By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Team Little Rock members observed National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day on Sept. 19 at Little Rock Air Force Base.
POW/MIA Recognition Day is traditionally recognized on the third Friday in September. It honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.
TLR remembered POW/MIA Day by hosting a 24-hour run at the Warfit Track. The run consisted of 497 runners, representing 27 squadrons from around the base, who took shifts carrying the POW/MIA flag, keeping the flag in motion for the full 24 hours.
The run started after retreat Sept. 18, and was scheduled to end Sept. 19, after a retreat ceremony, however weather complications altered plans. It began to rain Wednesday night and continued into the morning. The inclement weather pushed the run into the Fitness Center where runners continued to carry the flag.
“I know running in the gym can be monotonous,” said Master Sgt. Barry Lott, the 19th Operations Group deputy of plans and deployment and event organizer. “I’m really proud of the folks for adapting and overcoming and remembering what was really important.”
A group of five Airmen from the 19th Dental Clinic set up a tent with a single goal in mind: to alternate running among the five of them and maintain their presence for the full duration of the run. Once it began to rain however, they moved their camp inside the gym to the racquetball courts but continued to run. Taking one-hour shifts and cheering each otheron, the group managed to complete 136.5 miles.
“We sacrificed one day and that is nothing compared to what the men and women who we represented gave for our country,” said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Baer, a 19th Aerospace Medical Dentist Squadron dental lab technician.
Many Americans from across the country pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war, as well as those who are missing in action, and their families. Military installations fly the National League of Families POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.