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UK Air Force ROTC to run more than 25 miles for veterans, POW/MIA this Saturday

By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

American flagThis Saturday (Veterans Day) the University of Kentucky Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) Detachment 290 will remember and honor veterans and service personnel who are/were prisoners of war and/or missing in action (POW/MIA) through the revival of the POW/MIA run across Central Kentucky.

The student-led run is set to begin 6 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at UK’s Buell Armory. Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton will speak just before the run begins. Participants will then run approximately 29 miles to the Vietnam War Memorial in Frankfort. 

Nearly 95 cadets and cadre are expected to participate, including 10 from University of Louisville’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 295.

All participants will run the first and last two miles, with most relaying and running many more. Water and resting station checkpoints will be located every three miles along the route and state police will be on site to escort the runners.

The runners will display the U.S. and POW/MIA flags during the run and will conclude the event by laying a wreath at the Vietnam Memorial when they arrive between 11 a.m.-noon EST, to honor service members and their sacrifice.

Lt. Col. Daniel Sullivan, who joined the UK College of Arts and Sciences-based AFROTC earlier this year as its new commander, participated in the POW/MIA run during his time as a student at UK in the early 2000s. He says he is excited to work with UK students to host it again this November, as it serves as an important leadership lesson for the cadets. 

“It teaches them that we are serving a cause that is bigger than ourselves and more important than selfish ambition,” he said. “We are serving the U.S. Constitution, American citizens and the principles that our country was founded upon, even if that means sacrificing our personal freedoms for that cause. It also teaches them that they can go beyond their limits and attain goals that they previously thought were impossible by pushing themselves to run farther than they ever have previously.”

The community is invited to come out and cheer on the runners and honor veterans at their various checkpoints. See the attached map for location and expected times.

“Doing a run like this gives us the opportunity to show support and bring recognition; it also gives American citizens that live along the route an opportunity to show their support and take time in remembrance as well,” Sullivan said. “We (not just the military, but American citizens) must never forget the sacrifices of the men and women that have served our country and given everything in that service.”

More than 80,000 American service personnel are missing from previous conflicts and the POW/MIA Agency remains relentless in its mission to provide the fullest possible accounting to their families and the nation until they’re home.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.