Air Force

September 27, 2013

Team Edwards honors POW/MIA

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Rebecca Amber
Staff writer

Tech. Sgt. Donald Martinez, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, runs with the POW/MIA flag to show his support. The flag was passed between members of his unit throughout the run.

Team Edwards hosted a series of events in honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Friday, Sept 20. The first was a fundraiser 5K organized by the Edwards†chapter of the Air Force Sergeants†Association. The fee for the race included a POW/MIA t-shirt that many participants chose to wear during the run.

First place runner, Staff Sgt. Gilberto Rodriguez, 412th Flight Test Squadron “Speckled Trout,” finished with time of 19:28.

“I make physical fitness a part of my daily routine and I think it’s very important to bring awareness, especially being part of the Armed Forces, you have to be fit to fight,” said Rodriguez. “It’s also about bringing awareness to POW/MIA. That’s really significant to me because any of us could be called to battle and that could be us one day. I don’t want anybody to ever be forgotten.”

At the end of the race, a plaque was awarded to the 412th Communications Squadron for the highest number of participants in the event, with 56 runners. The plaque stays with the recipient as “bragging rights” for the next year and will be re-awarded to the largest group, military or civilian, at next year’s race.

Though the group was not as large, the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron Remotely Piloted Aircraft Flight offered their own special tribute by passing the POW/MIA flag among themselves during the run.

The final tribute for Team Edwards on POW/MIA National Recognition Day Sept. 20; a public flag folding ceremony in front of Bldg. 1 immediately following Retreat.

“We decided to put this flag [passing] together as a flight unit, in remembrance of the POW/MIA people,” said Tech. Sgt. Donald Martinez, 31st TES. “They did a lot for us and we’re just trying to give a little back to those that came before us. Carrying this flag is very minimal compared to what they did for us. I figured we can do this together to show our support.”

Later that afternoon, the Air Force Flight Test Museum closed its doors to the public and welcomed in residents from the California Veterans Home in Lancaster, Calif., for lunch. The†AFSA used funds raised at the 5K that morning to provide the meal. The Blue Eagles Honor Guard also participated by presenting a private flag-folding ceremony for the veterans.

The final tribute was a public flag-folding ceremony in front of Bldg. 1 immediately following Retreat.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is about honoring those still missing from our nation’s past wars and conflicts and those who gave their lives and their remains have not yet been recovered and returned home.

It is observed on the third Friday in September and is one of six days that the POW/MIA flag can be flown.

The flag was created by the National League of Families as a symbol of concern for those missing in action or held as prisoners of war.




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