Today is Memorial Day. This year, within the Air Force community I am part of, we have a special remembrance as we lost three tanker crew members in a KC-135 crash in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month. We haven’t experienced any fatalities in a KC-135 inflight mishap since 1999, so this feeling of loss hitting close to home is a new one for most of us in the KC-135 world. Outside the KC-135 world, I’ve lost quite a few friends in the Air Force, many of whom were fellow classmates from the Air Force Academy. One of my commanders during my pilot training 24 years ago said that losing friends is inevitable during one’s military flying career, and that certainly has become true. So I raise my glass to give a toast to all of my brothers and sisters in arms who died in the line of duty.
This is our class memorial at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado that was funded by the Class of 1989. It is located behind Doolittle Hall, the alumni building, where memorials from other Academy classes are located. It has the names of classmates who have fallen since we graduated.
Here are some other photos related to Memorial Day that I posted on my Facebook page…
USAF Honor Guard statue at the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. There are three spires there that rise up to 270 feet, but I don’t have a decent photo of them. The Air Force memorial was unveiled in 2006, and is the last memorial that was constructed after the memorials for the other armed services.
In 2010, I visited the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial located in Saint Avold, Lorraine, France, during a USAF TDY. This cemetery is a the resting place for 10,849 American soldiers who died during World War II around this region, which included the Battle of the Bulge. There are several cemeteries like this throughout France and other countries which hold almost 125,000 U.S. servicemen from both World Wars. The Lorraine cemetery is the largest one of them all.