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Team Shaw honors POW/MIA

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny
  • 20th Fighter Wing public affairs
Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, honored prisoners of war/missing in action during a remembrance ceremony, Sept. 18.

Brigadier General Joseph D. McFall, Ninth Air Force assistant deputy commander spoke of a specific Airmen who went missing in action 77 years ago.

“Last month, 23 years shy of a century, our nation finally brought closure to the family of Staff Sgt. Charles G. McMackin,” said McFall. “Despite the passing of 77 years, our determination relentlessly pursued the identification of this Airman.”

Congress first officially recognized POW/MIA Recognition Day in 1979 to keep the promise to remember every soldier who paid the ultimate price. Currently, there are 81,000 Americans unaccounted for from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and recent conflicts, with 75 percent of those missing (41,000) somewhere in the Pacific and assumed lost at sea.

“People ask me why I joined the military and I always say that I wanted to fly, but the reality of it is that I’m a big fan of history,” said Col. Ryan Inman, 20th Fighter Wing vice commander. “Millions of Americans in history have answered their nation's call.”

Inman said when he thinks about why he joined, he thinks about how he views himself as no better than the millions who came before him. He asks himself why he wouldn’t join and do his part to keep our nation safe.

“This ceremony symbolises they are here with us in spirit,” said Senior Airman Anny Barragan, POW/MIA event coordinator. “All Americans should never forget the brave men and women who paid the price of freedom.”