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SJAFB observes POW/MIA Remembrance Week

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sabrina Fuller
  • 4th Fighter Wing

Airmen assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, observed POW/MIA Remembrance Week from Sept. 12-16, 2022.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter established National POW/MIA Recognition Day on the third week of September in honor of service members who are prisoners of war or missing in action.

During POW/MIA week, Team Seymour honored brothers and sisters in arms through multiple events including a ruck march, a veterans round table, a memorial ride, closing ceremony and a 24-hour vigil.

“The events held this week were led by the Air Force Sergeants Association,” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Dalton, 336th Fighter Generation Squadron aircraft electrical and environmental technician and AFSA Chapter 371 president. “This week is giving those individuals that came before us the recognition that they deserve.”

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, more than 82,000 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other recent conflicts around the globe.

“The United States is still seeking to recover remains of service members, deceased or living,” said Dalton. “We want to bring awareness to those who don't have any military affiliation, that there are service members, who did serve this country, who did not return home.”

During the memorial ride, Airmen and veterans visited the grave sites of two service members who were from Goldsboro, North Carolina.

One of those service members, Marine Corps Pfc. Dan Bullock, was honored at Elmwood Cemetery for his service in the Vietnam War, where he was killed in action at 15-years-old, making him the youngest U.S. military member to die in the Vietnam War.

The second memorial was for Air Force Capt. Peter Cleary, who was honored at the Goldsboro Freedom Tree. Service members rededicate the Freedom Tree every year since 1979 in recognition of his service in the Vietnam War.

“The sacrifices they made and had to endure add to the bigger picture of what we do as Airmen today,” said Airman 1st Class Levi Klinzmann, 334th Fighter Generation Squadron crew chief.

The ceremony ended with closing remarks from Col. Tammy McElhaney, 4th Mission Support Group commander.

“We want to get the message out to everyone to get involved and go on the defense POW/MIA accounting agency website to look and learn more about those who are still missing,” said McElhaney. “You may have a family connection out there, and by doing more research and getting involved, you too may aid in the recovery and the identification of missing personnel.”