PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Family members gathered in Pittsburgh over the weekend, hoping for answers.
They are searching for information about their loved ones, who never made it home from war.
For many, the wait has been agonizing.
“There’s part of me that’s still waiting for the phone to ring to say, ‘Mrs. Blastos, we have a DNA match,’” Joan Blastos said.
Blastos has been hoping and praying for news about her brother for nearly 50 years.
He was serving overseas in Vietnam.
“He was lost from the Ticonderoga, near Hai Phong. As far as we know, we’ve worked since April of ‘67 to try and figure out what happened to him,” Blastos said.
About 200 people from a 300-mile radius around Pittsburgh attended the meeting, which was held by the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office.
Family members were briefed on what the government is doing to bring their loved ones home.
“The hope is to account for all of service members missing from these past conflicts, not just one, but all of them,” Sgt 1st Class Shelia Sledge said.
Officials with the Department of Defense typically travel to eight cities a year to talk with families.
Pennsylvania has been a big focus and here’s why.
According to leaders at the meeting:
- For the Vietnam War, there are 90 unaccounted for service members for the state of Pennsylvania.
- For the Korean War, that number is 574.
- A total of 15 are unaccounted for, dating back to the Cold War.
There is no break down, per state, for World War II.
“It’s very important. They lost a loved one and it’s our job to recover those remains and bring those loved ones home,” Sledge said.
“All of the other people who are here, they know, they understand and it’s a nice kind of feeling to know that they are working just like you,” Blastos said.
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