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Team Andersen honors POW, MIAs

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Veronica McMahon
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Team Andersen Airmen carried out tradition and honored prisoners of war and those missing in action with a 24-hour vigil run and retreat ceremony Sept. 15 and 16.

This year's event kicked off with the run at Arc Light Memorial Park 4 p.m. Sept. 15, and was concluded at 4 p.m. Sept. 16. During the vigil run, volunteers ranging from small teams to entire squadrons ran in timed increments, carrying a baton which was passed among Airmen for a consecutive 24 hours through rain and shine.

"We are here to honor and remember those who haven't returned and to make sure they aren't forgotten," said Col. Donald Dreschler, 36th Wing vice commander. "This is a bit of a heritage as well; remembering those who are fighting and have fought in the past, and especially those who haven't returned home."

This tradition is demonstrated across the Air Force annually on the third Friday in September.

The baton carried during the run was inscribed with 19 names of military members stationed here who have been a POW or MIA. At the conclusion of the run, the baton was presented to Colonel Dreschler.

"We gather here to today as a remembrance of our responsibility and to stand by those who are serving," said the colonel. "To our heroes missing, we will never forget."

The colonel then joined with the ceremony's distinctive guest, Francisco Carbullido, and laid a wreath at the base of the General Andersen memorial in memory of those lost, deceased and never forgotten.

Mr. Carbullido was taken as a POW for three years and is the last remaining defender of Wake Island. He was recognized during the ceremony for all he endured.

"The ceremony was very impressive," Mr. Carbullido said. "It reminds me of what I went through, yet with this kind of ceremony I have no regrets. I hope people will remember this for there were a lot of sacrifices made."

Accompanying Mr. Carbullido was his son Phillip, who was also impressed with the ceremony.

"I'm honored to be here to witness this event and for him to take part in the ceremony," his son said. "It commemorates those still missing in action."

The ceremony concluded with the retiring of the flag in the honor of all POW and MIA who are not forgotten.

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