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 Team Aviano concluded its POW/MIA commemoration week with a retreat ceremony Sept. 29 at the 31st Fighter Wing Headquarters.
 Basemembers spent the week honoring the prisoners of war and those missing in action. Brig. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 31st Fighter Wing commander, and Italian air force Col. Luca Cappelli, Pagliano e Gori Airport commander, attended the ceremony.
 
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Base personnel honors POW/MIA
A wreath states "you are not forgotten" Sept. 29 at the 31st Fighter Wing Headquarters during a POW/MIA retreat ceremony. The ceremony concluded the weeklong POW/MIA week commemoration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)
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 BRIGADIER GENERAL SCOTT J. ZOBRIST
Base personnel honor POW/MIA

Posted 9/30/2011   Updated 9/30/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/30/2011 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Team Aviano concluded its POW/MIA commemoration week with a retreat ceremony Sept. 29 at the 31st Fighter Wing Headquarters.

Base personnel spent the week honoring the prisoners of war and those missing in action. Brig. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 31st Fighter Wing commander, and Italian air force Col. Luca Cappelli, Pagliano e Gori Airport commander, attended the ceremony.

"We are blessed with so much that we take for granted," Zobrist said. "The family members of those who are prisoners of war, those who are missing in action do not have all those things. Today and throughout the week, we have taken time to remember those who are prisoners of war and missing in action and their families."

During the week, Team Aviano hosted a series of activities as part of the POW/MIA commemoration. The week began with the Harley Owners Group and Green Knights' members participating in a reveille ceremony. Service members, civilians and dependents ran 111.5 miles Sept. 27-28 around the Dragon Fitness Center track as part of a 24-hour vigil run. Volunteers also read the names of prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.

Prior to the retreat ceremony, more than 60 volunteers, including military working dogs and firefighters in full gear, walked 10 kilometers around the base perimeter as part of POW/MIA ruck march. Free burgers were also served after the retreat ceremony at Freedom Park.

"The entire week showed how much the wing and local community appreciated all of the difficult times the POW/MIA members had to endure," said Staff. Sgt. M. Linette Quinn, 31st Munitions Squadron nondestructive inspection craftsman and POW/MIA organizer. "Considering the amount of events and the amount of hours that were required to ensure the events went well it would have been absolutely impossible without the many volunteers we had."

Event coordinators were key to ensuring the events went well and leadership and personnel throughout the wing helped with spreading the word about the events, Quinn said. Without the support of the entire base, this week could not have been a success.

"All of the events were to pay tribute to the past and present POW/MIA members," she said. "Many of the events were a test of the participants' intestinal fortitude. Though it was nowhere near the sacrifices the POW/MIA members have had to make, it was a small comparison for people to understand just how much pain the POW/MIA members have endured."



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