An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Scott honors POW/MIA Day with wreath laying, vigil run

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead, 375th Air Mobility wing

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Air Force Sergeant’s Association and members of Team Scott banded together for the 11th annual POW/MIA Day wreath laying ceremony and vigil run, Sept. 18-19.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is a day of reflection that honors the costs of war paid by thousands of American service members and their loved ones; where Americans reflect and remember service members captured during times of war and those still missing in action.

“My hope today is that our Showcase Airmen, Team Scott and … our proud community walk away with a heightened sense of gratitude for those small things—family, home, and duty,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel A. DeVoe, 618th Air Operations Center commander, who was the featured speaker at the wreath laying ceremony and official start to the 24-hour vigil run.

“Make the effort today, and always remember that we have teammates out there, fellow Airmen included, who have yet to come home. They answered our nation’s call. Let’s hold the line and honor their legacies.”

Every year Scott honors the legacy of one such individual and the struggles he or she endured during the official start of the 24-hour Vigil Run. This year’s honoree, Bob Teichgraeber, was held as a Prisoner of War for 421 days during World War II.

In a previously published article, he described that during his captivity, how he and his fellow POWs were subjected to brutal hunger marches in the cold and snow while enduring lice, fleas and dysentery.

“We were young,” he said. “We endured it.”

Then, on April 19, 1945, Teichgraeber and a fellow solider escaped and sought refuge in an abandoned home surrounded by farmland. One morning, while still in hiding, they were wakened by British soldiers with the news about the end of the war and saying “you’re free!”

Yet not everyone is as fortunate as Teichgraeber. There are over 81,000 service members still missing in action.

DeVoe said, “It is vital that we commemorate the sacrifices our brothers and sisters in arms made in conflicts past. Today, we set aside time to reflect on the pain and sorrow those teammates experienced and the agony of their families still waiting.”

Devoe was then joined by President of the local POW/MIA council, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Geof Bambic for the wreath unveiling and start of the 24-hour Vigil Run.  There were 55 volunteers who assisted 220 participants who logged 425 miles during the 24-hour period.

For the volunteers such as Tech. Sgt. Sarah Oh, 436th Supply Chain Operations Squadron, it was time well spent recognizing and honoring the POW/MIA family.  

“I want people to remember the ultimate sacrifice some service members and their families have given,” said Oh. “The main intention of this event is to recognize POW/MIA and remind everyone that they’re never forgotten.”