Special Report

The Missing in Action From Every State Since WWII, Broken Out by War

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When American personnel are missing or are otherwise unaccounted-for, they are classified missing in action, or MIA. They may be determined as killed in action, but if their body was not recovered, they remain unaccounted-for. The Department of Defense accounting agency is in charge of determining the fate of the missing or killed in action, and for locating, identifying, and recovering their remains. 

As technology has improved over the decades, so have the offensive and defensive capabilities of the U.S. military, which has become more surgical and risk averse over time. This has led to a steep drop in those missing in action in every major conflict since World War II. Of course, part of this is also due to the sheer scope of WWII. (This is the year the most Americans died in war since 1980.)

More than 81,900 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. But since WWII the number of personnel lost, killed, or unaccounted-for has been incredibly reduced. In fact, during the 20-year engagement in Afghanistan, not a single American was reported as MIA. And in other recent conflicts, within the last forty years, there remain few personnel reported as MIA, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Capt. Paul Lorence of California was lost in Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986. The Airforce pilot went down in his F-111 during a strike over Libya. Two Navy pilots were then lost in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Lt. Cmdr. Barry Cooke of Texas and Lt. Robert Dwyer of Ohio were downed separately over the Persian Gulf. They are classified as Killed in Action Body Not Recovered. 

Most recently, three civilians, DOD contractors, were reported unaccounted-for in Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2003 to 2010: Kirk Ackermann of New Mexico, Timothy Bell of Alabama, and Adnan al-Hilawi of Florida. 

Most of the missing in action, however, came in earlier conflicts, mostly in WWII. In fact, WWII accounts for over 72,000 of the over 81,000 missing. Because of that, the more populous states at the time tend to have more missing in action. (These are states where the most americans serve in the military.)

To determine the military service members missing in action in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the DPAA. We ranked states by the total number of personnel missing in action in conflicts from WWII onwards. All figures listed are from the DPAA. It should be noted that while some estimates exist for MIA prior to WWII, the DPAA only publishes figures for WWII and onwards.

Click here to see the number of Americans missing in action from every state since WW2.

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50. Alaska
> Missing in action since WWII: 8
> World War II MIA: 4
> Korean War MIA: 1
> Vietnam War MIA: 2
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (5 unaccounted-for)

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49. Nevada
> Missing in action since WWII: 81
> World War II MIA: 70
> Korean War MIA: 5
> Vietnam War MIA: 6
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (43 unaccounted-for)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

48. Delaware
> Missing in action since WWII: 120
> World War II MIA: 105
> Korean War MIA: 11
> Vietnam War MIA: 04
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (56 unaccounted-for)

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47. Hawaii
> Missing in action since WWII: 153
> World War II MIA: 76
> Korean War MIA: 70
> Vietnam War MIA: 7
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (106 unaccounted-for)

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46. Vermont
> Missing in action since WWII: 191
> World War II MIA: 166
> Korean War MIA: 20
> Vietnam War MIA: 5
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (107 unaccounted-for)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

45. Wyoming
> Missing in action since WWII: 209
> World War II MIA: 192
> Korean War MIA: 13
> Vietnam War MIA: 4
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (113 unaccounted-for)

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44. New Hampshire
> Missing in action since WWII: 319
> World War II MIA: 273
> Korean War MIA: 40
> Vietnam War MIA: 6
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (153 unaccounted-for)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

43. South Dakota
> Missing in action since WWII: 351
> World War II MIA: 310
> Korean War MIA: 34
> Vietnam War MIA: 7
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (168 unaccounted-for)

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42. Idaho
> Missing in action since WWII: 359
> World War II MIA: 328
> Korean War MIA: 23
> Vietnam War MIA: 8
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (185 unaccounted-for)

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41. North Dakota
> Missing in action since WWII: 361
> World War II MIA: 325
> Korean War MIA: 27
> Vietnam War MIA: 9
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (177 unaccounted-for)

Source: 4kodiak / E+ via Getty Images

40. Arizona
> Missing in action since WWII: 387
> World War II MIA: 325
> Korean War MIA: 46
> Vietnam War MIA: 15
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (215 unaccounted-for)

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39. Montana
> Missing in action since WWII: 461
> World War II MIA: 417
> Korean War MIA: 27
> Vietnam War MIA: 16
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (258 unaccounted-for)

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38. Maine
> Missing in action since WWII: 474
> World War II MIA: 418
> Korean War MIA: 45
> Vietnam War MIA: 11
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (287 unaccounted-for)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

37. Utah
> Missing in action since WWII: 476
> World War II MIA: 429
> Korean War MIA: 33
> Vietnam War MIA: 14
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (251 unaccounted-for)

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36. New Mexico
> Missing in action since WWII: 625
> World War II MIA: 567
> Korean War MIA: 44
> Vietnam War MIA: 12
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (481 unaccounted-for)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

35. Rhode Island
> Missing in action since WWII: 669
> World War II MIA: 447
> Korean War MIA: 214
> Vietnam War MIA: 7
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (376 unaccounted-for)

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34. Mississippi
> Missing in action since WWII: 781
> World War II MIA: 693
> Korean War MIA: 74
> Vietnam War MIA: 12
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (418 unaccounted-for)

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33. Nebraska
> Missing in action since WWII: 785
> World War II MIA: 708
> Korean War MIA: 59
> Vietnam War MIA: 16
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (400 unaccounted-for)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

32. South Carolina
> Missing in action since WWII: 841
> World War II MIA: 709
> Korean War MIA: 105
> Vietnam War MIA: 27
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (420 unaccounted-for)

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31. Colorado
> Missing in action since WWII: 878
> World War II MIA: 784
> Korean War MIA: 68
> Vietnam War MIA: 24
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (403 unaccounted-for)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

30. Arkansas
> Missing in action since WWII: 956
> World War II MIA: 841
> Korean War MIA: 99
> Vietnam War MIA: 15
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (476 unaccounted-for)

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29. Maryland
> Missing in action since WWII: 962
> World War II MIA: 806
> Korean War MIA: 132
> Vietnam War MIA: 23
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (507 unaccounted-for)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

28. Connecticut
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,046
> World War II MIA: 943
> Korean War MIA: 76
> Vietnam War MIA: 25
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (506 unaccounted-for)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

27. West Virginia
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,089
> World War II MIA: 909
> Korean War MIA: 160
> Vietnam War MIA: 17
> Cold War MIA: 3
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (555 unaccounted-for)

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26. Florida
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,118
> World War II MIA: 905
> Korean War MIA: 154
> Vietnam War MIA: 54
> Cold War MIA: 4
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (500 unaccounted-for)

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25. Louisiana
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,140
> World War II MIA: 974
> Korean War MIA: 141
> Vietnam War MIA: 24
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (536 unaccounted-for)

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

24. Kansas
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,186
> World War II MIA: 1,058
> Korean War MIA: 99
> Vietnam War MIA: 24
> Cold War MIA: 5
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (623 unaccounted-for)

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23. Oregon
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,206
> World War II MIA: 931
> Korean War MIA: 237
> Vietnam War MIA: 35
> Cold War MIA: 3
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (591 unaccounted-for)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

22. Georgia
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,260
> World War II MIA: 1,078
> Korean War MIA: 153
> Vietnam War MIA: 28
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (651 unaccounted-for)

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

21. Alabama
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,290
> World War II MIA: 1,111
> Korean War MIA: 146
> Vietnam War MIA: 30
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (617 unaccounted-for)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

20. Kentucky
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,299
> World War II MIA: 1,098
> Korean War MIA: 183
> Vietnam War MIA: 14
> Cold War MIA: 4
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (698 unaccounted-for)

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

19. Virginia
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,334
> World War II MIA: 1,103
> Korean War MIA: 186
> Vietnam War MIA: 45
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (678 unaccounted-for)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

18. Oklahoma
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,389
> World War II MIA: 1,215
> Korean War MIA: 140
> Vietnam War MIA: 30
> Cold War MIA: 4
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (821 unaccounted-for)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

17. Tennessee
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,399
> World War II MIA: 1,202
> Korean War MIA: 171
> Vietnam War MIA: 26
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (740 unaccounted-for)

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

16. Washington
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,496
> World War II MIA: 1,333
> Korean War MIA: 124
> Vietnam War MIA: 37
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (748 unaccounted-for)

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15. Wisconsin
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,501
> World War II MIA: 1,312
> Korean War MIA: 162
> Vietnam War MIA: 26
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (880 unaccounted-for)

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Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

14. North Carolina
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,520
> World War II MIA: 1,296
> Korean War MIA: 185
> Vietnam War MIA: 39
> Cold War MIA: 0
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (765 unaccounted-for)

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13. Minnesota
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,565
> World War II MIA: 1,393
> Korean War MIA: 137
> Vietnam War MIA: 33
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (739 unaccounted-for)

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12. Iowa
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,605
> World War II MIA: 1,448
> Korean War MIA: 131
> Vietnam War MIA: 25
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (793 unaccounted-for)

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

11. Indiana
> Missing in action since WWII: 1,721
> World War II MIA: 1,499
> Korean War MIA: 170
> Vietnam War MIA: 51
> Cold War MIA: 1
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (938 unaccounted-for)

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

10. Missouri
> Missing in action since WWII: 2,271
> World War II MIA: 2,037
> Korean War MIA: 195
> Vietnam War MIA: 35
> Cold War MIA: 4
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (1,106 unaccounted-for)

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Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

9. New Jersey
> Missing in action since WWII: 2,332
> World War II MIA: 2,124
> Korean War MIA: 165
> Vietnam War MIA: 40
> Cold War MIA: 3
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (1,162 unaccounted-for)

Source: ehrlif / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

8. Michigan
> Missing in action since WWII: 2,843
> World War II MIA: 2,455
> Korean War MIA: 335
> Vietnam War MIA: 48
> Cold War MIA: 5
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (1,476 unaccounted-for)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

7. Massachusetts
> Missing in action since WWII: 2,885
> World War II MIA: 2,658
> Korean War MIA: 186
> Vietnam War MIA: 39
> Cold War MIA: 2
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (1,417 unaccounted-for)

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Source: PapaBear / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

6. Ohio
> Missing in action since WWII: 3,652
> World War II MIA: 3,159
> Korean War MIA: 411
> Vietnam War MIA: 75
> Cold War MIA: 6
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (1,961 unaccounted-for)

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5. Texas
> Missing in action since WWII: 4,122
> World War II MIA: 3,608
> Korean War MIA: 408
> Vietnam War MIA: 100
> Cold War MIA: 5
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (2,276 unaccounted-for)

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

4. Illinois
> Missing in action since WWII: 4,144
> World War II MIA: 3,686
> Korean War MIA: 387
> Vietnam War MIA: 65
> Cold War MIA: 6
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (2,109 unaccounted-for)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

3. Pennsylvania
> Missing in action since WWII: 5,382
> World War II MIA: 4,734
> Korean War MIA: 543
> Vietnam War MIA: 89
> Cold War MIA: 16
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (3,103 unaccounted-for)

Source: bluejayphoto / iStock via Getty Images

2. California
> Missing in action since WWII: 6,368
> World War II MIA: 5,597
> Korean War MIA: 586
> Vietnam War MIA: 161
> Cold War MIA: 23
> Military branch with most missing in action: Navy (3,086 unaccounted-for)

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1. New York
> Missing in action since WWII: 6,393
> World War II MIA: 5,777
> Korean War MIA: 506
> Vietnam War MIA: 101
> Cold War MIA: 9
> Military branch with most missing in action: Army (3,492 unaccounted-for)

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