Vietnam POW Al Agnew to Speak at Sixth annual POW/MIA Convocation
Contact: Eric Leonard, 229 924-0343, ext. 201
National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day is Friday, September 16, 2011. In honor of that day, the National Park Service, the Friends of Andersonville, and Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) are hosting the 2011 National POW/MIA Convocation at 11:00 a.m. September 14 in Jackson Hall Auditorium on the campus of Georgia Southwestern. The public is invited.
Al Agnew is this year's featured speaker. Launched from the USS Enterprise during Linebacker II, Agnew was shot down during a reconnaissance mission over Hanoi, Vietnam on December 28, 1972. Though he safely ejected from his RA-5C aircraft and was not badly injured, he was captured and held until March 29, 1973. Agnew was imprisoned for 91 days. On March 29, 1973, he was the last POW to board the C-141 Hanoi Taxi for the return trip to the United States. Agnew attended the Attache Course at the Defense Intelligence Agency from January to April 1977, and from May 1978 to July 1980, CDR Agnew served as a Defense and Naval Attache to Sri Lanka. He also served as Executive Officer of the Naval Air Maintenance Training Group at Millington, Tennessee, from June 1983 until his retirement from the Navy on May 31, 1986. He is a former president of the NAM-POWs veterans organization. He now lives in Mullins, South Carolina.
The annual Convocation begins four days of area events in recognition of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Rolling Thunder's annual "The Ride Home" event will bring the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall to the GSW campus from Thursday, September 15 through Saturday, September 17.The wall is a three-fifths replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and is nearly 300 feet in length. Rolling Thunder ceremonies to remember military service members still listed as Missing in Action and to honor former POWs will occur on the campus of GSW or South Georgia Technical College. More information on the "The Ride Home" event may be found at http://theridehome.com/
The weekend of National POW/MIA Recognition Day is also a final opportunity for the public to visit the Remember the Pueblo temporary exhibit at the National Prisoner of War Museum. This exhibit features photographs, textiles, and other three-dimensional items related to the 1968 capture of the USS Pueblo. The North Koreans seized the ship and accused the crew of spying and intruding into their territorial waters. Over the next eleven months North Korean captors beat and tortured the crew to obtain confession statements. The United States and North Korea were not at war at the time so the crew was treated as criminals and not prisoners of war. The crew was eventually freed and returned home just in time for Christmas with their families. To this day the ship resides in Wonson harbor, North Korea.
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, GA and 10 miles northeast of Americus, GA on Georgia Highway 49. The site features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter. Andersonville National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park System and serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm with the museum opening at 8:30 am. Admission is free. For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, visit on the web at www.nps.gov/ande/, or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/AndersonvilleNPS
Did You Know?
The Sultana was a steamboat on the Mississippi River that sunk on April 27, 1865, after its steam boiler exploded. Of the 2,400 passengers on board, an estimated 1,600 were killed. A majority of the passengers, a little over 2,000, were Union soldiers many of whom had survived Andersonville prison and were returning home. Most of these men had survived the horrors of Andersonville only to be lost in what became the greatest maritime disaster in the history of the United States.