KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Fighter Wing came together to pay a special tribute to service members who are, and were, prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) during a week-long memorial from Sept. 16 to 20.
“People associate POW/MIA with U.S. military only, but we are not the only ones who have loved ones who were never accounted for,” said Col. Lawrence Sullivan, 8th Fighter Wing vice commander. “Right here in Korea, both America and the Republic of Korea have POW/MIAs that still haven’t been found. Together, we’re doing everything we can to find them and reunite them with their families.”
To pay tribute to those lost but never forgotten, Airmen participated in several events throughout the week to honor the POW/MIA military members that number over 81,000. Many of those individuals are believed to be in the Indo-Pacific region.
The 8th Security Forces Squadron and the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal members completed a 10 kilometer ruck march wearing their body armor and ruck sacks, combatting fatigue and the beating sun, along with other Wolf Pack members who chose to complete the event.
Airmen from all over base took part in a 24-hour memorial run with each participant being given the name, rank and service of a different POW/MIA service member. The National League of Families POW/MIA flag was carried throughout the entirety of the run, to represent the never-ending hope that every family’s missing loved ones will be found and brought home.
“We have to have faith and the resolve to keep looking for our POW/MIAs,” said Capt. James Longe, 8th Fighter Wing chaplain. “The families and loved ones look to us to keep up the effort and support of finding their loved ones. If we don’t do it, who will? We owe it to those who served before us to bring them home.”
The week ended with a closing ceremony that brought the leadership of the 8th FW and the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 38th Fighter Group together in remembrance. During the ceremony, a member of the honor guard set the POW/MIA table and a charge was given to never forget fellow service members who sacrificed their lives to defend their home.