Team Beale honors POWs

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Team Beale held a 24 hour nonstop run and a remembrance ceremony to honor POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 15, 2017, at the Recce Point Club here.  

National POW/MIA Day is an annual observance held on the third Friday of September. It began as a way to recognize the nation’s prisoners of war and the service members who are still missing in action.

Sadie Moles and Obie Wickersham were both prisoners of war and guest speakers at the ceremony.

Moles was born in a POW camp during her parent’s imprisonment. Her father was a civilian who worked for the defense department in the Philippines before World War II. He was taken prisoner by Japanese forces at the beginning of his war along with his wife and Moles’ older sister. The only recollection of the ordeal she has are the stories her family would tell.

“My father had a radio he would use to help smuggle food into the camp,” she said. “He was imprisoned and beaten because of this, but he never gave up his comrades.”

Wickersham is a World War II and Korean War veteran who became a prisoner of war when Chinese forces overran his platoon during the Korean War. He spent 28 months as a prisoner and overcame many hardships.

“Being a POW in North Korea for 28 months was terrible. I was beaten, starved, and humiliated, but I survived it,” said Wickersham. “I survived because I had too much at home to give up. I had my family, my friends, and my freedom in the United States of America.”

After the event concluded, Col. Larry Broadwell, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, presented Moles and Wickersham, along with other POWs in attendance with plaques as recognition for their sacrifices.