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One Family's Experience with Procedures for Missing
Contributed by Jan, Marine Mom

I know that this is a very hard subject to touch upon, but I strongly feel that we must all know how this process works. The events of the past few weeks have include many different situations that our Marines may find themselves in. As a parent living far from Camp Lejeune I did not have the opportunity to attend any pre-deployment briefing.

This last week during the battle (in Iraq) my son was officially declared as DUSTWUN, DUty STation Whereabouts UNknown. This is the status that is given to any service personnel who is not accounted for. Thankfully he has since been located. I want every parent, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or next of kin to know from my first hand experience how this process works.

On Wednesday, March 26th 2 uniform Marines rang my doorbell. My 16-year-old son answered the door and knew right away that something was wrong. I was not home at the time, only my husband was here. They identified themselves, and asked if I was also home, when my husband told them that I was at our local Support the Troops Rally, and would not be home soon they proceed to inform him that our son had been missing for the last 24 - 48 hours. They verified his name and SS #. They explained that he was on a mission to secure a bridge. Only when my husband said the town name did they acknowledge it. They said that it was under investigation and they would call with any updates not matter what time it was. They gave him their name and rank and phone numbers to call at anytime if we had any question. They also stated very firmly that this info had not been release to the media as of yet and when it was released if we had any problems with the media we were to contact either one of them and they would handle the situation. At this time the 2 Marines left.

My husband informed me of this situation. We of course made all the necessary calls to family and friends. We are very fortunate that one of my son's best friend's father is a retired Marine. He immediately came to our house upon learning the news. He proceed to let us know of them many different scenarios of what could have happened to my son, being separated from his unit, hurt and sent to a hospital, hiding, and then he stated and the worse thing would not be that he is captured.

He went on to explain to us the process of how they knew he was missing. He stated that once the situation allowed them to do a formation of sorts, they become aware that Marines are missing. This information is then passed on to the command. And the necessary steps to locate him are started.

We were very lucky my son was located within 24 hours of us being notified. We received a call letting us know the good news. The Capt. stated that he also needed to come over so that we could see the report.

(Information about the official report removed by the author of this web site.)

Later that evening I received a phone call from Camp Lejeune explaining that this list had just been released and they wanted to confirm with me that we knew my son had been found; his name did appear on this list and the media was aware that he had been located, but they wanted us to know that if approached by any media who had not verified this information before contacting us, that he really was located and back with his unit.

I work with someone who is married to a local new producer. This coworker, my HR Manager, at no point shared this information with his spouse. She only became aware of my son's status when I let them know. This news producer was amazed that we had been notified a full 36 hours prior to the release of this information.

I was very impressed with the notification process, the concern and support they offered us. My purpose of posting this information is to make us all aware of the process. In all likelihood my son may not ever be aware that we have been notified. This seemed to be the only question that seem to either get an answer of they were not sure, the person from Camp Lejeune did say that they informed of this procedure. I think I got the best answer from the local Recruiter, he said all Marines at told this during basic training, but frankly I am sure they have long forgotten this.

I can see my son saying, "I was never lost. I followed procedure and did as I was trained to do in a situation like this." Trust in their training; after all, they are a United States Marine!

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