Continuing the tradition of honoring fallen, former, and active military personnel, the Eugene Emeralds and Oregon Ducks baseball team have installed a tribute at PK Park that will remind all in attendance about the sacrifice of thousands. Recognizing MIA and POW soldiers and sailors from all wars, the Oregon baseball and Eugene Emeralds organizations have decided to paint one seat in PK Park black with the POW/MIA logo.
The seat will be section 11, row 14, seat 1 and will remain unoccupied for all future contests. The official announcement of the seat will be made at Oregon’s contest against Oregon State on Friday night. The Ducks and Beavers are currently in the midst of a three-game series that will determine the Pac-12 Title. Oregon took game one last night by a score of 3-0, and both teams currently boast a record of 20-5 in conference play.
“Honoring the true heroes who have given their lives for our country is something we should do more often,” said Oregon baseball head coach George Horton in a statement on Goducks.com. “Hopefully this tribute at PK Park will serve as a reminder to our players and our fans that others have given the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.”
The Oregon athletic facilities department bought and eventually installed the chair, the UO ticketing office identified where the seat would be located, and the Eugene Emeralds’ organization took care of the plaque.
The Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office lists 83,358 former military personnel as “Unaccounted for from Past Conflicts“. 73,661 soldiers are missing from World War II, 7,918 are missing from the Korean War, 126 are missing from the Cold War, 1,647 are missing from the Vietnam War, and six are missing from Iraq as well as other conflicts.
Master Sgt. Olen B. Williams, Pfc. James L. Constant, and 1st Lt. Robert G. Fenstermacher were recently identified and buried with full military honors. Williams was in the U.S. Army, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division and lost in North Korea in 1950. Constant was in the U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division and lost in South Korea in 1950. Fenstermacher was in the U.S. Army Air Force, 506th Fighter Squadron, 404th Fighter Group and was lost in Belgium in 1944.
In POWs and MIAs: Status and Accounting Issues (June, 2005) by Robert L. Goldich, numbers show that 142,233 military personnel have been classified as a POW. Of the 142,233, 125,208 were returned to U.S. Military control, 21 refused repatriation, and 17,004 died while they were still a POW.