Team Dover honors POW/MIA Recognition Day

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John Rossi
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, held its annual POW/MIA Recognition Day event Sept. 14-15, 2023, on base. This year’s commemoration began with a 24-hour ruck and culminated in a total-force ceremony.

The ruck included 12 different base agencies working to keep both the American and POW/MIA flags in constant motion for 24 hours around the outdoor track. Master Sgt. Christopher Berube, the event project officer, said even though 121 people signed up for the ruck, he estimates there were over 200 attendees.

“It was amazing to witness the teams coming together to honor the 73 repatriated Americans from this year,” said Berube.

He added, working with the 436th and 512th airlift wings, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, and everyone else involved was awe inspiring.

After the ruck concluded, an observance began at the base flagpole and featured four guest speakers. One of them described the repatriation process, and the others read the names of the 73 Americans who had been repatriated over the past year.

Col. Jon Bergman, the 512th Operations Group commander, led a total force formation of active-duty and reserve members who stood next to 73 black-and-white POW/MIA flags during the ceremony.

 “We’re in the military, which means we may get called upon to put our lives at risk,” said Bergman. “If something bad did happen to you, knowing your country will do everything in its power to bring you back is reassuring.”

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s website, their mission is to provide their fullest possible accounting for missing personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation. Over 3,100 Americans have been officially accounted for since 1973.