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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Base honors POWs/MIAs;

By Cpl. Phuong Chau | | September 19, 2002

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Fourteen returned prisoners-of-war were honored as the base's special guests at the 16th Annual POW/MIA Recognition Breakfast Friday. Base commanding officer Col. Joseph R. Wingard, welcomed the returned prisoners of war and the families of Americans missing in action to the annual event and thanked them for their courage and devotion to duty. "We owe them our deepest respect and most sincere gratitude," said Wingard. Jacqueline Clark, management assistance and forms designer at the base adjutant's office here, sang an emotion-filled rendition of "God Bless America." The music seemed to spark thoughts and prayers in many of the guests. After breakfast, Wingard introduced the guest speaker for the event, retired Marine Lt. Col. Orson Swindle III. Swindle currently serves on the Federal Trade Commission. He was a POW for more than six years after he was shot down over North Vietnam during his 205th combat mission Nov. 11, 1966. Swindle spoke about the importance of remembering and recommitting to those lost in the nation's conflicts such as the Vietnam War and today's war on terrorism. "Some may suggest recent tragedies replace yesterday's. Not so, for they are part of the same cloth that we are," said Swindle. "Our grieving and remembering is proper, it is American -- we remember because we care Ð human life and sacrifices matter." The nation, determined and vigilant, has come together in a way that has not been witnessed in many years, said Swindle, who also asked everyone to support the president in this difficult time. The day of recognition was fitting due to falling shortly after the anniversary of 9-11. With the commitment to never forget fresh in everyone's mind, the recent events made recognizing those who sacrificed even more important, said Swindle. Other honored guests thanked the Marines who attended the breakfast for their commitment to the nation and to fellow Americans. Family members were also recognized for their unwavering support of those still missing in action. "Family members know of the tireless work to keep hope alive and they know the meaning of small victories É and they know about sacrifice. They show us the way," said Swindle. More than 900 Marines are still unaccounted for from the Korean and Vietnam War. Thousands of Americans who fought in conflicts prior to the Korean War are still unaccounted for according to Marine Administrative Message 425/01.Swindle also urged attendees to renew their commitment to help obtain answers about POWs/MIAs. People can voice their concern for these hero's whereabouts and let those in power know that POWs/MIAs are not forgotten. They can fly the POW/MIA flag and participate in events recognizing these heroes. Showing that these servicemembers have not been forgotten, a special table was set up in the front of the room. An empty seat at the table represented all those who are still unaccounted for. Salt on the plate signified the tears loved ones shed for those still missing, and a slice of lemon on the plate signified the bitterness of captivity. Swindle closed his remarks with, "We must keep our commitments if we are to expect courage and sacrifice from our next generation to face the challenges we now see so clearly." In the past, the Marine Corps Battle Colors Ceremony coincided with the base's POW/MIA breakfast. This year, the Battle Colors Ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 15.
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