Central Identification Lab - Hawaii, Maj Wayne E. Pearson, MIA Remains Returned and Identified
Honolulu Travel Blog› entry 20 of 116 › view all entries
I wore the POW/MIA bracelet for Maj Wayne E. Pearson every day from 1987-1993. In 1993 I was stationed in Germany and was sifting through some old Stars & Stripes newspapers before turning them in to be recycled. A small article was located on the inside pages that caught my eye momentarily, which read "MIA Remains Identified" so I read further. I immediately realized the identified person was Maj Pearson!
I went through the Air Force Casualty Assistance Office to see if I could get permission to contact his family or widow. I was granted permission to contact the family and wrote Julie Pearson, Wayne's widow about the fact that I read the newspaper article and that I had been wearing his MIA bracelet since 1987 when I was in Air Force ROTC at Southern Illinois University. I picked a random bracelet name from all the Air Force pilots in Illinois because I was an Air Force pilot candidate at the time.
While attending SIU in Carbondale, I had the privilege of playing Taps and standing guard at the "Travelling Wall" and several ROTC-sponsored POW/MIA Awareness Candlelight Vigil ceremonies. I was also able to make a pencil etching of Maj Wayne E. Pearson's name at that time.
In September 1994, I stopped through my home town outside Chicago during my move to Korea for my next assignment. While I was at home, I contacted Ms. Julie Pearson, and found out she lived 3 towns away from me and invited me to stop by for a visit. I flattened the bracelet before presenting it to her with some flowers at her small, humble home.
On 25 March 1999, while stationed at Hickam AFB in Hawaii, my in-laws, wife and I visited and toured the Central Identification Lab-Hawaii (CIL-HI). There I found Major Pearson's name on the "honor roll" of those returned and identified, so I made an etching and took pictures of his name on the "Operation HOMECOMING" Commemorative Memorial wall plaque.
On 9 September 2000 my family visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC while I was stationed there at the Pentagon. I was able to locate Major Pearson's name and made yet another pencil etching.
Although I have received a phone call from one of Wayne's relatives who flew for Delta Airlines and he called me while I was still in Frankfurt, Germany, I have since lost touch with Major Pearson's widow. I have replaced Major Wayne E. Pearson's POW/MIA Bracelet with another missing pilot from Illinois, Lt Col Jeffrey C. Lemon.
With all respect and honor to our fallen comrades--We salute you!