In November, Congresswoman Tsongas submitted remarks to the Congressional Record recognizing Mr. Katsaros for his heroic service to our country and tireless efforts on behalf of veterans. The Congresswoman met with Mr. Katsaros yesterday (December 15) and presented him with the remarks.
Congressional Record Statement in honor of the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society
Thursday, November 17, 2016
“Mr. Speaker, every November 11th, we stop to recognize the brave men and women who have served our country in our armed forces. Having just marked Veterans Day, I would like to recognize one group of extraordinary service members in particular, the United States Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society, or AFEES.
Since the United States military first began using airplanes in foreign wars, members of the United States Air Forces have been forced to eject, crash land, or abandon their aircraft in an occupied country or territory. Once downed, these airmen had to evade capture by enemy forces, often times while suffering from critical injuries.
Of the downed aircrew members that were captured, many escaped from the enemy who were holding them in captivity. Many times, downed service members were aided in their escape and evasion by resistance organizations in those occupied countries. Thousands of brave, ordinary people took extraordinary risks at huge costs to both them and their families to help these brave Americans and help them return home.
In 1964, the United States Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society was created by the downed aircrew members who evaded capture. Today, AFEES includes downed aircrew members and people who directly aided them in escape and evasion and has more than 600 members, including members from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
I am proud to represent one brave AFEES member, the group’s President, John Katsaros of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Today, I would like to recognize the United States Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society and the achievements made by its members: to never accept captivity and to constantly strive for their freedom. Thank you for your service and for the inspiration you are to all of us.