Airmen honor prisoners of war

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Yeomans, Air Force Sergeants Association president, gives a speech during the POW/MIA wreath laying ceremony, Sept. 11, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Yeomans, Air Force Sergeants Association president, gives a speech during the POW/MIA wreath laying ceremony, Sept. 11, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Yeomans spoke to more than 100 attendees that included members of JBLM and local community members. (U.S Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Divine Cox)

Staff Sgt. Daniel Aguirre, 446th Security Forces Squadron fire team member, run at the McChord outdoor track during the 24-Hour POW/MIA Run Sept. 14, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Aguirre, 446th Security Forces Squadron fire team member, run at the McChord outdoor track during the 24-Hour POW/MIA Run Sept. 14, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. In recognition of POW/MIA Remembrance Week, members of the armed forces participated in an annual 24-Hour POW/MIA Run to show support for those who served and are not forgotten. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Divine Cox)

Team McChord Airmen participate in the 24-hour POW/MIA Memorial run, as part of the 2017 POW/MIA Remembrance Week, at the McChord Field track, Sept. 13, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Team McChord Airmen participate in the 24-hour POW/MIA Memorial run, as part of the 2017 POW/MIA Remembrance Week, at the McChord Field track, Sept. 13, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Between the participating teams, a total of 3,540 miles were completed during the 24- hour POW/MIA Memorial Run. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Divine Cox)

Retired Maj. Joseph Crecca, former prisoner of war and guest speaker, tells his POW story to attendees of the POW/MIA Remeberance Day Luncheon Sept. 15, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Retired Maj. Joseph Crecca, former prisoner of war and guest speaker, tells his POW story to attendees of the POW/MIA Remeberance Day Luncheon Sept. 15, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Crecca was held as POW for 2,280 days from November 1966 until his release in February 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Team McChord Airmen participated in POW/MIA remembrance week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Sept. 11-15 in honor of all prisoners of war and those missing.

 

The week’s events included a wreath laying ceremony, motorcycle ride, 24-hour run and remembrance luncheon.

 

An annual tradition, POW/MIA week brings together Airmen, Soldiers, and local community members from all over JBLM to honor, remember and commemorate the service and sacrifice of POWs and those MIA. This year more than 400 service members participated in the different events that were put on by more than 70 Airmen volunteers.

 

The week kicked off Sept. 11 with a wreath laying ceremony at Memorial Grove Park at McChord Field. The laying of the wreath offers a time to symbolizes both the beauty and brevity of life and reflect on and remember those POW and MIA who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

 

“It’s an absolute honor to remember these POWs,” said Col. William Percival, 627th Air Base Group commander. “This is our heritage and this honors really who we are.”    

 

The second event of the week was the POW/MIA Remembrance Ride Sept. 12 in Tacoma, Wash. More than 20 motorcyclists participated in the ride from Sprinker Park, Tacoma to Orting Soldiers Home in Orting, Wash.  

 

One of the largest attended events was the POW/MIA Remembrance 24-hour run Sept. 13 through Sept. 14 at the McChord Field track.

 

More than 300 Airmen, Soldiers and civilians ran continuous laps around the McChord Track from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday. A POW/MIA flag was carried by various participants throughout the 24-hours and a combined total of 14,159 laps and 3,540 miles were accomplished by the JBLM team.   

 

“This is a remarkable group of people here, that as busy as they are with the service they already bring to our nation each and every day, [they] took this time to be so vigilant and honor POW/MIAs,” said Col. Reba Sonkiss, 62nd Airlift commander. “A hearty thank you to all the Team McChord folks who put this together and all of JBLM.”

 

The week concluded with a POW/MIA Remembrance Day Luncheon held Sept. 15 at the McChord Field Club. The luncheon hosted 13 former POWs from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict.

 

The event’s guest speaker was retired Maj. Joseph Crecca, former Vietnam War POW. Crecca told his story of being held captive as a POW. He was held as POW for 2,280 days from November 1966 until his release in February 1973.

 

“It is a great honor to host each of you,” said Col. Percival. “It’s truly an honor to dedicate ourselves to remembering your service and sacrifice.”