NEWS | Sept. 23, 2013

POW/MIA event honors America's heroes

By Airman 1st Class Alexandria Slade Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

An event honoring all prisoners of war and missing-in-action members took place Sept. 18 in front of the Missing Man Monument at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

In conjunction with National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which happens the third Friday of every September, service members participated in parade rest rotations for half-hour periods in front of the monument in remembrance of all Americans who have not returned home.

An hour-long ceremony dedicated to the POW/MIA members included speakers from the 12th Operations Group and Air Education and Training Command, a wreath laying, 21-gun salute, flag folding, playing of the national anthem, motorcycle procession and the building of a battlefield cross with a helmet, rifle and combat boots.

Despite its 40-year occurrence at JBSA-Randolph, this year's POW/MIA day was structured with the intent to include all branches of military service from all JBSA locations.

"We didn't want anyone to feel left out of the POW/MIA events just because they were stationed at a different base," Staff Sgt. Tausha Walker, AETC public health technician and local Air Force Sergeants' Association president, said.

AFSA hosted the JBSA-Randolph event.

"We had members from the Joint Base Color Guard, Army drill instructors and Air Force military training instructors perform the folding of the American and POW flags," she said. Two individuals in ghillie suits set up the battlefield cross and the motorcycle procession was performed by the Randolph Bike Club."

The ceremony also provided an opportunity for former POW/MIAs to share their stories, Walker said.

"It is important to commemorate the life and memory of service members who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom," Senior Master Sgt. Jerome Dubose, AETC readiness emergency manager and local AFSA chapter vice president, said. "Our current generation of the military can learn from these heroes to demonstrate courage and valor in their personal and professional endeavors during hardship, opposition and discouragement."