Former POW to speak at event honoring WWII, Korean War
U.S. Marine Sgt. Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann (Photo provided)
NEWBURGH — A former prisoner of war will be the keynote speaker at an event honoring World War II and Korean War veterans in Newburgh this Sunday. U.S. Marine Sgt. Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann is the author of “Iranian Hostage: A Personal Diary of 444 Days in Captivity.” Hosting the luncheon at Anthony's Pier 9 is Hudson Valley Honor Flight, a group that provides vets with free transportation to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials. The nonprofit will also honor The America the Beautiful Concert Team, featuring Jimmy Starr, for its many contributions to the organization. The luncheon is set for 1-4:30 p.m. On Nov. 4, 1979, after months of turmoil marked by the return of the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun by militants and its employees taken captive. Sickmann was one of 65 Americans held hostage for 444 days before being released on Jan. 21, 1981 following 14 months of diplomacy by President Jimmy Carter. Three months later, Sickmann was honorably discharged after six years in the Marine Corps and received several accolades during his service, including: The Prisoner of War Medal, The Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Award of Valor, and Good Conduct Medal. His diary, which is no longer in publication, is the only known diary to have been smuggled out of Iran and published. Sickmann, who is retired as Anheuser-Busch InBev's U.S. national director for military and industry affairs, helped coordinate the “Here’s to the Heroes Tour” which salutes the men and women of the armed forces. As a member of Folds of Honor, Sickmann helps advance its mission of providing educational scholarships to the children and spouses of those killed or disabled while serving the nation. HVHF flies out of Stewart International Airport and Westchester County Airport. It serves veterans from the following counties: Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, and Putnam, in New York; Pike in Pennsylvania; Bergen in New Jersey, and Fairfield in Connecticut. Tickets are $55 per person, $35 for active duty military and veterans, and free for World War II veterans. Tickets cost $10 more at the door. For more information, call 845-458-1014 or email to: HVHF.Lunch.of.Honor@gmail.com.