By Maj. Anthony ClasSeptember 20, 2019
EL PASO, Texas - A single rose in the vase symbolizing the blood that service members have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of the United States of America....
Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team "Bulldog", 1st Armored Division, joined students and faculty of the Rio Bravo Middle School in El Paso, Texas, Sept. 20, to commemorate National Prisoners of War/ Missing in Action Recognition Day.
Sgt. Tyler Tallman, native of Dallas, Texas, culinary specialist and team non-commissioned officer in charge for 4th Bn., 6th Inf. Regt., 3rd ABCT, 1st AD, and his team constructed a Fallen Comrade Table, used as a symbol in military dining facilities and dining-in events to honor fallen and missing comrades, and spoke to the symbolism of each piece of the place of honor.
"For me, it's so everyone can recognize there's others that have come before us, and fought and done some tough things in the military on behalf of the country," said Tallman.
Ensuring future generations understand the significance of POW/MIA Recognition Day is important because at present, more than 81,000 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and other conflicts. Out of the 81,000 missing, 75 percent of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific and more than 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
"It's important because a lot of people don't understand the significance of the POW (Fallen Comrade) table," said Spc. Mark Speruta, native of Long Island, New York, culinary specialist for 4th Bn., 6th Inf. Regt., 3rd ABCT, 1st AD. "It's so they know the importance of what we're actually doing in the military and that sometimes friends and loved ones go missing. Some family members do not have closure with their loved ones that could be missing and may or may not still be alive. We have to explain 'this is for the fallen Soldiers (service members) or the Soldiers (service members) that are missing in action overseas.'"
The United States Congress passed a resolution authorizing National POW/MIA Recognition Day to be observed on July 18, 1979 and from 1986 onward the date moved to the third Friday of September. Sgt. Tallman and his team fully understand the significance of this event and they were honored to share our nation's military history, as somber as it could be at times, with those that may take the oath to serve their country in the future.
"Setting up the table (Fallen Comrade Table) is basically giving respect to those people who lost their lives in sacrifice to our country," said Spc. Alexis Hellinger, culinary specialist for 4th Bn., 6th Inf. Regt., 3rd ABCT, 1st AD. "We must always remember these events because it can teach other people, then those in the next generations will continue to want to join the military and stand up for what is right for our country."