Copper Area News
Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, was National POW/MIA Recognition Day. A ceremony was held at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson and sponsored by Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The ceremony honored our Prisoners of War and the Missing in Action and their families.
Opening remarks were followed by the National Anthem and an invocation. A POW/MIA Table Ceremony was then held and a recognition of those POW/MIA members in attendance. They received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
Colonel Thomas H. Kirk, Jr. was the guest speaker. Colonel Kirk is a decorated veteran of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. He served his country for 28 years before retiring in 1978.
Colonel Kirk’s plane was shot down during a bombing raid over Hanoi, North Vietnam in 1967. He spent five and a half years as a Prisoner of War in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” where he met and became friends with John McCain and shared a cell with him. The Colonel spoke about his experiences as a POW and how it affected his family. They did not know if he was alive or dead for three years.
Following the closing remarks by Colonel James P. Meger, the audience was invited outside where “Taps” was played and they got to view a Missing Man Flyover by the 357th Fighter Squadron stationed at Davis-Monthan.
One of those POWs recognized was Mic Johnson from Kearny, Arizona. Mic along with a number of his family members attended. Mic was a POW during World War II. His story is unusual in that he was a civilian when taken prisoner. The story of civilian POWs is not well known even though nearly 14,000 American civilian men, women and children were taken prisoner by the Japanese in the early days of the War in the Pacific. Mic’s story will be told in the following weeks.