1,500 of the 82,000 MIA American service members hail from the state of Wisconsin: approximately 1,300 were lost during WWII, over 160 were lost in the Korean War, 26 are missing from the Vietnam War, and one service member is missing as the result of other Cold War-era operations.
As illustrated on the map below, Wisconsin’s MIA service members came from every corner within the state’s boundaries—rural, suburban, and urban alike.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF HOMETOWNS OF WISCONSIN’S MIA:
To understand the different types of cases the UW MIA RIP team studies, take a closer look at some of the stories of the Wisconsinite MIA:
The Janesville 99
In total, 64 servicemen perished as POWs of Japan. They died because of disease, malnourishment, neglect, and brutality, and were subsequently buried in mass graves. 15 of the men were taken onboard unmarked POW ships, and when the boats were mistaken by the Allies, they were torpedoed, and the men lost at sea.
Only 35 of the original Janesville 99 survived the War: 20 soldiers have yet to be recovered. For now, they are commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.
Battle of Buna
Papua New Guinea
In the end, dozens of Wisconsin soldiers went MIA in the confused fighting. As of yet, none have been recovered.
The USCGC Escanaba
Unfortunately, on June 13th, 1943, while traveling from Narsarsuaq, Greenland to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the USCGC Escanaba struck a mine and sank within 3 minutes. Of the 105 on board, only two survived and only a single body was recovered.
These instances define only a few specific cases, and many more Wisconsin MIA are missing across the globe.
Our goal is to bring them home.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF WORLDWIDE LOSS LOCATION OF WISCONSIN’S MIA: