HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Holloman Air Force Base honored service members who were imprisoned or remain missing-in-action with a 24-hour vigil and run September 20 – 21, here.
“Of those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman, we remember their service, their sacrifice for freedom and their unwavering patriotism under difficult and harsh circumstances,” said Col. Brian Patterson, 49th Wing vice commander. “Today we fly the black-and-white flag. It is a symbol to honor the POW/MIA community, but it is also a visible a reminder of our duty that we never leave our fallen behind who are missing, unaccounted for. We will not stop looking and we will never forget.”
A ceremony launched a vigil, with Senior Master Sgt. John Chacon, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron operations superintendent, speaking about the remembrance of POW/MIA, followed by a roll call of honor naming 12 New Mexico natives still in missing in action, dating back to the Vietnam War.
“A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of meeting a prisoner of war, Maj. Gen. John Borling, at an air show,” said Chacon. “He told me to call him if I ever needed anything.”
Borling was a prisoner-of-war, with the late-Senator John McCain, for over six years in Vietnam. He also authored the book, “Taps on the Wall.”
Chacon was so impacted by Borling’s story, he gave him a call while preparing his speech for the 2018 POW/MIA ceremony.
Chacon took away four things from their conversation about his time as a POW: live honorably; never lose faith with God or country; never quit, because to quit is to die; and always keep a sense of humor.
In addition to standing for the vigil, Holloman Airmen honored POW/MIA service members by volunteering to run with the POW/MIA flag. The run began at 8 a.m. 20 Sept. at the base track and lasted for 24-hours.