FORT RUCKER, Ala. – The National POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony held at Fort Rucker's Veterans Park Sept. 16 honored the sacrifices made by prisoners of war, those who are still missing in action and their families.
“The tremendous sacrifice and personal courage of these great heroes in protecting our freedom serves as a shining example for all of us,” said Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general.
McCurry reminded attendees how fortunate they are to live in a community that loves and supports Soldiers, their families and the Army.
“We stand on the shoulders of giants,” said McCurry, as he told the story of Capt. O’Dell Stanphill, a former Army aviator and POW. Stanphill flew B-17s in World War II, and was shot down and held as a POW for 14 months before returning home.
“But he continued to serve,” said McCurry. “After the Air Force and Army split, he stayed in the Army and went to flight school again -- earning his wings for the second time.”
He explained that Stanphill moved to Fort Rucker when the flight school moved from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to continue his aviation service with the Army as a flight instructor, a contractor and as a civilian testing equipment with the aviation board before passing away in 2015.
“Once again we are reminded of the incredible love and support of our stalwart families, the dedication of our great Army civilians, and the continuous and unquestioned support of our Wiregrass communities.”
McCurry asked attendees to continue to hold in their thoughts and prayers the many service members currently deployed around the globe, and to help maintain that solemn promise to never forget.