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Airmen Walk To Honor POW/MIA

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Farson
  • 117 ARW Public Affairs
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Crawford, from the 99th Air Refueling Squadron, coordinated and participated in a 16-mile walk to honor Prisoners of War and Missing in Action personnel on September 18 here at Veterans Park.

Each foot in the walk represents the more than 83,000 missing Americans in conflicts dating back to World War II.  

Military personnel and members of the community were invited to participate.  The event is an effort to show solidarity and appreciation by the armed forces and civilians so those missing will be remembered. 

"This is my way of trying to show support," said Tech. Sgt. Laribeth Matter from the 99 ARS. "We are giving everyone else the idea we are here and those before us are not forgotten."

Crawford and Matter started walking at 7 a.m.  Other participants joined in after it was kicked off and walked as much as they desired to show support.  A POW/MIA flag was handled and passed to different people to carry throughout the event. 

"This is a good way to recognize the faith we have in each other as service members," said Crawford. "The U.S. is not giving up on any POW or MIA."    

Crawford has led this event for the 117th Air Refueling Wing the past three years. He got the idea for the walk in 2011 after he participated in a similar event in Japan at Kadena Air Base.  The walk falls on National POW/MIA Recognition Day which is observed the third Friday in September each year.

For Crawford, the observance also offers the realization that service carries inherent risks and nothing is certain.

"We put ourselves in harm's way," said Crawford.  "There's always a chance we can end up in a bad situation like that."