Media interested in covering the POW/MIA Day ceremony should contact Naval Surface Force Public Affairs Office by 4 p.m., Sept. 16, 2015 at 619-437-2034 or 619-379-0478 and meet at Naval Base San Diego Pass & Decal office no later than 8:00 a.m. on Sept. 18.SAN DIEGO -
The guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) are scheduled to host a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Day ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, Sept. 18 at 10:00 a.m.
This year the Department of Defense recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. USS Stockdale and USS William P. Lawrence are named in honor of two POWs who served with exemplary courage and honor during their captivity in North Vietnam.
Retired Cmdr. Everett Alvarez, Jr., former POW and recipient of multiple awards including the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Purple Hearts will deliver the principal address. Alvarez was the first U.S. pilot to be downed and detained during the Vietnam War and spent more than eight years in captivity; making him the second longest-held American POW, after U.S. Army Col. Floyd James Thompson.
USS Stockdale was commissioned April 18, 2009 and is named for Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, a naval aviator, the highest ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war during Vietnam, and a former vice presidential candidate.
Commissioned June 4, 2011, USS William P. Lawrence is named after Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, a naval aviator, former Vietnam prisoner of war, and former commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet.
The first national observance held to honor America's POW/MIA took place July 18, 1979, at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., as a result of a congressional resolution. The yearly resolutions continued until 1995, when the president signed a proclamation designating the third Friday of September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
According to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, more than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the 1991 Gulf War. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women, both military and civilian, work in organizations around the world as part of department's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home.
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For more information on POW/MIA visit:http://www.dpaa.mil/Home.aspx