September 24, 2004
04-125

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Antonio D. Adams Student Assistant

ROTC Cadets Pay Tribute to POW/MIA

On Thursday, September 23, 2004, Valdosta State University's Air Force ROTC - Division of Aerospace Studies, paid tribute to both past and present prisoners of war (POW) and the men and women missing in action (MIA).

The 24-hour vigil in commemoration to those who have served and paid the price by being a prisoner of war or missing in action, took place on VSU's front lawn. To show reverence and remembrance, cadets were locked one at a time in a bamboo cage in hour increments, with a second cadet posted as guard. The cadet reenacting the prison scene was not allowed to speak during this period.

"I am honored to represent the prisoners of war and soldiers that were missing in action," stated Cadet 3rd Class Buddy McNeal, the first prisoner to enter the bamboo cage. The cadet was dressed in a flight suit and sat Indian style while waiting to be free again. The hour of captivity gave the cadets the opportunity to show the men and women the remembrance that they deserve.

"The prisoners of war and soldiers mission in action fought for our freedom and should not only be remembered today, but everyday," stated Cadet 1st Lieutenant Matt Nelson, the first cadet to guard the prisoner.

Cadet Major Greg Atwell, Arnold Air Society Commander, was in charge of the event. "People fail to realize the price that the men and women fighting for our country had to pay," stated Atwell. "The least we can do is spend one hour in captivity to honor them; some prisoners from the Vietnam War spent 7-8 years in confinement."

The POW/MIA flag was raised on Friday, September 24 at 7am on the front lawn at VSU.

For more information contact the Office of AFROTC at (229) 333-5954.