Team Wolf Pack honors POW/MIA during retreat ceremony
9/26/2012 - Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea -- "Throughout American History, many men and women have bravely served in our military and sacrificed much to preserve our country and protect the democratic ideals that make our nation a beacon of hope. Some of those who answered the call to service were captured in conflict and imprisoned by our enemies; and many remain Missing in Action," said President George W. Bush, during a national address Sept. 19, 2002.
More than 175 Airmen at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea participated in a retreat ceremony honoring Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action, at the base flag pole Sept. 21, 2012.
"I felt it was a great ceremony, recognizing POW and MIA," said event coordinator Senior Airman Adam Borgman, 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Airmen Committed to Excellence president, "It's a time to remember our American Heroes and how they made it through every day."
The 2012 nation theme is "'Until They Are Home,' and it pays special tribute to those families of service members who've sacrificed and endured on behalf of their loved ones.
With 35 campaign streamers and seven Presidential Unit Citations for distinguished combat performance over three of our nation's wars, the 8th Fighter Wing has a strong tradition of combat across the pacific, which unfortunately includes the legacy of POW and MIA, according to Col. John Pearse, 8th Fighter Wing commander.
During WWII the 8th Fighter Group suffered 49 MIA and two POW. The 8th Fighter Bomber Wing suffered 18 MIA and two POW in the Korean conflict. Finally during the Vietnam conflict the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing had 64 MIA and 56 POW, a total of 161 Wolf Pack members sacrificed.
"For the families of the POWs, the pain of not knowing ends if and when they come home. For the families of those Missing in Action, that agony of not knowing, never ends," Pearse said. "Our nation remains committed to searching and accounting for the remains of those still missing."
The wing commander was able to participle in a repatriation ceremony in January 2011, for two pilots who were lost during the Vietnam conflict. Pearse said he saw the satisfaction of closure for those two families of American Patriots.
"It is a time to remember those who have suffered as a prisoner of war in defense of American Freedom as well as those who remain missing in action. It is also a time for us to renew our resolve to never forget and ultimately to account for them and bring closure to their still grieving families...'Until They Are Home.'"
To date there are 83,417 POW/MIA according to DoD Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office:
WWII (1939 to 1945): 73,681
Korean War (1950 to 1953): 7,947
Cold War (1947 to 1991): 126
Vietnam War (1954 to 1975): 1,657
6 from Iraq War and other conflicts (2003 to present)