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Whiteman Airmen honor POW/MIA with 24-hour run

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shawn L. Drinkard, command chief of the 509th Bomb Wing, with members of of the 509th Bomb Wing participate in the annual Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Airmen from each squadron volunteered to take part in a 24-hour memorial run. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shawn L. Drinkard, command chief of the 509th Bomb Wing, with members of of the 509th Bomb Wing participate in the annual Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Airmen from each squadron volunteered to take part in a 24-hour memorial run. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the annual Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Approximately 1,500 Airmen from various conflicts are missing from Air Force ranks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the annual Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Approximately 1,500 Airmen from various conflicts are missing from Air Force ranks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

A Fallen Warrior Memorial stands as the closing ceremony commences for the annual Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Congress has designated the third Friday of September as a day to commemorate the POWs and Service members missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

A Fallen Warrior Memorial stands as the closing ceremony commences for the annual Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Congress has designated the third Friday of September as a day to commemorate the POWs and Service members missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

A member of Team Whiteman holds the ceremonial torch as the runners prepare for a 24-hour Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Congress has designated the third Friday of September as a day to commemorate the POWs and Service members missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

A member of Team Whiteman holds the ceremonial torch as the runners prepare for a 24-hour Prisoners of War/Missing in Action run at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept.18, 2015. Congress has designated the third Friday of September as a day to commemorate the POWs and Service members missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Team Whiteman held their annual 24-hour POW/MIA run Sept. 17 and 18, 2015, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to pay tribute to prisoners of war and our missing brothers and sisters in arms.

Every year, on the third Friday of September, our nation honors our prisoners of war and missing in action.

"The POW/MIA run is an opportunity for Team Whiteman to remember those who have made such great sacrifices for our nation," said Col. Matthew Brooks, 509th Bomb Wing vice commander. "We must never forget those men and women who have given all to defend freedom and the American way of life.  The Whiteman AFB POW/MIA run is an event that honors them and their legacy of excellence."

The event began with a remembrance ceremony where a torch was lit and a POW/MIA flag was raised.

Whiteman Airmen ran in half-hour increments around Ike Skelton Lake while keeping the flame and a POW/MIA flag moving constantly for 24 hours straight.

The event concluded on Sept. 18, which was this year's POW/MIA recognition day, as well as the Air Force's 68th Birthday.

"I am thankful I had the opportunity to show my respect for these men and women," said Airman 1st Class Amanda Smith, 509th Comptroller Squadron financial services technician and participant in the run. "It is important that their service is remembered, and they are never forgotten."