Local

April 19, 2012

Former POWs share their stories with the Tucson community

Tags:
David S. Ricker
Staff writer
Photo by David S. Ricker/Aerotech News and Review
Richard Cooksley, 91, survived the Bataan Death March, imprisonment in the Philippines and forced labor in northern Japan. When asked about his longevity he shared his secret to long life. “Drink good Jack Daniels and don’t take anything a doctor tells you,” he said, with a wink.

Southern Arizona celebrated EX-POW Recognition Day April 9 by sharing the stories of former prisoners of war at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in Tucson.

The program was co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), SAVAHCS and the American EX-POW southern Arizona Chapter.

J.L. Pepe Mendoza, assistant public affairs officer for SAVAHCS, said the purpose of the program was to provide first hand information to the public and raise the awareness of the personal sacrifices and experiences these veterans experienced. “This event has been here at the Southern Arizona VA Health care system for 28 years,” he said. “Each year we recognize ex-POWs who have given so much to the nation.”

The group of former POWs gathered for the April 9 event was smaller than it had been in previous years. “As you can see, the numbers have dwindled with each year,” Mendoza said. “They bring their memorabilia, their memories and experiences. What makes it nice is that our employees have an opportunity to come and talk to them.”

Richard Cooksley, 91, survived the Bataan Death March, imprisonment in the Philippines and forced labor in northern Japan. When asked about his longevity he shared his secret to long life. “Drink good Jack Daniels and don’t take anything a doctor tells you,” he said, with a wink.

Cooksley made the journey to the April 9 event from his home in the border community of Bisbee, Ariz. “It reminded us of Europe and we had been in Europe for three years,” he said. Cooksley remained in the Army after the war and ended his career as a “Cold Warrior. “

View Cooksley’s full account of his time as a POW at www.DavisMonthanAFBNews.com




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

Living the American Dream

SOUTHWEST ASIA — On Christmas day in 1991, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin in Moscow for the last time. People across the country took what jobs they could find, getting paid a fraction of what they made before as...
 
 

AFSOUTH Airmen visit orphans

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Redman) Staff Sgt. Katie Adams, Master Sgt. Roberto Vasquez and Capt. Sarah Hartenstein, all members of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), take a group photo with the children at Casa de Corderitos orphanage outside the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 18. The 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) members...
 
 

AF begins enlisted PME enrollment notifications

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Last week, the Air Force Personnel Center initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified....
 

 
Congeniality_pict

More than just Ms. Congeniality: Airman competes for homeless female veterans

For Tech. Sgt. Charmaine Pozo, the Ms. Veteran America contest was not about glamourous pageantry. It was about tireless advocacy – for a minimally acknowledged segment of those who have served in uniform: homeless female...
 
 

Enlisted evaluation, promotion systems updated

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With static closeout dates for each rank in place, the Air Force announced it will update the enlisted performance report forms and utilize new forced distribution and senior rater stratification restrictions to round out the incremental changes to enlisted evaluation and promotion systems with performance as the driving factor in promotions. For...
 
 

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III that the standards will stay the same....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>