Story by Felicia Crosson on 09/20/2019MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. Nearly 75 hospital staff members, former Prisoners of War and Missing in Action family members along with other guests attended Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton's 29th Annual Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Remembrance Ceremony on Sept. 20.
The event was held at the POW/MIA memorial site located on the south side of the hospital.
NHCP's Commanding Officer Captain Shelley K. Perkins gave welcoming remarks including the history of the POW/MIA flag and its significance for those service members and their families. Capt. Perkins also shared the number of service members who are still missing.
"At the end of the Vietnam War there were 2,583 unaccounted for American prisoners, missing, killed in action or bodies that were not recovered. Progress has been made, primarily because of the focus on the importance of this effort and by working with Foreign Governments and Humanitarian Cooperation's post war." Capt. Perkins went on to say, "But we are not done. As of July 29, 2019 the Department of Defense lists 1,587 Americans who are still missing and unaccounted for. 90% of these are in Vietnam or areas of Cambodia and Laos where Vietnamese operated during the war."
She expressed how thankful she was to be with those who were participating in this ceremony and to stop for a moment and remember the work left to do and the importance of bringing closure to our families.
The ceremony included the laying of a wreath in remembrance of the service members who were lost or are still missing in action, the reading of the litany of remembrance, a moment of silence and the playing of taps. Before the conclusion of this year's remembrance ceremony, active duty Sailors of NHCP released black and white balloons as they read the names of the six hospital corpsmen still missing from the Vietnam War.
Throughout the 29 years that NHCP has hosted this ceremony we take note that the number of POW/MIA service members attendance has dwindled. It is more important now than ever to remember and honor the lives of all POW/MIA service members and their families. Here at NHCP, we remember.