"Good Morning, Vietnam" Inspiration On New Mission For Troops

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- His life inspired the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam." Now former Armed Forces Radio disk jockey Adrian Cronauer is serving his country in a different way. He's helping oversee the recovery and identification of remains of missing service members.

Cronauer spoke to a group at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport Tuesday.

Cronauer came up with the greeting "Good morning, Vietnam" in the 60s. Actor Robin Williams made it famous in the 80s. Now Cronauer is using that notoriety to help the families of missing service men and women.

"Whenever you are able to return the remains to the family, or even if you are able to give them a tiny bit of new information, it means so much to them," said Cronauer.

Cronauer works as a special assistant at the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office. The mission is to find out what happened to the 88,000 airmen, sailors, marines and soldiers who've served since World War II and whose fates are unknown.

Unaccounted Service Members
78,000 WWII
8,100 Korean War
1,800 Vietnam
120 Cold War
1 First Gulf War
3 Operation Iraqi Freedom

Cronauer says one reason it's important to keep searching for people who went missing defending our country is to show today's troops that they will never be forgotten.

"We feel that our constituencies are the people who wear the uniform now, because we want them to understand and to know that no matter what happens to them, our country will not abandon them," said Cronauer. "It's a promise we make to them."

Cronauer says about 100 American remains are found around the world each year. The former airmen spoke as part of the Air Force Reserves' 60th anniversary celebration.

As far as his movie fame, Cronauer says Hollywood exaggerated much and made up even more about his time in Vietnam. However, he says he was a better DJ than Robin Williams.