Osan Airmen honor Prisoners of War and Missing in Action

Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established to honor Americans held as Prisoners of War and to renew the nation’s commitment to account for U.S. personnel still missing from past wars and conflicts. Many ceremonies take place across the country and around the world to remember the nation’s Prisoners of War and unreturned veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established to honor Americans held as Prisoners of War and to renew the nation’s commitment to account for U.S. personnel still missing from past wars and conflicts. Many ceremonies take place across the country and around the world to remember the nation’s Prisoners of War and unreturned veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

About 100 Airmen formed up Sept. 12 at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters flagpole to raise the POW/MIA flag and formally start a week honoring all the prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

About 100 Airmen formed up Sept. 12 at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters flagpole to raise the POW/MIA flag and formally start a week honoring all the prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Airmen with the base honor guard raise the American flag and the POW/MIA flag Sept. 12 at the base flagpole. About 100 Airmen formed up at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters building for the ceremony to formally start a week honoring all the prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Airmen with the base honor guard raise the American flag and the POW/MIA flag Sept. 12 at the base flagpole. About 100 Airmen formed up at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters building for the ceremony to formally start a week honoring all the prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Airmen with the base honor guard raise the American flag and the POW/MIA flag Sept. 12 at the base flagpole. About 100 Airmen formed up at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters building for the ceremony to formally start a week honoring all the prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Airmen with the base honor guard raise the American flag and the POW/MIA flag Sept. 12 at the base flagpole. About 100 Airmen formed up at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters building for the ceremony to formally start a week honoring all the prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Staff Sgt. Anthony Showers (center), 607th Support Squadron, lights candles as Senior Airman Rocio De La Torre (right), 607th SPTS, reads the names of 52 service members who are still listed as missing in action during a POW/MIA candlelight vigil ceremony Sept. 14 at the base chapel. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Staff Sgt. Anthony Showers (center), 607th Support Squadron, lights candles as Senior Airman Rocio De La Torre (right), 607th SPTS, reads the names of 52 service members who are still listed as missing in action during a POW/MIA candlelight vigil ceremony Sept. 14 at the base chapel. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Fifty-two candles, signifying 52 service members who are still missing in action, burn bright during a POW/MIA candlelight vigil ceremony Sept. 14 at the base chapel. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Fifty-two candles, signifying 52 service members who are still missing in action, burn bright during a POW/MIA candlelight vigil ceremony Sept. 14 at the base chapel. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Airmen with the base honor guard fold an American flag during a POW/MIA retreat ceremony Sept. 15 at the base flagpole. The retreat ceremony signified the beginning of a 24-hour run where the POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)

Airmen with the base honor guard fold an American flag during a POW/MIA retreat ceremony Sept. 15 at the base flagpole. The retreat ceremony signified the beginning of a 24-hour run where the POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)

Chief Master Sgt. Deno Mackin, 51st Fighter Wing Command Chief, begins the POW/MIA 24-hour run Sept. 15, 2011, at the base flagpole. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)

Chief Master Sgt. Deno Mackin, 51st Fighter Wing Command Chief, begins the POW/MIA 24-hour run Sept. 15, 2011, at the base flagpole. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)

Col. Patrick McKenzie, Chief Master Sgt. Deno Mackin and Col. Mark DeLong, 51st Fighter Wing leadership, carry the POW/MIA flag for the first leg of the POW/MIA 24-hour run Sept. 15, 2011. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)

Col. Patrick McKenzie, Chief Master Sgt. Deno Mackin and Col. Mark DeLong, 51st Fighter Wing leadership, carry the POW/MIA flag for the first leg of the POW/MIA 24-hour run Sept. 15, 2011. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)

The sounds of feet hitting the pavement could be heard throughout the night and all afternoon Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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The sounds of feet hitting the pavement could be heard throughout the night and all afternoon Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Airmen run carrying the POW/MIA flag Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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Airmen run carrying the POW/MIA flag Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Tech. Sgt. Joel Luera, 51st Force Support Squadron, hands off the POW/MIA flag to the next group of runners Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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Tech. Sgt. Joel Luera, 51st Force Support Squadron, hands off the POW/MIA flag to the next group of runners Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Senior Airman Destry Swadowski, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron with the emergency management flight, carries the POW/MIA flag in his HAZMAT suit Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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Senior Airman Destry Swadowski, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron with the emergency management flight, carries the POW/MIA flag in his HAZMAT suit Sept. 16, 2011 during the POW/MIA 24-hour run. The POW/MIA flag was carried non-stop by runners around a 1.2-mile course to honor all those who are POW/MIA and to remember those who are still missing today. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

Two children take a moment to look at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater Sept. 16, 2011. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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Two children take a moment to look at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater Sept. 16, 2011. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

The base honor guard presents the colors during POW/MIA Recognition day Sept. 16, 2011 at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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The base honor guard presents the colors during POW/MIA Recognition day Sept. 16, 2011 at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

The base honor guard presents the colors during POW/MIA Recognition day Sept. 16, 2011 at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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The base honor guard presents the colors during POW/MIA Recognition day Sept. 16, 2011 at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

An Airman hands off the POW/MIA flag during POW/MIA Recognition day Sept. 16, 2011 at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)
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An Airman hands off the POW/MIA flag during POW/MIA Recognition day Sept. 16, 2011 at the POW/MIA Memorial in front of the base theater. Members of the Osan’s Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored all POW/MIAs during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the Osan's Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter honored prisoners of war and service men still missing in action here during several ceremonies and events Sept. 12-16.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established to honor Americans held as Prisoners of War and to renew the nation's commitment to account for U.S. personnel still missing from past wars and conflicts. Many ceremonies take place across the country and around the world to remember the nation's Prisoners of War and unreturned veterans.

According to the National League of POW/MIA Families' website, in 1986, the members of the group recommended the third Friday in September be used to pay tribute to former POWs or people MIA, and for those who are still missing today.

Airmen here took the opportunity to inform, educate and remember all these brave men and women.

"Anyone who is a POW or MIA is still a part of our military family whether they have been accounted for or not," said Staff Sgt. Gena Armstrong, Osan's AFSA Chapter 1556 public affairs representative. "Taking the time to remember and honor their sacrifices is the least we can do."

About 100 Airmen formed up Sept. 12 at the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters flagpole to raise the POW/MIA flag and formally start the week. This observance is one of six days a year Congress has mandated flying the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag.

According to the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office website the league's POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where it will stand as a powerful symbol of national commitment to America's POW/MIAs until the fullest possible accounting has been achieved for U.S. personnel still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

Volunteers spent Sept. 13 afternoon at the base exchange raising awareness and informing people on the importance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

"We have a unique opportunity being in Korea," Armstrong said. "There could be someone who is right across the North Korean border who is still missing from the Korean War, and we should do everything we can to make sure people are educated and aware."

The volunteers also took the time educating people on what the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, does.

JPAC is located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and was activated Oct. 1, 2003. Its mission is to account for all Americans missing as a result of the Nation's past conflicts.

Their members frequently engage in negotiations with representatives of foreign governments to promote and maintain a good working relationship with wherever the JPAC teams deploy to ensure mission success.

On average, an MIA is identified about every four days. Since 2003, JPAC has identified more than 560 Americans, and more than 1,800 since the accounting effort began in the 1970's.

"Being missing in action is all about the untold story," Armstrong said. "Some of these amazing stories will never be shared but it is still our responsibility to find our fallen brothers and sisters."

The next event held at Osan was a candlelight vigil Sept. 14 in the base chapel to remember 52 veterans who are still missing today. A name of one person from each state was read and a candle was lit in their memory.

A retreat ceremony lowering the POW/MIA flag and was held Sept. 15 and also marked the beginning of a 24-hour memorial run.

Hundreds of Airmen and units all over base took part in running the POW/MIA flag 1.2-mile course - for 24 hours the flag never stopped.

The events culminated Sept. 16, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, where hundreds of Airmen gathered at the POW/MIA Memorial outside the base theater to pay respects to POW/MIAs, their families and tens-of-thousands who are still missing today.

To date there are still 1,685 Americans missing or unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, nearly 8,000 from the Korean War and more than 73,000 from World War II. The motto is, "You are not forgotten."

For more information on National POW/MIA Recognition Day visit http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/League/Home.html or http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/. For more information on the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command visit http://www.jpac.pacom.mil.