JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - On the third Friday of every September, people across the United States honor the prisoners of war and missing-in-action service members from all of the nation's conflicts.
More than one hundred locals gathered at the Lejeune Memorial Gardens for National Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day. The Onslow County Rolling Thunder, an organization dedicated to honoring those service members, hosted the ceremony.
Retired Chief Warrant Officer Guy Hunter was a POW for almost two months during Desert Storm.
"We had been up north of the Kuwait border running air strikes on some Iraqi divisions. When we went back up the second day, this time they were prepared for us," Hunter said.
According to Hunter, while on a recon flight mission in Kuwait in January 1991, his aircraft was struck down by a missile.
"Down we went in flames and landing in the middle of an Iraqi infantry division," Hunter said.
Hunter recalled he and several other POWs were held in an interrogation prison.
"They were pretty ruthless and vicious with everything they did," Hunter said. "They starved us essentially."
But Hunter said he never gave up hope, and then the day came when the war was over.
"Some civilian stood there in front of me and said in Iraqi, 'I can tell you this you're leaving today,'" Hunter said.
Hunter said he now speaks about his time held captive and teaches military members what to do if they ever find themselves in his position.
National Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day is one of six days throughout the year Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families' POW and MIA flag.