JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The 15th Wing will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Operation Homecoming, the return of American prisoners of war held during the Vietnam Conflict,  in a remembrance ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. April 4 at the memorial located at the Hickam Field Firestone/Exchange Station.

The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 included provisions for exchanging POWs. The plan to bring them home, known as Operation Homecoming, saw the return of 591 POWs to Hickam Field from Feb. 14 to April 4, 1973.

The ceremony, which will take place on the exact U.S. soil the POWs arrived at—what is now the AAFES mini exchange, will be hosted by 15 WG Commander, Col. Johnny Roscoe, and will feature key note speeches from Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command commander, and U.S. Navy Capt. (retired) Gerald Coffee, a POW that returned through the Operation Homecoming mission.

The event will be attended by three additional former POWs, distinguished military leadership, local government officials and civic leaders and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam service members.

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  1. Aloha

    I attended nearly all of the flights of returning POW's at Hickam as a 13 year old. My father Franklin C. Richard, YNCM (retired) was in the midst of his 2nd tour at Pearl Harbor. My mom Barbara J. Richard would bring the 6 of us on weekends and the 4 of us older kids for most of the flights during the week. This was so important that sometimes my Mom would keep us home from school so that we could go. My life was changed because of those couple of months. My appreciation of our Military personnel and their families grew immeasurably. I have several friends who are veterans and I am very proud of them and grateful for their service as well as the sacrifice made by their families. When my dad retired in 1988 after nearly 37 years of active duty service I cried. I knew the sacrifice he had made and the sacrifice that my mom had made and it brought me to tears. Just thinking back to those few months in 1974 also brings me to tears. Thank you to all who have served. Thank You!

    Lee Richard
    Mililani, Hawaii

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