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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

POW-MIA Remembrance Ceremony at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton

By MC1(SW) Michael R. McCormick | | October 1, 2013


Nearly 200 staff and guests attended the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton 23rd annual Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Remembrance Ceremony on the front lawn of the hospital Sept. 20.

This year’s guest speaker was retired Chief Warrant Officer Michael A. Clark, a 21-year Navy veteran and former curator and founder of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Museum, formerly housed at the Naval Training Center San Diego.

During his speech, Clark gave a brief history about the hospital’s annual service of remembrance and told those in attendance of how news of it has brought corpsman home.

“Several years ago the Secretary of the Navy had sent me a note after one of these ceremonies and said because of this ceremony and the news media covering it, more and more people became aware of these 12 missing corpsman from the Vietnam War,” said Clark.  “That led to more efforts to locate these missing men.  Now we are down to seven missing corpsmen.  As a direct result of this program, we have brought home five of the 12 and that’s a remarkable accomplishment.  I wish it was a little bit quicker than 23 years but we are going to bring them all home.”

After the guest speaker finished, the names of seven Navy hospital corpsmen, still missing from the Vietnam War, were read one by one as a banner with their photo was displayed for the audience by members of the hospital’s First Class Petty Officers Association.

Barbara Denton-Brownell, the daughter of missing in action hospital corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Manuel Reyes Denton, escorted by two sailors, placed a wreath at the NHCP Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Memorial in honor of all POWs and MIAs.  A moment of silence was observed followed by the playing of Taps by a bugler from the First Marine Division Band.

The ceremony was followed by a short reception for all attendees.