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NEWS | Sept. 23, 2014

Joint Base Charleston honors POWs with POW/MIA Recognition Day events

By Senior Airman George Goslin Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Every year, on the third Friday of September, the nation honors prisoners of war and service members who are still listed as missing in action.

This year, Sept. 19 marked the observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Joint Base Charleston Airmen and Sailors held events honoring the commitments and sacrifices of those service members still listed as POW and MIA, and their families and the difficulties they've had to endure.

The two-day event began with a golf tournament to raise awareness on Wednesday the 17th of September, a guest speaker and the 24-hour vigil run on the base track initiated by Col. John Lamontagne, 437th Airlift Wing commander.

Former POWs and their families were invited to learn about Joint Base Charleston's missions and capabilities. The guests also participated in a  luncheon and toured a Globemaster III, C-17 static display. The two-day observance culminated in the retreat ceremony Sept. 19, to place emphasis on the POW/MIA sacrifices to the country and our commitment to bring them all home.

Capt. Chuck Jackson, spoke about his experiences as a POW in Vietnam after his F-4D was shot down by MiG fighters in 1972. He answered questions and gave advice on ways resiliency can help service members endure difficult situations.

Master Sgt. Charles Lauderdale, 437th Airlift Wing functional manager and standardizations and evaluations superintendent, coordinated the events.

"Hearing some of the stories of these POWs really puts things into perspective for a lot of people," Lauderdale said. "I can't imagine being in a POW camp, especially for months to years at a time. The constant abuse and horrible conditions; the kind of fortitude that you must have to not just give up speaks volumes about resiliency, and that's something we can all learn from."