believes that he was buried with three of his comrades, who have been identified.

"If it's not him, at least we'll know that. But we gotta take a look at that the final set of remains," Nakamura said.

The military conducts seven or eight of these family updates for relatives of MIAs around the country each year. This is the first time in several years that it has conducted an outreach program in Honolulu.

"We try and give them answers with these family member updates. It's important that the family members know that their government has not forgotten about them and more important their loved ones," said Jack Kull, Regional Policy Chief for Southeast Asia for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

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