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POWs share perspective

The Beale Air Force Base Honor Guard places the service covers of all the branches of the military on a table to honor the service members who were prisoners of war or those who remain missing in action at the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. More than 82,000 American service members are still considered missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

The Beale Air Force Base Honor Guard places the service covers of all the branches of the military on a table to honor the service members who were prisoners of war or those who remain missing in action at the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. More than 82,000 American service members are still considered missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Obie Wickersham, a World War II veteran and Korean War POW, addresses the audience during the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. He talked about his experience being held captive by Chinese forces for 28 months after his platoon was overrun. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Obie Wickersham, a World War II veteran and Korean War POW, addresses the audience during the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. He talked about his experience being held captive by Chinese forces for 28 months after his platoon was overrun. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Arthur Bishop, a World War II veteran and POW, shares his memories during the POW/MIA  ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. He was taken prisoner by Nazi forces in Germany. Bishop was held captive for 187 days after being caught behind enemy lines. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Arthur Bishop, a World War II veteran and POW, shares his memories during the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. He was taken prisoner by Nazi forces in Germany. Bishop was held captive for 187 days after being caught behind enemy lines. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

The Beale Air Force Base Honor Guard presents the colors during the singing of the national anthem at the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday of September as a way to honor America's prisoners of war and missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

The Beale Air Force Base Honor Guard presents the colors during the singing of the national anthem at the POW/MIA ceremonial breakfast Sept. 15, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday of September as a way to honor America's prisoners of war and missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  

Team Beale held a ceremonial breakfast to honor POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 15, 2016, at the Community Activity Center here.

National POW/MIA Day is an annual observance, which recognizes the nation’s prisoners of war and the service members who are still missing in action.

Arthur Bishop and Obie Wickersham were both prisoners of war and guest speakers at the ceremonial breakfast.

Bishop is a World War II veteran who was a private first class in the Army when he became a prisoner of war. Bishop was captured by Nazis while serving in Germany, and imprisoned for 187 days.

“I got caught behind enemy lines by German forces after tanks moved in,” said Bishop. “I had the drive to stick with it when I was a prisoner and I did a lot of praying. I was a prisoner of war until a few days before V-E Day.”

Wickersham is a World War II and Korean War veteran who became a prisoner of war while serving as a sergeant first class in the army when his platoon was overrun during the Korean War. Throughout his 28 month long imprisonment, Wickersham endured countless horrors at the hands of his captors. 

“I was beaten, starved, and humiliated, but I survived,” said Wickersham. “Survival was everything and I did whatever it took to survive. I had too much to come home to. I had my family, my friends and the United States of America to come home to.”

Wickersham went on to mention all the service members whose whereabouts are unknown.

“There are more than 82,000 American’s are still missing in action,” he noted.

There is an ongoing recovery effort for service members who remain unaccounted for being performed by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

 

For more information about supporting local POW/MIA organizations visit the National League of POW/MIA Families website and for more information about the search for service members still missing in action visit the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency website.