NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – They are gone, but they are not forgotten. The third Friday of every September is designated as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The remains of nearly 82,000 Americans remain unaccounted for, the vast majority from World War II.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lists 1,399 Tennesseans as still unaccounted for from conflicts involving World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The agency’s website lists 60 service members whose remains have been identified.

The missing come from cities large and small. Among them are Donald Dycus of Davidson County and J.P. Atkinson of Centerville, both crewman aboard the USS Indianapolis, a cruiser sunk by a Japanese submarine in shark-infested waters in 1945.

Hershel Tate of Grundy County and James Harold Lynch both served in the Army during the Korean War. Both were taken prisoner during separate battles, and both died while captive. According to the POW/MIA Accounting Agency website, neither soldier’s remains have been repatriated nor identified.

Joe Lynn Delong and Larry William Cotten, from McMinnville and Nashville respectively, disappeared during the Vietnam War. Delong was taken prisoner after a firefight in 1967, and it is believed he was killed while trying to escape. Cotten vanished after his F-4 Phantom was shot down on while on a mission over Laos in 1970.

  • Larry-William-Cotten
  • Joe-Lynn-Delong
  • Hershel-Tate
  • James-Harold-Lynch
  • Donald Dycus
  • JP-Atkinson

In most cases, each missing service member has been declared dead, but the search for their remains and the efforts to use forensic tools to make a positive identification remain alive.

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You can search for American military personnel still listed as unaccounted for at this site.