ROTC stands vigil on USU Quad to honor POW/MIA service members

Utah State University Air Force ROTC cadets stood vigil on Thursday and Friday to honor service members who have been prisoners of war or missing in action.

Around 5 p.m. on Nov. 7, the ROTC cadets started their 24-hour vigil. Every hour, two to four cadets took shifts in the honor guard — consistently marching around and keeping watch of the American flag, POW flag and the MIA flag centered in the middle of the Quad. Cadet Capt. Jacob Rieker, the public affairs officer for the USU Air Force ROTC, estimated around 100 cadets took part in the vigil.

Rieker said it’s an event to remember those who were unable to be recovered or were lost in combat while serving their county. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, there are nearly 82,000 Americans that have been missing since World War II.

“It’s a remembrance event,” Rieker said, “to remember not only the veterans who came back and served, but those who we lost.”

With his father currently serving in the Air Force, Rieker said the event is an opportunity to remember stories from his dad — stories of friends who lost their lives in service that Rieker had met visiting his dad at work.

“The rest of the world may never know their story,” Rieker said. “But for this 24 hours, for me, personally, it’s them and all the others who never got known for their sacrifice.”

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