ROTC cadets plan annual vigil and talks in honor of Veterans Day and POW-MIAs

University of St. Thomas Air Force ROTC Detachment 410 will conduct a POW-MIA vigil beginning at noon Thursday, Nov. 10.

ROTC cadets plan annual vigil and talks in honor of Veterans Day and POW-MIAs

An annual 24-hour vigil will be held at the University of St. Thomas to honor Veterans Day and Americans who are, or were, prisoners of war or missing in action.

The vigil, a tradition for more than a decade at St. Thomas, will start with an opening ceremony at noon Thursday, Nov. 10, and end at noon on Friday, Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day.

During the vigil, Air Force ROTC cadets will march silently past the flag pole located in the center of the quadrangle of the university's St. Paul campus.

St. Thomas has had an Air Force ROTC detachment since 1948, the year after the Air Force was created.

Two retired officers will speak on campus in connection with the vigil and Veterans Day.  Both talks, sponsored by the Arnold Air Society, are free and open to the public.

  • Retired Air Force Col. Jerry Driscoll will speak at noon Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall, located on the university’s “south” campus in St. Paul. Driscoll flew F-105s in the Vietnam War until he was shot down; he spent seven years as a prisoner of war at the “Hanoi Hilton” in North Vietnam.

  • Retired Air Force Col. Gerald Gustafson will speak at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, also in 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall. Gustafson flew the F-105 in 100 missions over Vietnam. He had to bail out twice, one time because he was shot down. He was rescued both times. He served in the Air Force for more than 27 years and received 11 air medals, three Flying Crosses and the Purple Heart.

For more information about the talks or vigil, call Rachel Willenbring, an ROTC cadet, at (651) 497-3005 or e-mail her at