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Out of the Museum

Remembering our POW/MIA service men and women

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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LINCOLN AREA ARCHIVES MUSEUM

Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

Response was great, regarding last week’s mystery item.

Hopefully, residents will know what this week’s mystery item is and respond with answers to carolf@goldcountrymedia.com.

Residents had great answers about the bracelet featured last week.

Dona Jones: “I knew what it was the minute I saw the picture.  I also have a bracelet from the Vietnam War era. It’s a POW/MIA bracelet with the name of someone who is either missing in action or a prisoner of war.  I do not know who the person is on the pictured bracelet or the one on mine, PFC Paul Hasenbeck.  I was attending community college in Cypress, California when I received this item. I often wonder how many named were actually found. It has been more than 40 years.”

Anne C. Birge: “It's a POW Bracelet from the Vietnam War. I wore one for one our POWs for over a decade, until it broke along with my heart.”

Linda Derosier: “This is a metal bracelet that was worn by myself and many others during the Vietnam war. The name in the bracelet and the date were in memory of either KIL (killed in action) or MIA (missing in action). I think the small hole in the bracelet was girls’ MIA. The idea was to wear it until the war was over and or the MIA came home.

I still have my MIA bracelet. I have checked the VN War memorial wall in Washington, D.C. three times and his name is still not there. I wore it until it broke in half.”

Mike O’Connor XPOW Feb. 4, 1968 to March 5, 1973: “The bracelet is a POW bracelet from the Vietnam War.  Navy Lt. William Metzger was shot down on May 19, 1967 while flying an F-8 Crusader off the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard, and released on March 4, 1973.  He was severely injured. We were probably at Clark Air Force Base at the same time.”

Ovlan Fritz, Jr.: “Last week’s mystery item is a POW or MIA bracelet. This lieutenant was either captured or missing in action during war/conflict. The bracelet is so we don't forget him and that he be released unharmed to his native country.”

Jeanne Fritts: “This week’s mystery item was a POW bracelet from during the Vietnam War. This started in the late ’60s. People wore them to keep the POW/MIA’s memory alive until they were released and came home (hopefully). Lt. Metzger was a POW in Vietnam for many years and eventually was released and came home to the U.S.A. There are still over 1,500 people still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia from the U.S.A. military from the war. I was a kid then but I had three uncles serve during Vietnam - one Navy, two Air Force.”

Gene Atwood: “The bracelet is an MIA (missing in action) bracelet from Vietnam. Lt William J Metzger was probably a military pilot shot down 5-19-67.”

Martha Reemts: “The name on the bracelet is that of a prisoner of war or one missing in action in the Vietnam conflict. It was meant to be worn by a person until, hopefully, the prisoner or his remains were returned to the United States, again, hopefully at the end of that conflict.”

 

From the Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents

Last week’s POW/MIA bracelet was donated to the museum by Mark Burdick of Roseville. The first bracelets were made by a Carol Bates and worn during the early 1970s.

Bates and another college student, Kay Hunter, wanted to remember American prisoners of war and expanded the program to include those missing in action. Bates was the national chairman of the POW/MIA Bracelet Campaign for VIVA (Voices in Vital America), the Los Angeles-based student organization that produced and distributed the bracelets during the Vietnam War.

Do you have a mystery item that you would like to donate or loan to the museum? Drop by any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and talk to a Lincoln Area Archives Museum docent about the item.

 

- Carol Feineman