By: Sandra Thompson
Please join us on September 21at 11:00 a.m. as we commemorate Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) day, hosted by the Vietnam Veterans Association, Chapter 511. This year as we remember and honor these heroes, we will have two very special guest speakers, USASAC’s Chaplain, COL Robert Nay, and LTC Douglas B. Gilbert, Research Analyst for Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
POW/MIA Day is recognized on the third Friday of every September. In 1979, a resolution was passed making it official. If you wonder why we would commemorate such a thing, you must look at the numbers of heroes listed as POW/MIAs. According to a Congressional Research Service report on Prisoners of War:
130,201 WWII service members were imprisoned; 14,072 died in captivity
7,140 Korean War service members were imprisoned; 2,701 died in captivity
725 Vietnan War service members were imprisoned; 64 of them died in captivity
Since 1991, there have been 37 service members imprisoned; thankfully none are still in captivity
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, over 82,478 American service members are still missing! That’s why we must continue to honor these brave men and women until every last one is brought home and given the proper honors. This year we honor these fellow service members with a very special program, which will not only feature the Missing Man Table, but two very special guest speakers.
Army Reserve Ambassador Douglas Gilbert retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with 29 years of service in the United States Army, Army Reserve, and Tennessee Army National Guard. He served in various commands during his military career, including the U.S. Army Accessions Command, 2135th Army Reserve Area Support Group, 125th Army Reserve Command, and the 314th Public Affairs Detachment. He is a graduate of the U.S. Command and General Staff College, National Defense University and Public Affairs School. Since retiring from the Army Reserve, he actively serves as a Research Analyst for the Tennessee House of Representatives, providing him the unique perspective on a myriad of topics directly and indirectly impacting the Army Reserve in Tennessee. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from the Middle Tennessee State University, and is currently pursuing his PhD from Argosy University.
Chaplain (Colonel) Robert Nay, a Medford, New Jersey native, enlisted in the United States Army as a Chaplain’s Assistant in 1987 after working several years in the hotel, restaurant, and tourism industry. During his first assignment with the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Chaplain Nay completed a Bachelor’s degree in History at Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma. On completion of his active duty enlistment, Chaplain Nay continued his association with the Army by becoming a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1990-1994. As a Chaplain Candidate, he served with the 108th Combat Support Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his Chaplain Candidacy, Chaplain Nay graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a Master of Divinity and served as Minister of Young Adults and Visitor Assimilation at New Life Presbyterian Church, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. He currently serves as the Security Assistance Command Chaplain at Redstone Arsenal.
Please call the museum at 256-771-7578 for more information.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum