By Patrick YoungSeptember 28, 2018
Community members gathered Sept. 21 at Marne Garden on Fort Stewart to remember our nation's Service Members who remain Prisoners of War or Missing in Action, during a ceremony hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 789.
3rd Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas was the guest speaker at the event, who emphasized the importance of the occasion.
"Today, as we fly the familiar black and white flag across our nation, we understand that it is not only a symbol to honor all of our POWs and MIAs, it is a reminder of our sacred obligation, to all men and women in uniform, that we will never leave them behind; we will never forget," Quintas said. "This promise, so significant to us, is the seventh line of our Soldier's Creed; that all Soldiers learn from our very first day in the United States Army, "I will never leave a fallen comrade."
Quintas said the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, established following WWII, estimates more than 82,000 Americans remain missing from all U.S. involved conflicts. Adding there remain 1,594 Americans unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. The 3rd ID itself has 554 MIA from World War II, and 272 unaccounted for from the Korean War.
"During these wars, and ever since, Families have endured the pain and agony of not knowing the status of their loved ones," Quintas said. "We, as a nation, must never forget those who have endured pain, deprivation and imprisonment while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States."
Quintas said, recently, the accounting agency announced two MIA Soldiers from the Korean Conflict were identified and returned -- Master Sgt. Charles McDaniel and Pfc. William Jones.
Since the end of the Vietnam War, more than 1,000 service members have been found and brought home.
"We will continue until the mission is complete; this is our solemn promise to our members of the Armed Forces, and as we've learned from our first days as a Soldier - We will never leave a fallen comrade," Quintas said.
For those who remain missing from Georgia, veterans from VVA Chapter 789, read the names of Service Members from across Georgia - calling for community members to keep them in their hearts and prayers.