The National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum is located on 26-acres in Northeast Florida at the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Master Jet Base (1941-1999) currently known as Cecil Commerce Center.
The original POW/MIA Memorial, located just south of the Chapel of the High-Speed Pass, was dedicated to those Naval Aviators stationed at NAS Cecil Field during Vietnam and Desert Shield/Storm eras. This area is often referred to as Hero’s Walk & Freedom Trees. The “Vietnam War Memorial” was originally dedicated on September 11, 1973 by the families and service members who wanted to ensure these brave men would never be FORGOTTEN. A pavilion with a stage area, a metal starburst display of aircraft, and a granite base seal of this former Master Jet Base were located at the end of the Boulevard amongst the Pines. This area was often used by the base for recognition services and ceremonies.
A driving force behind establishing the original memorial was Mary Hoff, wife of MIA pilot LCDR Michael G. Hoff. Mary was also instrumental in developing the POW/MIA flag, now a Congressionally approved National Ensign. Besides the American flag, this is the only other flag authorized to fly over the White House and the only other flag that can fly on the same Flag staff as the American flag. Undoubtedly, this flag has become a very important symbol for the POWs and MIAs, their families and friends, and the enduring cause that they will never be FORGOTTEN.
The Chapel’s primary mission is to provide for the free exercise of religion for the Northeast Florida Community giving priority to military service members, veterans and their families. The vision is to bring awareness to a Historical Chapel which served thousands of military personnel and their families for many years prior to the base’s deactivation. The Chapel will memorialize all who were lost while serving at NAS Cecil Field, honor those still MIA (Missing in Action) and provide moral support for the families who seek their return.
The organization’s objective is to educate the American Public about those who are being held against their will, POW (Prisoner of War), and those still Missing in Action (MIA) from all branches of the military.
To preserve the historic significance of the Cecil Field Memorial Chapel and will be utilized as a military chapel for ceremonies, weddings, memorial services and retirements.