Journalism in the Public Interest

Congressmen to Hagel: Where Are the Missing War Records?

Unsatisfied with answers so far, leaders of the House veterans’ panel ask defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to explain why Army units can’t find field records from Iraq and Afghanistan.


(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs are demanding more information from defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about lost Army field records from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the subject of a ProPublica investigation last year.

In an unusually detailed letter sent Friday to Hagel, Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Michael Michaud, D-Maine, said the Defense Department’s response to an earlier request about why records are missing — and what the military is doing about it — didn’t go far enough.

“Congress must have a clear understanding of the extent  of the lost records in order to safeguard the best interests of our service members and veterans,’’ the letter says.

The 12 questions posed to Hagel in the letter focus largely on the Army because it has the largest records deficit. Among other things, the congressmen want to know what happened to operational records for the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division and what is being done to reconstruct them.

In November, ProPublica and the Seattle Times reported that they were among numerous Army units that had lost or failed to keep battlefield records as required, making it harder for some veterans to obtain benefits and for historians to recount what actually happened.

“Operational records can be used to track the history of our nation’s military, plan for future operations and support innovative medical research,’’ Miller and Michaud wrote to Hagel.

In addition to chairing the veterans’ panel, Miller sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which has direct oversight responsibility for the Defense Department and service branches.

The department did not return a phone call seeking comment. 

Ask MCcain to give Vietnam permission to make his POW records public

The records are on the same pallets with the $9billion missing from Iraq and the $20 billion missing from Afghanistan. Ask Halliburton.

Jacie Jeffrey

May 20, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

I’m a bookkeeper and unemployed. Please let Mr. Hagel know I am available.  :-D

The OBVIOUS question: “Well, what DID happen to the OpRecords…???...”....What DOES the DoD say…???...
How do they just “lose” those records…???...
Yes, I’d rather know the TRUTH…

Lots of money gone in wars since Viet Nam, wouldn’t McCain know or should know about these faked wars that lost so many lives so unnecessarily all for war hawks to profit!

They can’t be bothered to read the bills they vote on, but they need these lost records?  Is it to balance a wobbly desk or something?

Obviously, this is an important issue, but c’mon, this is just absurd grandstanding, especially for a government that does little to nothing for the veterans that are well-recorded.

But we should be asking more sensible questions than just the contents of the lost records.  How were they stored, for example?  Are we talking about deleted files (or yet another stolen laptop) or a fire in a file cabinet?  Who’s responsible for maintaining the files and integrating them with the rest of the service?

In other words, what does “lost” mean?  The answer to that question changes a lot, I would think.


Generally speaking when war crimes, crimes against humanity and direct violations of the UCMJ are standard operating proceedure, record keeping is usually an afterthought. In fact one might argue that in order to protect the guilty record keeping would be somewhere between completely inept and nonexistent.

So this then begs the question. Given the abosolutely massive number of veteran “suicides” that dwarf those of any any war in our history; how many of these so called “suicides” have actually been murder to cover up rampant and theatre wide criminal activities?

And of course there is the obvious question as to why every single commanding officer who has failed to keep records been courtmarshalled. I mean we are busy cashiering general officers for sexual issues why isn’t the same “standard” being adhered to in these cases? The military has strict rules and regulations regarding these matters.

If nothing else why hasn’t the Congress had officers from all branches from Privates to Captains to Generals UNDER OATH to get to the bottom of this?

Maybe another real purging would be where are the records of the mercenaries contracts and how much money was actually handed over to the contractors. Suicides also include those who were exposed to moldy pesticides and those that died who were exposed to depleted uranium to which these deaths are unnoticed or paid for.

Not really surprising, given that on 9/10/01, the Pentagon’s comptroller announced that their auditing team had uncovered $2.3 trillion in unaccounted for DoD funds (as in missing!).

(Oh yeah, and on the morning of 9/11/01, an airliner crashed into the Pentagon’s west wall, killing almost all the members of that auditing team (the DIA’s Financial Management staff) and severely injuring the rest!)

They claimed to have lost the records in an effort to deny troops achievements and awards they should have received for which they earned.  Funny how senior officers padded their chests with all kinds of medals when most of them never left the wire, and then the troops and junior officers who left the wire on almost a daily basis were told they couldn’t receive higher awards because of some “regulation” tying the Colonels hands from giving those awards to certain people of certain rank, or if those same people had not been awarded lesser awards before.  Funny, I don’t remember reading anything like that in any Army Regulation.  Also funny how many troops are deserving of Purple Hearts from these two wars, yet Commanders are hesitant to write up these awards.  Look to the case surrounding the Army Captain who fought in Afghanistan to save the lives of Marines and Afghan troops only to be denied the Medal of Honor by his own Army chain of command… all because the Captain called out his chain of command for being incompetent when they refused to give him the fire support he needed… meanwhile the members of his chain of command were safe inside the wire inside their cushy / plush air conditioned office settings.  Talk to most troops and junior officers and you will find this is the norm - rather than the exception!  Very sad that we have a certain generation in the Army - Lieutenant Colonel and above who care more about their own careers and their next position, rather than the troops that they are supposed to serve!

Although totally censored in the media, many of us remember something ELSE of interest about “9/11”...The Pentagon wall struck, had just finished being totally reconstructed, and reinforced…it was virtually EMPTY on 9/11/2001…only a few staffers and construction workers were present…SO, the “terrorists” chose the ONE wall that would result in MINIMUM damage & casualties…WHY was THAT LEFT OUT of the “official” 9/11 report…And Bush,jr’s new Pres. Libry. may as well be mounted on a CENTRIFUGE…Once again, the American Military, and the American people, have been *screwed*over* by the “elites”....The “fog of war” is NOT totally opaque…

Hagel is new to the scene. Ask Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Haliburton contractors.

The Bush Crime Family does not like a paper trail.

As if Hagel had any idea. Who benefited from their vanishing?


It does bear mentioning that the “wall” struck at the Pentagon just happened to be the one where the Office of Naval intelligence was located. And it just so happened that all of the investigators and all of the records, files and data connected to that investigation where kept.
The investigation in question: WHERE DID THE 2.3 TRILLON DOLLARS GO?

On 9-11-2001 that investigation was permanently terminated. A large number of the key investigators AND ALL THE EVIDENCE was destroyed.

Building 7 Housed some very interesting tenants as well. One in particular stood out. The SEC investigation division was housed in building 7. At that time there were nearly 300 ongoing MAINSTREAM (blue chip) wall street stock fraud investigations ongoing relating to the massive dot com and other Wall Street crimes.

All of the evidence ALL OF THE EVIDENCE related to this massive investigation of Wall Street went puff when they “pulled” building 7
Oh and yes every single investigation was terminated

Hagel probably has no idea. He is new on the block. The war as well as the “suicides” have been going on for a decade.

I’m really touched that these congressman are worried about military records and unit histories. Some contributors kids didn’t get the right faker award and without documentation, no award.
Oops it is called overcite.
Where were you guys at, when these records for years were never turned in. We need to be investigating you guy’s in congress for not doing your job. Well, thousands of soldiers are missing awards like purple heart, bronze star, silver star because there is no record at all. Everybody says buddy statements. Well because of all the suicides, deaths in combat, top secrets classifications on everything, I have real doubt anything will change. I do know one thing, people who were in command of these units and their command cronies had all their awards and injuries well documented. The poor suchers at the bottom- e-5’s through e-1’s - who were hurt are the ones who are going pay for this error

Part of what possibly may have happened relates to how digitized and computerized these two wars were. Army units for years kept paper records of daily activities, combat, training, casualties, contacts, etc but over the past 13 years this seems to have been changed to units keeping many important records on regular PC type computers. There seems to have been little effort to collect and collate these digital records from all the many battalions that participated in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As units rotated, they turned over much of their stationary and base administrative equipment, PC’s included, to the incoming units; part of the turnover routine often seems to have been to delete many records, or “wipe” the hard drives so the new unit could use it for their own purposes. I suspect that many unit records may have been inadvertently lost in this fashion. Some of those missing casualty and action records may have been part of this lost data.

Ok, now, battle records should not effect as whether a Veteran gets hospital care at their local VA hospital.  All one should need to get initial care is the DD214 but the VA does have certain care that has a “service connected” status to it.  For the service connected conditions there is a need for “proof”, depending on the Gov’s definition for the word “proof”, that is where those records would be needed for these benefits.  These records still should be “eyes only” because the conspiracists could have an heyday with this.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Lost to History

Lost to History: When War Records Go Missing

U.S. Centcom and dozens of Army units destroyed or failed to keep field records documenting the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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