POW/MIA 's honored - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

POW/MIA 's honored

Petty Officer First Class Melvin Thompson Petty Officer First Class Melvin Thompson
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September 8, 2006

Albany -- About a dozen former POW's and family representatives for MIA's were honored at the 20th Annual POW/MIA Recognition Breakfast at Albany's Marine Base.

 The second Friday in September is set aside at the Base to honor the men and women for their service and sacrifice.

Cindy Thompson attended Albany's recognition breakfast for the first time, as her father, Petty Officer First Class Melvin Thompson, a Colquitt native, was honored. Cindy Thompson said "Proud. It was very nice."

Cindy was only five years old during the Vietnam War, when her father's plane was shot down over the Gulf of Siam, on February 6, 1968. His body was never recovered, so he is listed as one of the 2583 unaccounted for from Vietnam. Thompson said "It's a good feeling to know that people have not forgotten him, and forgotten others who gave their lives."

 Colonel Michael Kampsen was Deputy Commander for Task Force-Full Accounting for the Marines, the force that searches for United States military killed in wars, to bring their remains home.  Logistics Command Chief of Staff Col. Michael Kampsen said "These numbers are going down because we live in a country that never forgets it's heroes."

Kampsen assured the Prisoners of War and the family of Missing in Action that they are not forgotten, and that the struggle to find fallen comrades remains to bring them home is still a priority mission.

Every year the Base sets up the Fallen Comrade Table during this ceremony. Every item on the table has a special meaning to honor those captured or lost in war.  

 Thompson said she will return to this annual event, to honor her father.  Thompson said "Oh, yes, oh, yes, every chance I get."  

September 15th is National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

From 2001 to 2004 54 American soldiers remains were recovered and identified in Southeast Asia.

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