Team Whiteman honors POW/MIA Recognition Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Members of Team Whiteman ran, walked and rucked for 24 hours to honor and remember prisoners of war and those missing in action at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 17-18, 2020.

More than 125 volunteers participated in the 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event by completing laps around the Ike Skelton Lake and reading out the names of the approximately 82,000 American service members who are still missing in action.

“For the next 24 hours, I hope that everybody who is part of this takes some time to really reflect,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander. “Reflect on what we have, reflect on the history and the sacrifices that have been made over the years, reflect on the people that didn’t come back.”

The 24-hour remembrance event is held each year on National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

“Volunteers will carry the POW/MIA flag for the entire 24 hours,” said Master Sgt. Eric Whipple, 509th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst flight chief. “The flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. We will also be listing off the approximately 82,000 Americans still missing in action.”

The event was a success, despite the ongoing pandemic.

“COVID can’t stop some things,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen McCool, 509th Bomb Wing Command Chief. “It might make it a little bit different, but COVID cannot stop everything and this is one thing that COVID could not stop.”

Following the event McCool thanked the coordinators for their hard work putting the event together and making it succeed despite challenges presented by the COVID safety concerns.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.