Luncheon honors those injured, lost & who sacrificed freedom in armed service
Submitted by Bill Davis
About 500 military veterans and their family members were honored at the 36th Annual Veterans, Prisoner of War/Missing in Action, Purple Heart Luncheon in Hoban Hall at Barksdale Air Force Base April 18.
Hosted by the 2nd Bomb Wing and Retiree Activities Office at Barksdale, the luncheon paid special tribute to the men and women who served in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.
The guest speaker was retired Army General Charles “Hondo” Campbell, 17th Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command. He spoke passionately about the service of veterans.
“Veterans from our nation’s wars don’t seek accolades,” Gen. Campbell said. “They don’t even seek thanks. It is enough for veterans to have served. It is sufficient for veterans to have had the kinships that we shared in the tough and heartless crucible of war.”
The “National Anthem” and “God Bless America” were sung by Stacy Lee, and colors were presented by the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard. The Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band played music during the ceremony along with a medley of the U.S. Service Songs. A special MIA/POW table was displayed to recognize those service members who could not be present today.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. George Finck was the master of ceremonies for the luncheon that included service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. All service members formed the Parade of Heroes from the war in which they served as the Base Honor Guard displayed the Arch of Sabers.
Special recognition was also given to retired Air Force Col. Steve dePyssler of the base Retiree Activities Office for his continued dedication to his nation and community. Col. dePyssler, who will soon celebrate his 95th birthday, held every enlisted, warrant officer and officer rank up to colonel in his 38 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army and Air Force. He also served in World War II, Korean War, French-Indo China War and Vietnam.
Col. Leland Bohannon, Vice Commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale, recognized the family of Capt. Carl Jackson, Air Force pilot from Vietnam still MIA, and the importance of always remembering men and women who are missing in action or prisoners of war.
Gen. Campbell concluded the luncheon with a special thanks to all military veterans and their families.
“To all of you…those who have served and those who have supported those who have served, I thank you,” he said. “Your nation is grateful. May God bless the American Soldier, the American Sailor, the American Airman and the American Marine, past and present. May God bless all those who support them. May God continue to bless the United States of America.”
Lt. Bill Davis is Public Information Officer for the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office and retired Navy.