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Wall signed by POWs saved from demolition

Bricks from a wall in Russell A. Steindam Hall signed by prisoners of war, will be preserved and displayed in a new facility.

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A portion of the Prisoners of War/Missing In Action (POW/MIA) memorial wall in the Russell A. Steindam Hall will not become rubble when the hall is demolished.

A square from the Detachment 825 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps‘ (AFROTC) wall, scrawled with handwritten signatures and messages, was cut away from the building earlier this month, preserved and will be displayed in a temporary space in the George I. Sanchez Building.

“Over the years, former POWs have visited the detachment and shared their stories with us,” said Col. Christopher Bowman, commanding officer of the university’s AFROTC unit. “Their example gave us a sense of what it took to persevere and keep the faith in the most difficult of circumstances. Though they demurred, we called them heroes and asked them to sign the POW/MIA wall in the Weatherall classroom.”

Construction workers prep the wall to be cut

Photo: Longhorn Airman on Flickr

The small block of names from the wall contain autographs by Paul Airey, Ken Wallingford and James Lamar among others.

“Their autographs are priceless and a part of our heritage,” said Bowman.

The autographs from the former POW/MIA wall will be displayed in the new Detachment 825 facility once completed in January 2013. It is a invaluable physical piece of what remains of Steindam Hall, according to the detachment’s Web site.

SpawGlass, a general contractor company, university Project Management and Construction Services and the Longhorn Airmen assisted in preserving the autographed portion of the wall.