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NAS Whidbey honors POW/MIA’s with fountain, fly-by, biker ride
As part of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, today, Sept. 16, the public is invited to a noon ceremony at the POW/MIA Sentinel Memorial Fountain on the Seaplane Base located near Building 13 on 260 W. Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor.
The service will honor all veterans whose remains have been brought home this past year and remember all those still labeled as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.
Guest speaker is Lt. Cmdr. Brian Danielson, a member of the National League of Families for POW/MIAs and former Individual Augmentee to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command who helped excavate the remains of a missing service member in Laos.
In addition to raising the POW/MIA flag, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 will perform a formation fly-by, NAS Whidbey Chaplain will give an invocation and the NAS Whidbey Island Honor Guard will render honors with a 21-gun salute and Taps.
“I feel it would be extremely appropriate, on a day in which we take time to honor warriors and patriots, to think of those men and their families who have been denied the ability to return to their home soil,” said Danielson. “This ceremony is important not only for the repatriated veterans, but for all the fellow servicemen and women who have given of themselves any measure of sacrifice for their country.”
Motorcycle riders are invited to join Lt. Kevin Jones, leader of last year’s ride and the Patriot Guard Riders, who perform specific “missions” for returning missing servicemen and current Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties for a rally leaving at 9 a.m. Any and all local riders are cordially invited to participate. The rally starts at the Intersection of Saratoga and Clover Valley Roads near NAS Whidbey Island, then head south to the Clinton Ferry landing and back north via the Coupeville ferry landing to the ceremony site.
According to Danielson, over 30 service members from World War II, Korea and Vietnam have been repatriated this past year through the efforts of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Defense POW/MIA Personnel Office.