In war, casualty figures are often broken down into three categories: killed, wounded, and missing. In my opinion, it is that third category that is often the saddest. It\'s true that some of those missing are later found or have been captured by the enemy, but in many cases they have simply vanished, lost in the violent chaos of war.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog in support of a man who is organizing expeditions into the Himalayas to search for lost aircrews from World War II. Today, I learned of a similar expedition being organized by the Australian Defence Department, deep into the jungles of Papua New Guinea. There have been reports and photographs of a moss-covered body dangling from a tree along the Kokoda trail, a scene of fierce fighting between the Australians, the Americans, and the Japanese in World War II.

It seems incredible that a body could survive that long in the jungle, and maybe the reports will prove to be wrong. But the Australian government recognizes that it owes a debt to those men who fought for their country, and that debt includes investigating credible accounts of its missing soldiers. The difference between “Killed in Action” and “Presumed Dead” may not seem like much to some people, but to others, the distinction is painfully important.

Considering the body could just as easily turn out to be a Japanese or American soldier, it would be great to see those countries support the expedition.