The Reorganization that Never Was … Part I

This article was written by and first published by POWwarrior.  It is reprinted here by permission.

The Reorganization that Never Was … Part I


ASD Michael Lumpkin

We were all chatting last night and discussing the complete fiasco that has become this so-called “reorganization.”  Clearly all of the promises made in the early stages of the reorganization, particularly under Michael Lumpkin, DASD for SO/LIC (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflicts) were strategic in nature.  Or, at least that is how it has played out.  We would like to think that Lumpkin, a former Navy Seal, took his role in the reorganization to heart.  Based on what we experienced both individually and collectively, we think he did.  It was those that followed Lumpkin in January of this year who refused to “keep the promise.”

These were some of the more poignant quotes from Mr. Lumpkin’s June 12, 2014 comments during the Annual Briefings for Vietnam Families in Washington, DC with regard to the reorganization. (Taken from the website for the National League of POW/MIA Families.)

“Our Service members’ lives are valued and their families our focus.”

“We are working to change the culture and processes that guide our workforce.”

“… a balanced and more family-centric approach, improved access to information will be the bedrock of the process and cultural for this new agency.”

“I look forward to developing a new way of working that is realistic, dynamic and responsive.”

“We’d like the voice of our missing personnel families to shape and inform our process for the future.”

“I want to ensure every stakeholder is aware of our intent, and an active participant in this change-process and feels empowered to provide feedback.”

“ … the goal of all of the officials you’ll hear from today is to bring an end to talk about the government being unresponsive.”

A few weeks later, before the House Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee, Mr. Lumpkin shared similar sentiments to Congress. (Taken from the Military Personnel Subcommittee’s website.)

“Their families  are our focus, and better service to those families is our goal.”

“The Secretary’s decisions to change how the Department conducts personnel accounting addresses deficiencies in process, workplace culture and organizational structure.”

“The decisions are based on dispassionate analytical assessments and informed by feedback from families and Congress.”

“The Director of the new Defense Agency, in coordination with the SCOs, will develop guidance that details roles and responsibilities to ensure, responsive, timely and transparent communication with the families.”

“All external communication with families, VSOs, concerned citizens and the public will be robust and two-way.”

Now the question is, how much of these promises made specifically to families have been part of this reorganization?

Since Admiral Franken, LTG (ret) Linnington, DASD René Bardorf and former JPAC leader Commander McKeague took charge of the reorganization in January of 2015, families were categorically put at arm’s length and “robust and two-way” communication as well as being “an active participant in this change-process” were thrown out the window.  The promise of feeling, “empowered to provide feedback” is now sadly, laughable.

Weekly conference calls became one-way with DoD personnel telling stakeholders what they had done, were doing and their travel plans.  One the first call, when leaders of family groups attempted to question rationale for decisions made without their input and attempted to provide feedback, they were quickly removed from the calls, told they could no longer participate until their attitude changed.  The remaining stakeholders still on the calls learned quickly from this initial call that these weekly events were nothing more than an exercise, allowing the DoD to report back to Congress that they were working closely with stakeholders.

This became an underlying theme in everything that the DoD has done in the past eight months; showing more concern for appearances than substance.

To quote the ever-poignant 1991 resignation letter of former Chief of the Special Office for POW/MIAs:

  “…the tawdry illusion of progress”

A Hero Finally Laid to Rest

Private Arthur H. “Bud” Kelder was laid to rest with his family on July 18, 2015







Patriot Guard Riders provided final honors.


























The Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Prisoner of War Medal and World War II Campaign awards were presented.







Pipers from the Chicago Fire Department piped Bud home with his family.

Funeral10 Funeral9 Funeral4














Rev. Lesley Weir conducted the graveside service.

WWII Army Pvt. Arthur “Bud” Kelder, home, finally, after 73 years

From the Chicago Sun-Times
Written By Maureen O’Donnell Posted: 07/17/2015, 12:00pm

Pvt. Bud Kelder’s last letters to his parents are heartbreaking.

The Schurz High School graduate volunteered for the Army before the United States entered World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Within hours, Japanese forces invaded the islands.

He wrote to his worried parents in Norwood Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side, assuring them he was getting plenty to eat and lots of rest and that he’d be home soon to start a business with his father.

Actually, the soldiers were getting only a small amount of rations, and the hospital where he worked as a dental technician had been moved under the jungle canopy in hopes of shielding it against Japanese shelling, according to his cousin, Ron Kelder.

Read more

Home At Last

WWII soldier’s remains returned to family 73 years after death

WWII soldier's remains returned to family 73 years after death

The remains of a soldier who died in World War II were finally returned to his family in Chicago 73 years after his death.

Army Private Arthur “Bud” Kelder grew up in the city’s Norwood Park neighborhood.

Japanese forces caught him in the Philippines. He died in a POW camp in 1942. He was buried in a mass grave. It took years for him to be identified.

Private Kelder’s remains arrived at O’Hare International Airport Thursday morning. The Patriot Guard served as escort as his family took the remains to a funeral home in Chicago.

Returning Private Kelder: WWII POW’s Body To Come Home

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2015 9:00 am

As the United States and Illinois communities prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the family of one area soldier has received the news that the remains of Private Arthur Herman “Buddy” Kelder will be coming home July 18, finally.

For over 70 years, since they learned Buddy had died in a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines, his Kelder kin have been trying to get the United States military to identify and return him to Chicago. His 99th birthday would have been June 18 this year.

The Kelder family had settled in the 1890s in the Norwood Park community of Chicago, where his grandfather Herman P. Kelder, his father (also Herman) and most of his uncles had worked as commission brokers in the produce business.

Grandfather Herman was known as “The Celery King” of the South Water Street Market in Chicago.

Buddy graduated from Schurz High School in 1935 and began working in the family business, while his brother Herman became a local dentist.

For several years in the late 1930s, Buddy ran his own fruit and vegetable shop in the block south of the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, offering the service of a freezer to families who didn’t have one of their own.

He had just started in business with a cousin, running a hamburger stand in Crystal Lake, when he entered the U,S, Army and was sent overseas.

He was assigned as an ambulance driver for Sternberg General Hospital in Manila, when the city was attacked by the Japanese, shortly after Pearl Harbor.

They evacuated the hospital patients into the jungle, setting up 7,000 beds under the canopies of trees as the Second Hospital Corps. His unit was subsequently captured by the Japanese.

Kelder was first imprisoned in the O’Donnell Prison Camp. He was forced to participate in the Bataan death march, and eventually was held at Cabanatuan, another prison of war camp operated by the Japanses military. Over 2,600 prisoners died there, including Private Kelder, apparently in 1942.

His apparent cause of death was malnutrition. Word of his fate reached Norwood Park in July 1943.

His parents wrote many letters to the United States government to find out what had happened to Buddy’s body.

The last letter they received from him, written before he was captured, had indicated he was managing, getting plenty of sleep and adequate food, but he apparently was putting on a brave face to avoid worrying his mother. His cousins have learned his unit was receiving only about a third of their normal rations before the capture.

The American government continued, for decades, through three other major wars, to deny it knew anything.

At the prison camp, however, the survivors had looked out for their comrades, burying the bodied themselves, documented with meticulous records.

The family knew that Dr. Herman Kelder had done dental work for Buddy, including a gold inlay before he went overseas. The inlay was still there when Buddy was buried the first time, they learned, but it went missing when the American cemetery workers took charge when his body was moved.

Buddy’s body was exhumed and re-interred several times by the American military, eventually deposited in a different mass grave at the Manilla American Cemetery by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

His cousins have learned that, while the bodies were identified as “unknown,” the government continued to know exactly where Buddy was buried. Buddy’s parents and brother died, with no closure. The agency specifically assigned to identify remains of American military personnel continued to refuse to help.

Advances in DNA testing and recent declassification of older military records offered Buddy’s surviving relatives a new chance to pursue the search for Buddy about five years ago.

John Eakins, a cousin in Texas, pursued the government and eventually sued the United States, which got their attention. Nephew Doug Kelder, Dr. Kelder’s son, represented the family as next of kin. Relatives of the other men interred in the same grave were also interested in identifying their relatives.

Ron Kelder, a cousin from Bolingbrook, provided a DNA sample from the male side of the family. Cousins on Buddy’s mother’s side, from DeMotte, IN, did the same.

Ron Kelder was interviewed by Chicago’s Fox 32 TV last fall in one of the efforts to get a response from the government.

Since the end of 2014 the family has had confirmation that some of the remains retrieved at the Manila cemetery grave have been confirmed as Kelder’s and isolated.

Then everything stalled again.

It took Congressional help to jumpstart the final stage of the journey.

In recognition of the U.S. government’s lack of help for all these years, the family requested that the U.S. military not be included in the ceremonies.

Other organizations will honor Private Kelder however.

There will be an opportunity to acknowledge Private Kelder’s service. The Philippine consul general’s office is sending an official representative to deliver Kelder’s military medals and honors for his service in the Philippines. Kelder’s family will also, finally, receive recognition of the many American military honors, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, which his service earned him.

Private Arthur “Buddy” Kelder ran a Park Ridge produce store in the late 1930s before military service took him to the Philippines in World War II.

Buddy Boy


The Chicago Fire Department will wash the landing field as the plane arrives at O’Hare International Airport. Kelder’s coffin will be the first to leave the plane.

The Patriot Guard, a motorcycle honor guard of veterans, will escort the coffin on its journeys. Fox 32 Chicago and its sister station in Minneapolis, and National Public Radio, will be among news media at the event.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. July 18 at the M.J. Suerth Funeral Home, 6754 N. Northwest Hwy., Chicago, followed by a procession to Union Ridge Cemetery, Higgins and Talcott, Chicago, where Buddy’s parents and many other relatives are buried.

Family members are planning to attend from all over the country for the ceremony. Unlike earlier Kelder generations who grew up close together, many of these relatives have never met.

Most of them are too young to have ever met their cousin Buddy. Family genealogy efforts researching Buddy’s connections have brought them together.


Bud Kelder Obituary

Arthur Herman “Bud” Kelder
1916 – 1942
Returned to His Family 2015 – No Longer an Unknown

Private Arthur Herman Kelder, known to his family and friends as Bud or Buddy, passed away November 19, 1942 while a prisoner of war in the Philippine Islands.  He died a horrible death due to disease and starvation.

Bud was born June 18, 1916, the son of Herman P. and Julia (Lageveen) Kelder and grew up in the Norwood Park area of Chicago, IL.  His Father was a partner in H.P. Kelder and Company, Wholesale Commission Merchants on the old South Water Market.  His Brother, Dr. Herman P. Kelder, practiced dentistry in Norwood Park for many years.  He had one niece, Debra, all of whom pre-deceased him except one nephew, Douglas, of Shell Lake, WI who survives.  Arthur graduated from Carl Schurz High School in 1935 and operated his own business in Park Ridge prior to entering military service.

Private Kelder was stationed at the Sternberg General Hospital in Manila when the Japanese attacked just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  In the following weeks, American forces were evacuated to the Bataan Peninsula where personnel from Sternberg created the 7,000 bed 2nd General Hospital in the jungle.  Denied reinforcement or resupply by President Roosevelt’s Europe First Policy, the American forces fought fiercely and delayed the enemy advance in the Pacific by more than four months and thereby changed the course of the war while America mobilized.  Upon the American capitulation on April 9, 1942, the American and Philippine forces were subjected to what has become known as the Bataan Death March, during which more than 10,000 American and Philippine servicemen died.  First interred at Camp O’Donnell, known as the Andersonville of the Pacific, the American forces were moved to the Cabanatuan POW camp where more than 2,655 Americans died and were interred in communal graves.

After the war, the remains buried at Cabanatuan were re-interred in the Manila American Cemetery operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission.  They neglected to identify Bud’s remains and he was buried as an Unknown.  When the burial records were recently declassified, the identification of his remains was obvious.  However, the U.S. Government refused to acknowledge the information in their own records and forced the family to endure more than five years of litigation in order to bury Bud with his family.  The families’ fight was widely reported in both the local and national news media.  952 other men who died at Cabanatuan remain buried as Unknowns in Manila.

Buddy was awarded numerous American and Philippine military decorations and campaign medals which will be presented at his funeral by representatives of the respective governments.

Funeral and Burial Information

Private Kelder’s remains will be escorted from Hawaii by his Nephew, Douglas Kelder, a retired member of the Northbrook Fire Department. They are scheduled to arrive at O’Hare Airport Terminal 1 aboard United Airlines Flight 218 at 5:04 a.m. on July 16, 2015. Honors will be rendered at the gate by the Chicago Fire Department. The Patriot Guard Riders will escort the cortege from the airport.

Suerth Funeral Home, 6754 N. Northwest Highway, Chicago, IL will conduct the services. Visitation from Noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 followed by a memorial service beginning at 1:30 p.m. Rev. Lesley Weir will officiate.

U.S. and Philippine military awards and decorations will be presented at 2:00 p.m. by Senator Mark Kirk and a representative of the Philippine Government. A procession to Union Ridge Cemetery will follow.

Graveside services and interment will be at Union Ridge Cemetery where honors will be presented by the Patriot Guard Riders, Chicago Fire Department Pipes and Drums. Taps and rifle salute by local veterans.

The family has requested no official participation in the funeral by members of the U.S. Military in recognition of their lack of cooperation in identifying and returning Bud’s remains for burial. Bud served his country, but his country failed him both before and after his death.

Family, friends and the public are invited and welcome to pay their respects.


Doug Kelder, Shell Lake, WI, phone 715 468 4371 Home, 715 491 3177 Mobile

Ron Kelder, Bollingbrook, IL, phone 630 739 5470 Home

John Eakin, San Antonio, TX, phone 210-695-2204 (litigation information)

Links to Prior Media Coverage

Links to Federal Court Docket and Exhibits

Stars & Stripes: Outdated methods will hamper efforts to identify USS Oklahoma remains, experts say

As the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumes the commingled remains of 388 sailors and Marines from the USS Oklahoma who are buried in Hawaii as unknowns, some outside experts are skeptical that DPAA scientists will be able to identify them based on outdated DNA testing methods.

The DPAA lab usually uses mitochondrial and Y-STR DNA testing in its work, methods that could put the Hawaii laboratory and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Delaware at a disadvantage.

Read More

More Stars & Stripes coverage of MIA Accounting Efforts


Another Failed Commander Departs – Webb, Holland & AMG Still In Charge

This is Franken’s farewell message to “his” troops.

Sounds really good – just don’t look under the hood.

Note who he has specifically cc’ed – Holland and Fletcher.  Fletcher is the retired O6 who used to be deputy commander of JPAC – he “retired in place.”  These gentlemen – along with Webb and a couple in the lab – are still on board and have out lasted yet another figurehead commander.

Franken describes a wonderful vision – who knows if it will work, but at least he’s thinking of change.  That’s nice.  Did he fire anyone? Did anything change? Did he do even one minor thing to implement this vision that he describes? Hell, no.  He had his chance, even if only for six months and he not only didn’t change anything or implement any new policies, the old guard beaurocrats are now even more entrenched.  The number of identifications/recoveries actually fell on his watch while spending skyrocketed.

Let’s give him credit, he did change one thing.  He ran off all of the family groups who actually advocated for MIA families and replaced them with some good veterans service organizations who can’t spell POW/MIA.  The organization widely credited with creating this out of control agency is even more firmly in control.

Don’t be fooled.  Follow the money.  Count the MIA’s.  Nothing has changed and the mission is to protect the government from embarrassment.  DPAA/DPMO/JPAC is not a friend to MIA families.  Believe only what you see and can confirm.


From: Franken, Michael Thane RADM USN DPAA FO (US)
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2015 12:04 PM
Cc: McKeague, Kelly K Maj Gen USAF DPAA FO (US); Holland, Thomas D (Dr. (ST-SES)) CIV DPAA LAB (US); Fletcher, Kelly E CIV DPAA FO (US)
Subject: Farewell DPAA (U)


Staff:  January 12th of this year we started a journey together.  At that time, I was very much uninformed of this mission.  I now have a passion for it, a commitment to the fallen, and empathy for the families.

No one said applying Secretary Hagel’s guidance in consolidating our three organizations would be easy.  Even if the current annual identification rate doubled, it would take over 100 years to retrieve our presumed recoverable losses.  Consequently, we need to change the manner in which we do operations so that we can achieve an identifiable end for this mission…and this generation of families.   We must collapse stovepipes, share information, and revolutionize the way we do business.  We also need to become a little bit less comfortable in our daily product because comfort with an output stymies future success.  The future is a revamp of our organization to force collaboration throughout the staff and across the accounting enterprise.

DPAA’s future involves managing incongruent data to the successful delivery of accounting information to families.   We must become experts in delivering knowledge-based products, vetting data, organizing others’ activity, and ensuring our family communications are delivered with solemnity.

Policy requirements and strategy will be integral tools for Combatant Commanders’ theater security cooperation plans, embassy country teams, the Department of State, and regional Defense Policy offices.  DPAA will be sought after as an avenue to provide a normalization option for challenging country relationships.

Leadership at all levels will reflect broad and strategic thinking, and the administrative and support apparatus will be seamless across the enterprise.  Internal capabilities will be integrated worldwide, 24/7, under the umbrella of the Pentagon and the Combatant Commands.   Our command center will not be providing over watch of our teams in the field, but rather, organizing efforts of myriad entities–hobbyists, NGOs, VSOs, private citizens, families, academia, businesses, other nation’s DPAA look-alikes, and in rare instances, our field and research work.

The laboratory will be a worldwide center of excellence in remains identification.  Identifications must grow exponentially by ramping up laboratory capability using short-term fellowships, some hires, some contract employees, and even competitive contracts.  We can’t be stodgy in alternatives to our core mission areas.  Others can help.   Urgency is an attribute.

Here are some stretch goals: In three years, all core functions will be enabled by an internal and external facing case management system; DPAA professionals will, to a large degree, oversee the investigative and fieldwork done by others; our spending in public-private partnership and like ventures should better the fully unburdened cost of DPAA organic recoveries.  In five years, large-unit recovery teams will be outdated; field investigations will be done predominantly by like-minded host nation organizations, academia, or volunteers; and DPAA will house a fully cloud-enabled workforce serving to validate cloud-based information inputs from worldwide sources.

In 10 years, the link to our site will be just one page of like-minded organizations with similarly developed capabilities worldwide.  The nation and the world will know that DPAA’s effort, beginning today, is the backbone upon which a worldwide accounting mission is built.

I see DPAA on an ascendency, and with your help, it will be a top ten employer.  Work hard.  Be a professional.  Be part of the solution.  And help everyone in the staff to do the same.  I am honored to have led this endeavor, and I am looking forward to hearing about your future accomplishments.

v/r, mtf.