By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Team Little Rock honored National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Sept. 17-18 with a 24-hour run to pay homage to those missing and to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Since 1986, the third Friday in September is observed as POW/MIA Recognition Day. This year, the date coincided with the Air Force’s 68th birthday.
As the U.S. remains to be a country at war, the American Airmen continue to be among those at the front lines of combat.
Since World War I, approximately 83,400 U.S. service members are still unaccounted for, and more than 150,000 Americans have been held as prisoners of war.
While recognizing the Air Force’s birthday and National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Col. Charles Brown, the 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander, spoke to hundreds of Little Rock Airmen.
“Think about those that wish they could be here with us; those who wish they had the comradery and friendship here today; who wish they were with their families and who would give anything to do what we’re doing this morning,” Brown said.
The POW/MIA run on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, consisted of nearly 400 runners, representing 27 squadrons from around the base. Airmen took shifts carrying the POW/MIA flag, keeping the flag in motion for the full 24 hours.
The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. The father of a POW designed the flag after imagining what life was like for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores.
The flag began to fly around the Warfit track after retreat sounded Sept. 17. It continued to wave while in the hands of Airmen until retreat sounded again the next afternoon.
“Being able to participate in this event gives me a sense of pride,” said Staff Sgt. Jacqueline Jauregui, a 19th Operations Support Squadron commander support staff personnelist. “This is my sixth year running in a POW/MIA run and each time it reminds me of what being in the Air Force is all about.”