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County will fly a lasting tribute to POWs
by Jason Collins
May 17, 2014 | 15 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Veterans watch as Armando Musquez places the POW/MIA flag on the pole outside the courthouse on May 1. The court approved first flying the flag, below the U.S. flag, during May but extended that on Monday to flying it year around.
Veterans watch as Armando Musquez places the POW/MIA flag on the pole outside the courthouse on May 1. The court approved first flying the flag, below the U.S. flag, during May but extended that on Monday to flying it year around.
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Capt. Robert Ferguson, retired former commanding officer of NAS Chase Field, received approval after asking county leaders Monday to fly the POW/MIA flag year-round on all county-owned flagpoles. Local veterans groups agreed to pay for the flags.
Capt. Robert Ferguson, retired former commanding officer of NAS Chase Field, received approval after asking county leaders Monday to fly the POW/MIA flag year-round on all county-owned flagpoles. Local veterans groups agreed to pay for the flags.
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BEEVILLE – County commissioners agreed at Monday’s meeting that the POW/MIA flag would not just fly this month but would remain a tribute outside the courthouse all year long.

Commissioner Ken Haggard expanded on Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez’s motion, saying, “I will amend that to include all Bee County-owned flagpoles.”

Capt. Robert Ferguson, retired former commanding officer of NAS Chase Field, said that the local veterans organizations have agreed to create and maintain a fund that would pay for the flags.

Last month, the court unanimously agreed to fly this flag during May.

Ferguson said, “I am personally, deeply grateful for you and your action on this part.

“Being a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, I have strong feelings about this flag, and it should be flown with or beneath our national flag.”

Ferguson said that his concern was that future county leaders might not have the same feelings as this court—which is why he was seeking this as a court action.

“I know the incumbent commissioners are so inclined, but we cannot be sure that at some future date that will be the case,” Ferguson said.

He praised the commissioners, saying they are carrying on a tradition that pays tribute to the county’s heritage as a former Navy town.

“I am not aware of any organization within the country that has taken this step,” Ferguson said. “You have always led in this concern with Chase. It was tops in the country.

“I am still grateful to say that Chase still sets the pace.”

Ferguson said he remembers all too well the fight to save that base.

“During the late ’80s, we fought desperately to keep Chase open,” he said. “I spent 45 days in Washington defending it.

“A salient fact for you to consider in your deliberation—38 percent of the Navy and Marine POW/MIAs lived in and around Beeville for a spell.

“They called it home.

“They lived and trained and received their wings of gold at Chase Field.”

County Judge David Silva added, “I remember that fight. There was not a pleasant end to it.

“I think the Navy is poorer for it. We are poorer for it as is the whole of Bee County and Beeville, especially.

“We move on, and this is one way in doing it.”

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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