POW/MIA day commemorated at Nellis

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan T. Guthrie
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Four Rancho High School Honor Guardsmen stand in preparation for the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Ceremony at Freedom Park on Nellis Air Force Base Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. National POW/MIA day falls on every third Friday of September to commemorate service members who have and haven’t made it back.

The National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition ceremony was held at 8 a.m., Sept. 21 in Freedom Park at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

National POW/MIA Day is observed on the third Friday of every September to remember service members who were captured during battle or who are still unaccounted for to this day.

“Today, we remember those men and women that gave more than our nation could ever ask for, as they fought for freedom while defending those unable to protect themselves,” said Col. Ronald Gilbert, 57th Wing vice commander and guest speaker for the ceremony. “We remember our Prisoners of war and our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, that have yet to come home and are still missing in action.”

A Reserved Officers’ Training Corps student from Rancho High School salutes the wreath of flowers honoring service members at Freedom Park on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. The Prisoners of War/Missing in Action flag were manufactured for distribution in 1972 after Mrs. Michael Hoff contacted Norman Rivkees from Annin and Company to produce a flag to represent service members that were missing.

Five former POWs were honored during the ceremony: Richard Moyer, Mr. Vincent Shank, Dean Whitaker, Marvin Carter and Gene Ramos. In addition, the remains of six service members who were MIA: Army Pvt. Charles Kaniatobe, Navy Seaman First Class Robert Headington, Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Karl Loesche, Army Sgt. Eugene McBride, Army Master Sgt. Charles McDaniel and Army Pfc. William Jones.

Currently, there are more than 82,000 service members missing from the wars throughout U.S. history including World War ll, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and other conflicts.
 

Dean Whitaker, former Prisoner of War, speaks to people who attended this years the POW/Missing in Action ceremony at Freedom Park on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. Whitaker was captured after his plane crashed resulting in him being the sole survivor of the crash.

 

Attendees of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony stand for picture at Freedom Park on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. Newt Hiesley got the idead of the design of the flag by using his son as the man on the flag who medically discharged from the military.

 

Prisoners of war and their family members stand during the POW/Missing in Action ceremony in Freedom Park on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. Five former POWs and six formally MIA service members that were recently returned home, were honored at the ceremony.

 

Chaplin (Maj.) Jason Kim, Deputy Wing Chaplin, speaks at the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony at Freedom Park on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. Kim commissioned as a chaplain in 2003 so he could help Airmen and their families as they progressed through their Air Force careers.

 

A Junior Reserved Officers’ Training Corps student from Rancho High School holds a bouquet of roses at Freedom Field on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 21, 2018. A red rose symbolizes the blood that one comrade has sacrificed and the hope that family and friends have that one day they will return home.

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