ANDERSONVILLE, Georgia (Aug. 18,2014)--National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. In honor of that day, the National Park Service, the Friends of Andersonville, and Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) are hosting the 2014 National POW/MIA Convocation at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17 in the Jackson Hall Auditorium on the campus of Georgia Southwestern. The public is invited.
This year’s featured speaker is Colonel Wayne Waddell, USAF (Retired). A native of Bremen, Ga., Waddell graduated from Georgia Tech and received his BEE and AFROTC commission in June 1956. He then worked for Lockheed Aircraft Company in Marietta, Ga. while waiting for his assignment to pilot training.
He reported to active duty in June 1957 in San Antonio and was sent to Bainbridge Air Base, Georgia for primary training. At Bainbridge, Ga., he participated in the experimental class that flew the T-37 for the first time in training. He then went to Laredo Air Force Base, Texas where he received his silver wings on Sept. 3, 1958. He was a flight instructor at Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta, Ga. until his move to Craig AFB, Selma, Ala. in Jan. 1961. There he was primarily and academic instructor but also flew and instructed in the T-33.
In June of 1965, Wayne moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the University of Southern California under an AFIT program, and got a Master’s Degree in Business in September 1966. From there, he went to Survival School at Fairchild, learned to fly the F-105 at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada and then to Jungle Survival School at Clark Air Base in the Philippines.
He arrived at Tahkli RTAFB, Thailand in April 1967 and was on his 47th mission over North Vietnam when he was shot down on July 5, 1967. His target was a railroad siding about 40 miles northeast of Hanoi. His plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire was barely able to evacuate the airplane. Captured almost immediately, he was taken to the "Hanoi Hilton". Col. Waddell was held for over 6 years by the Vietnamese and was released on March 4, 1973. Col. Waddell presently serves on the board of trustees for the Friends of Andersonville.
The annual Convocation begins four days of area events in recognition of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The annual “The Ride Home” event will host ceremonies to remember military service members still listed as Missing in Action and to honor former POWs on the campus of GSW. More information on the “The Ride Home” event may be found at http://theridehome.com/
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, Ga. and 10 miles northeast of Americus, Ga. on Georgia Highway 49. The national park 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 the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The National Prisoner of War Museum is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Admission is free. For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, or visit at www.nps.gov/ande/ Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndersonvilleNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/andeNHS
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About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.