Peleliu observes POW/MIA day

19 Sep 2003 | Sgt. Mark P. Ledesma 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Hundreds of Marines and Sailors aboard USS Peleliu gathered on the ship's flight deck Sept. 19 to pay tribute and respect to past and present service members designated as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action."Today is our day to remember," said Col. Michael R. Regner, commanding officer, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), as he spoke to the many men and women formed in front of him. "Today is our day to remember your grandparents and probably some of your fathers."During his speech, Regner told the crew that from World War I through 1999 more than 142,000 service members have been captured and interned. More than 16,000 of those died as POWs. He also reflected on the harsh conditions POWs had to face during their captivity, such as filthy, cramped living conditions, inedible food and rancid water.Near the middle of the formation a Missing Man Table was set, giving honors to missing comrades at arms.The tribute was heartfelt by many standing in the crowd.According to 29-year-old Sgt. Ben K. Dawson, platoon sergeant, Headquarters Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, the freedom they fought for are the freedom that many of us fight for today and enjoy."It gave us a chance to reflect on those either Missing in Action or Prisoners of War," said Rock Springs, Wyo. native Dawson. "It's good to show them that we still think of them and honor them for what they've sacrificed for us."
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit