Operation Welcome Home Kickoff Event - February 14th @ 1400

  • Published
  • By Mark Gaston

Please join Air University Library and the 42nd ABW on 14 February 2023 in a virtual event kicking off Operation Welcome Home! This special event will recognize the 50th anniversary of Operation Homecoming. In 1973, Operation Homecoming became the massive effort to return 591 American prisoners of war (POWs) 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 February 14th through April 1st, 43 POWs landed at Maxwell and reunited with their families and loved ones. On 14th February 2023, Air University Library 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.

Guest Panelist:

  • Colonel Leon “Lee” F. Ellis (ret) is an award-winning author and international speaker and consultant on subjects like leadership and human performance, organizational integrity, operational effectiveness, and personal accountability.  After spending 1,955 days in captivity, then Capt Ellis returned home at Maxwell Air Force Base during Operation Homecoming on 17 March 1973.
  • Colonel Carlyle "Smitty" S. Harris (ret) is the author of the book "Tap Code: The Epic Survival Tale of a Vietnam POW and the Secret Code That Changed Everything". After spending 2,871 days in captivity, then Capt Harris was released during Operation Homecoming and returned home at Maxwell Air Force Base on 17 February 1973.
  • Captain Guy Gruters (ret) is the author of the book “Locked Up With God: My Best Thirteen Speeches”. After spending 1,912 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming and returned home at Maxwell Air Force Base on 17 March 1973.

Please join us to learn more about experiences and memories of Operation Homecoming from our guest panelists!

Air University Library presents:
Operation Homecoming: A 50 Year Commemoration of the Return of Air Force Prisoners of War
When: Tuesday, February 14th 2023
Where: Virtual (see ZoomGov/Skype meeting details below) or MSFRIC Auditorium
Time: 1400 (2:00 PM) Central Time (US and Canada)

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