30th Anniversary Operation Homecoming

Febuary 13-15 2003 - Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii

Some of the former Vietnam POW's were in Honolulu Hawaii at Hickam Air Force Base for the 30th Anniversary of the first release of POW's from the Vietnam War in 1973 (Operation Homecoming).

       The former POW's participated in the lowering of the flag ceremonies...


Hawaii's own Governor Linda Lingle and COL Al Riggle, 15th Air Base Wing, commander were present to honor and pay tribute to the former Vietnam POW's

Governor Lingle went on to praise the veterans...''We owe you a debt we can never repay for enduring hardships we can never imagine'' she said. ''It's almost unbelievable that people could survive so long under those kinds of conditions. It shows the strength of your character, the love for your family and your country." Lingle said that the price paid by men like the former POWs attending the past week's events should never be forgotten.(caption from the Hawaii Navy News)


The former POW's were each presented with a plaque by Governor Linda Lingle and COL Al Riggle.



The former POW's and their families joined the Repatriation Ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base for the return of what is believed to be the remains of American servicemen killed in Vietnam. (upper right photo courtesy of Hawaii Navy News-Air Force SSgt D.McCarrison)

Following the Repatriation Ceremony, the former POW's gathered at Hickam for a luncheon and panel discussion at the Tradewinds Enlisted Club.



Above left: Candido (Pop) Badua chatting w/ Col. Paul Bethke.  Above right: Pop and Dorothy conversing w/ co-former POW's Capt. Jerald Coffee, Capt. Jim Hickerson and wife.


Co-former POW Mr. Isaako Malo exchanging stories w/ Pop.             


A tour inside the US Army Central Identification Laboratory was very interesting and educational. Above right:Co-former POW Lt. Col Orson Swindle and wife conversing w/ Pop.


Dorothy, Pop and co-former POW CWO4 William Thomas recollecting their experience. Above right: Pop and co-former POW Capt. Ray Alcorn exchanging pleasantries.






You always take freedom for granted.  You never appreciate it until it is taken away from you...