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Base honors POW/MIAs with flag vigil
Wichita County Judge Woodrow "Woody" Gossom Jr., Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82nd Training Wing commander, veteran Charles Hartney and Master Sgt. John Van Pelt, 366th Training Squadron, salute during POW/MIA wreath ceremony during the POW/MIA Recognition Day parade at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, parade field Sept. 21, 2012. Members of the base also particpated in a flag vigil during the day to honor the POW/MIA's. (U.S. Air Force photo/Frank H. Carter)
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Flag vigil held to remember POW/MIAs

Posted 9/26/2012   Updated 9/26/2012 Email story   Print story


by Frank Carter
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

9/26/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- POW/MIA Recognition Day was observed Sept. 21, with a flag vigil at the base flag pole in front of the 82nd Training Wing headquarters building.

The flag vigil began at 6:00 a.m., with a parade and wreath laying ceremony held at the Sheppard parade grounds at 7:00 a.m.

After the ceremony the wreath was placed at the base flag pole along with the flag vigil. 136 Airmen participated in the day long flag vigil, which ended at 5:20 p.m.

"This event represents our promise to never forget those individuals and never stop trying to bring them back home," said Master Sgt. Guy Ricker, 365th Training Squadron. "The event also gives us the opportunity to thank those that have returned from war and their families."

The National League of Families started the observance of this day of recognition. POW/MIA Recognition Day was authorized by Congress on July 18, 1979.

In 1986 the annual observation was officially set in place for the third Friday in September. It is one of six days throughout the year the League of Families' POW/MIA flag is mandated to fly. The other observance days are Independence, Veterans, Flag, Armed Forces and Memorial Days.

The observation is held across the country by military installations, ships at sea, state capitals, schools, veterans' facilities and other facilities.

"According to the Department of Defense, POW/MIA Office, more than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War," Ricker said.

This year's events were hosted by the 782nd Training Group. Ricker was the committee chairman for the event along with Master Sgt. John Van Pelt, 366th Training Squadron, who conducted the wreath laying ceremony.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Gray, 363rd Training Squadron was the flag vigil coordinator, while Tech. Sgt. David Walls, 82nd Training Wing, served as the parade coordinator with the assistance and guidance of Capt. Patricia Cassidy, 82nd Training Wing Protocol office.

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