STATEHOUSE—State Representative Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville), co-authored a resolution that urges the Indiana General Assembly to fly the POW/MIA flag in both the House and Senate chambers. The resolution passed unanimously in the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The black and white POW/MIA flag is a symbol of efforts to fully resolve the fates of Americans held prisoner or missing in action. The design features a silhouette of a soldier before an implied prison camp and the words “You are not forgotten” underneath.
“There are too many soldiers who fought for our rights and freedoms that are still missing,” said Rep. Gutwein. “For the job that they do to protect us, one missing person is too many.”
In 1990, the flag was nationally recognized by Congress to end the uncertainty for their families and the country. Originally, the focus was to focus support for wars in Southeast Asia, but the support continues today to represent the concerns for American prisoners or those missing in action in all wars.
“The families of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice deserve closure,” Rep. Gutwein said. “We can’t give up on these folks.”
On Monday, Rep. Gutwein recalled the story of Chief Warrant Officer George Andrews (Andy) Howes, a helicopter pilot from Starke County stationed in South Vietnam in 1970. After a mission over mountainous terrain and dense jungles, Howes and the other personnel on board did not return. Throughout the years, Vietnamese sources reported seeing Howes as a captive on at least two instances, but his remains were never found.
“Howes’ family now has the opportunity to lay him to rest,” said Rep. Gutwein. “We, as a state and as a country, support nothing more than bringing our heroes home. Welcome home, Andy.”
With the advancements of technology, Howes’ partial remains were identified by DNA samples taken from his siblings.
According to the Department of Defense, there are currently more than 83,000 military personnel unaccounted for from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War and Gulf War.