Goodfellow runs for POW/MIA

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 17th Training Wing hosted a 24 hour run, starting Sept. 8, to honor past and present prisoners of war and military members missing in action.

Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing commander, started the vigil with a speech.

“I want to thank everyone that took the time out of their day to be here,” said Mills. “This morning, some of us were downtown in San Angelo for a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, and in that, we were reminded of the almost 3,000 Americans and partners from over 90 nations who lost their lives on 9/11, in New York City and Washington DC as well.”

I thought it was kind of fitting that we end the day here to remember another group of key people, key Americans, who are missing in action as well as those held as prisoners of war. It’s not every day that we take time to actually think about them. So, the fact that we are gathered here today and for the next 24 hours, to run and remember those who have gone before, I think, is an honorable pursuit.”

I thank every one of you that are in formation today for taking that extra step. And I thank each member that is going to participate in the run.”

Col. Jeffrey Sorrell, 17th TRW vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Franklin Chism, 17th Mission Support Group superintendent, then began the run, carrying the POW/MIA baton. Participants would then take turns, passing the baton throughout the day.

“We’re getting folks to hold the baton and pass it along to everybody while trying to remember those POW/MIAs from the past and those we currently have,” said Maj. Mark Walkusky, 17th Communication Squadron commander. “It’s about remembering them and their sacrifice. It’s a small sacrifice for us, to remember the greater sacrifice that they made.”

Other runners agreed with Walkusky.

“I believe it is important for us to remember everybody’s sacrifice so that we can enjoy our freedoms today,” said Senior Airman Gabriel Ingram, 17th Training Wing Support Squadron cyber systems operator. “We have a lot of POW/MIA members who too often go forgotten. And this run is a good way to keep their memory alive.”

This vigil is important for our heritage. If we forget where we came from, how are supposed to move forward and live up to their expectations?”

In 1979, Congress proclaimed the first National POW/MIA Recognition Day on July 18 to symbolize the steadfast resolve of the American people to never forget the men and women who gave up their freedom protecting theirs.