RAF MILDENHALL, UK
NAME POC FOR EVENT ------------------------------------------ Capt Christina Bell Vigil Capt David Bell Retreat Capt Mike Shananham Retreat 2Lt Shane Prater Memorial Run SMSgt David Piper Bagging and Rededication MSgt Timothy Toth VFW SSgt Lisa Kinney Sundown Service and Breakfast SSgt Connie Dover Bowlathon SSgt Karina Jennings Base Paper SSgt Christina Treat Memorial Run SRA Marsha Kollmansberger Breakfast SRA RaAnn Swanson Car Wash
- Sun, 3 Sep 95: Held a car wash; charging only donations; raised $335.00
We had young and old volunteers out there helping us; the POW/MIA flag was flying and we were wearing our POW/MIA T-Shirts.
- Thu, 7 Sep 95: New POW/MIA flag presented for memorial.
The Top-Four Enlisted men and women on base provide new flags as we need them; flag was presented to Col Morehouse, Base Wing Commander who in turn presented it to myself. We had around 50 folks show up for this..
- Fri, 8 Sep 95: Bagged items for customers at Base Store for donations; raised $605.00
Set up a booth selling various POW/MIA memorabilia; raised $787.00
Volunteers offered to help us bag - in fact at times we had more volunteers than check-out points. We couldn't get over how deep into pockets folks went for us.
My wife and youngest son assisted me at the booth. We sold several brackets, coffee mugs, t-shirts, desk sets, patches, pins, and etc. But, most of all we got the "word" out to a lot more people.
- Mon, 11 Sep 95: Rededication of POW/MIA Memorial.
We decided to have a rededication due to the additions to the memorial we had just completed. The Base Wing Commander, several other Commanders, and about 200 folks showed up. Our POC for this event, gave the Introduction and Opening Remarks, one of our young men from the base gave the Invocation and a Reading, and the Wing Com- mander did the Dedication.
- Tue, 12 Sep 95: Bowlathon; raised $1400.00
Volunteers signed up to bowl and then went out and got folks to sponsor them. Once again, we couldn't get over how people came forward to help.
- Wed, 13 Sep 95: Sundown Service
This was the first time we tried anything like this. Like the other events leading up to Fri, 15 Sep, we wanted to keep this short but to the point. We had another young man volunteer to give us Readings and Prayers. In addition, another young man, his wife, and daughter provided us with two songs. We had about 100 people show up.
- Thu, 14 Sep 95: Memorial Run
The Security Police volunteered to do a 3.5 K run around the base (in formation). On the day, they had over 100 people to run. They formed 3 flights (all in black shorts and shirts) with one man out front with the POWIMIA flag. Their Commander led them off with all singing a special POW/MIA cadence. They started at the memorial and ran a route that took them near most of the busy areas of the base; ending back up at the memorial. They had a security car leading them and one bringing up the rear; thus traffic was stopped where ever they were. People all over the base stopped work to come out and see them - it was sight to remember.
- Fri, 15 Sep 95: Reveille, Vigil, Breakfast, Retreat
Reveille was at 0630. The Honor Guard raised the POW/MIA flag with American and RAF flags. The VFW laid flowers at the memorial.
Vigil started right after Reveille. The Wing Vice Commander read the first portion of names of those still unaccountable for. (He asked to be first as his college room mate's name is one of the first names on the list.) He then took his place standing vigil at the memorial while the next person read some names before taking the Vice Commander's place standing vigil. We had scheduled people to read names for l 0 mins and stand vigil all day right up to the Retreat. But, as in the last two years, we had so many people want- ing to take part that we had them waiting for a turn. So, we did away with the schedule and worked everyone in; we read the list of over 2,000 names twice during the day. (It should be noted that it rained all day - we still had folks lining up for a turn - each and every per- son stood vigil without any type of rain gear at all. It really drove the point home.)
The Breakfast started at 0730 at the Galaxy Club (an all enlisted club). The club once again did us proud. The tables were in red and white. We had one head table (round), the POW/MIA Table, and the remaining tables were in long lines out from the first two. My wife I provided a red ribbon with POW/MIA sticker as a label pin for each person. The Honor Guard posted the colors along with the POW/MIA flag. Our two MCs (Kinney and Kollmansberger) did the Opening Comments, a Chaplain from the base did the Invocation, our Guest Speaker was Col Neal T. Robinson, Director of Ops, Hq Air Intelligence Agency ( who had been a hostage in Teheran), and Kinney, Kollmansberger, and Prater did a Mother, Wife, and Son reading. We had 260 people for the breakfast.
Retreat was at 1600. (I must tell you here that the rains were still coming down. So, myself, Shanaham, and the Wing Vice Commander (the same man who's college room mate is still missing) to decide what to do. To make a long story short. it was decided that the Retreat would go no matter what the weather. We would not make anyone go out in the rain but the three of us would be there.) Once the word got out that we still wanted to have some type of Retreat everyone who had already volunteered, turned out. (Even our PA folks turned out with bags to put over their equipment.) We had three flights (one in flights suits, one in blues, and one in BDUs). Col Robinson came out too. Shanaham gave the Introduction, Vice Commander gave the Opening Remarks, Robinson had some great words for us, the Chaplain did the Invocation, and then the formal Retreat. The Honor Guard provided a gun salute, and the Special Ops Group held up their end with 1 MC-1 30H and 1 HC-I 30 fly over. And all of this was done out in a hard rain. In addi- tion, to those taking part, we had well over 200 other folks out there. You know what, even with the rain, when it was over, everyone stood around and talked about how great they felt for taking part.
Well, as they say, "that is the way it was". I can't begin to tell you what all of this meant for me and my family. Its not so bad being a Vet when things like this take place. And you find that a tear here and there is good.