Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) today joined U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in introducing a resolution to express the sense of the Senate that no member of the armed forces who is missing in action or captured should be left behind.
The senators' resolution would send a message that "abandoning the search efforts for members of the armed forces who are missing or captured in the line of duty now or in the future is unacceptable."
It also states that "while the United States continues to transition leadership roles in combat operations in Afghanistan to the people of Afghanistan, the United States must continue to fulfill these important promises to any member of the armed forces who is in a missing status or captured as a result of service in Afghanistan now or in the future."
"Over the years, I have heard from many Kentucky veterans asking that the United States government do all it can to ensure the safe return of any service members captured in the line of duty as they protect and defend our nation. I am honored to support my colleagues in this important commitment," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
"As we honor our armed servicemen and women, we must never forget those who are unaccounted for or missing in action," said Sen. Casey. "I am proud to support this legislation to strengthen our commitment to those who risk their lives defending our freedom. I call on the Senate to pass this resolution quickly."
"The members of the armed forces are willing to give their all to defend our country, ensure our safety, and protect the principles of this great nation. We owe it to them to commit ourselves as a nation to the promise that we will leave no man or woman behind. I urge my fellow members of Congress to join me in supporting this resolution and reaffirming our commitment to leave no soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guard member behind," said Sen. Toomey.
Veterans and veterans' advocates across Pennsylvania praised the senators' resolution.
"I support the Toomey-Casey-McConnell resolution 100 percent. When my 173rd Airborne Brigade returned from a combat action in Vietnam and discovered we had one soldier missing, the brigade commander sent an entire battalion back in to the war zone to look for that one soldier. This amendment honors and reinforces that time-honored obligation," said retired Army Colonel Don Bliss, life member of the Military Officers Association of America's chapter in Carlisle.
"This resolution is vitally important to our armed forces and veterans, and it should be equally important to the American public. When I was active and deployed, we accounted for one another and did not leave anyone behind. Our government must account for and bring every man, woman, mother, father, son and daughter home," said former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Weaver of Pittsburgh, co-founder of the non-profit Veteran Student Community Initiative.
"This resolution formalizes the time-honored military tradition of bringing everyone home and leaving no man or woman behind. Sens. Toomey, Casey and McConnell understand the promise this country has made to its military to not forget those brave men and women who willingly go in harm's way to preserve and protect all that this country holds dear. This resolution is another example of Sen. Toomey listening to and acting on what is important to our nation's military and their families," said former Navy Lieutenant Commander Kevin Kelly, a volunteer at Philadelphia Homeless Veterans.
"I strongly support this resolution. Much controversy still exists regarding the POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam era. We should leave no man behind," said Cory Shay, coordinator of the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success at the Community College of Allegheny County.