Operation Welcome Home

  • Published

Maxwell Air Force Base will be celebrating our local Vietnam Era Veterans and the pivotal role Maxwell AFB played in hosting 43 returning Prisoners of War and their families on Feb. 14, 1973. We will be hosting several events starting with our Operation Welcome Home Kickoff Event, on Feb. 14 and continuing in March with a POW/MIA 24-Hour Relay and culminating in the arrival of the Vietnam American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall.


Operation Welcome Home Kickoff Event 

Please join Air University Library and the 42nd ABW on Feb. 14, 2023 in a virtual event kicking off Operation Welcome Home! This special event will recognize the 50th anniversary of Operation Homecoming. We will welcome guest speakers Col (ret) Carlyle "Smitty" S. Harris, Col (ret) Leon “Lee” F.  Ellis, and Captain (ret) Guy Gruters, three former POWs who landed at Maxwell fifty years ago.

Air University Library presents:
Operation Homecoming: A 50 Year Commemoration of the Return of Air Force Prisoners of War
When: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 2:00 pm
Where: Virtual

Join ZoomGov Meeting:
Passcode: 281855
Webinar ID: 161 185 1900
International numbers available: https://www.zoomgov.com/u/ac1damgGiA

Motorcycle Escort Ride for the Traveling American Veterans Tribute Wall

Calling all motorcyclists! Come join fellow riders in paying tribute to our Vietnam Veterans by being a motorcycle escort for our American Veterans Traveling Wall! 

Who's invited: This ride is open to the public for motorcyclists only. Participants do not need to have or coordinate base access in advance. 

When: March 12, 2023. We request all motorcycle escorts show up between 11:00-11:30 a.m. The escort ride will depart at 12:30 p.m. for Maxwell AFB. 

Where: All riders will meet and depart from the parking lot of Academy Sports and Hobby Lobby in Prattville, and proceed onto Maxwell AFB to the Officer Training School (OTS) track as the final destination. 

Sign-Up Deadline: March 7, 2023. Please register using the QR code or this link: https://einvitations.afit.edu/inv/anim.cfm?i=721308&k=0563430A7B5F

The Maj Samuel Deichelmann POW/MIA 24-Hour Eternal Torch Relay

POW MIA signup linkPlease join Maxwell AFB for the 50th anniversary of Operation Welcome Home. As one of only 10 AFBs to welcome POWs and their families back to the U.S. after the Vietnam War, our ultimate goal is to honor all POW/MIAs. In an effort to do so, we are hosting a 24-hour relay to run for and remember our veterans. Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. We need at least one runner to carry the torch and one reader to say names every 30 minutes for 24 hours.  Thank you!

Who's Invited: Maxwell, Gunter, and surrounding community

When: March 13-14, 2023, 8:30 am to 8:30 am (24 hours). The opening ceremony will begin at 0830 with the first runner beginning at 9:00 am.

Where: Officer Training School Track on Maxwell AFB

Sign up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4cadab29a6f8c52-powmia#/

Operation Welcome Home

Maxwell AFB is honoring the contributions or our Veterans with travelling display of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is the most visited memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Other famous and inspiring memorials will be on display spanning World War 1 to the attack in Fort Hood, Texas.Welcome Home Signup link

Joining forces with our sister military services, city, state, and regional organizations, Maxwell and River Region community aim to educate the public on the sacrifices of these brave Veterans.

Who's Invited: Open to the general public. Participants do not need to have or coordinate base access in advance. To enter the base, please use the Kelly Street Gate.

When: March 15, 2023 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Officer Training School Track on Maxwell AFB

Of note, there will be an official event ceremony from 10-11:30 a.m. on the Welch Parade Field on Maxwell AFB. The public is welcome to attend.

Sign-up: https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showRSVPSignUp/10c094baaa62da7fec25-operation

Afghanistan & Iraq Warrior Tribute
• Casualties Names
• Timelines
• Medals of Honor
9-11 Tribute
• Tower Casualties
• Flight 11
• Flight 77
• Flight 93
• Flight 175
Traveling Vietnam Wall
• 58,300 Casualties Names
• Vn Casualty Stats
• Agent Orange
• World War I
• World War II
• Korean War
• Vietnam War
• Cold War
• USS Pueblo
• Iran Hostage
• El Salvador War
• USMC Beirut
• Grenada Invasion
• El Dorado Canyon
• USS Stark Attack
• Panama Invasion
• Desert Storm
• Somalia
• Khobar Towers Bomb
• USS Cole Attack
• Fort Hood Attack


Background on Operation Homecoming in 1973

In 1973, Operation Homecoming became the massive effort to return 591 American prisoners of war held by North Vietnam following the Paris Peace Accords that ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Maxwell Air Force Base played a pivotal role in this historic event when they were selected to be one of only 10 Air Force bases to welcome the POWs home. Between Feb. 14 through April 1, 43 POWs landed at Maxwell and reunited with their families and loved ones.