Tag Archives: hero

Honor the fallen

By Air Force Social Media

While many Americans will enjoy a long holiday weekend for Memorial Day, do not forget the intent of the day. Remember those service members who lost their lives defending our nation’s freedom. See some of the courageous heroes who have recently paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar

Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar, age 40, died April 13, 2015, in a noncombat related incident at an air base in Southwest Asia while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve. Salazar, a native of Hermosa Beach, California, was assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron, 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineering Group.

Continue reading Honor the fallen

Through the lens: “Profiles in Bravery”

By 1st Lt. Holli Nelson
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Victoria Dyson poses for a studio photo in uniform
Deployed photograph of Staff Sgt. Victoria Dyson. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock/Released)

Every day, our Airmen at The Rock put on their respective uniform that signifies their service in the United States military. Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are all represented among this small deployed location, but they each are special and Staff Sgt. Victoria Dyson is bringing their stories to life through her photography while here.

Dyson, the 386th medical control center NCO-in-charge, created a project called “Profiles in Bravery” depicting deployed troops stationed here at The Rock. Continue reading Through the lens: “Profiles in Bravery”

A tribute to a warrior, patriot and hero to all Airmen

Col. George E. "Bud" Dayby Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff

I am the very proud son of an American fighter pilot, one of that treasured group who served in three wars, built an Air Force, and gave it an enduring example of courage and mission success.

My dad was a hero. As a young man, I asked him who his combat heroes were; he gave me only two names. One was Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse and the other was Colonel George E. “Bud” Day. My dad was not easily impressed, so I knew that if they were his heroes, they were very, very special men. I was right.

Earlier this year, my wife Betty and I had the distinct honor of attending Boots Blesse’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. And earlier this week, I heard that Col “Bud” Day had also “flown west.” Our Air Force is in mourning. We know we can never replace him, but today, as he is laid to rest, we can honor him.

Many of you know his story. He fought in the South Pacific as a United States Marine in WWII and later became the Air Force’s most highly decorated warrior. He was a Medal of Honor recipient with nearly 70 decorations, which span three wars and four decades.

The medals say a lot about Bud Day, but they cannot capture his unbreakable spirit, the life-saving impact he had on his fellow prisoners during his time in captivity, and the inspiration he has been to countless Americans who’ve been fortunate enough to have heard his story or shaken his hand.

In Vietnam in 1967, Major Day commanded a squadron of F-100s, the “Misty” FACs (Forward Air Controllers). Theirs was one of the most dangerous combat missions of the war, and they suffered high casualties.

On August 26 Day was shot down and captured. Seven days later, despite having a dislocated knee and a badly broken arm, he escaped captivity and evaded the Viet Cong for 10 days. He was recaptured just two miles from a U.S. Marine Corps camp at Con Thien. Getting so close to freedom only to be recaptured would have broken the will of most men. Not Bud Day.

He was eventually moved to a prison camp known as The Plantation, where he was tortured daily, and was later moved to the Hanoi Hilton. Due to his resistance and toughness, Day became an inspiration to other POWs. His roommate at The Plantation, Senator John McCain, wrote, “He was a hard man to kill, and he expected the same from his subordinates. They (his roommates) saved my life–a big debt to repay, obviously. But more than that, Bud showed me how to save my self-respect and my honor, and that is a debt I can never repay.”

In 1973, after more than five and a half years in captivity, he was released. The damage by the enemy permanently scarred his body, but his spirit emerged unbroken. A year later he was back on flight status, he became vice commander of the 33th Tactical Fighter Wing, and retired from active service in 1976.

Col Bud Day spent a great amount of his remaining years sharing his story with our Airmen, young and old. Over the past 22 years, many of those Airmen have experienced multiple combat deployments themselves, leaning on the lessons Col Day passed on to all of us, including his two sons, who proudly serve.

He deeply understood the challenges we face as a military service, “trying to keep America aware of the fact that Airpower has been a substantial reason that we exist as a free nation.”

I spoke with Col Day on the phone a couple of months ago, simply to introduce myself and thank him, on behalf of our entire Air Force, for his remarkable lifetime of service. I hung up feeling incredibly proud to be an Airman, and grateful that my real-life hero was even more impressive than I had imagined.

Future Airmen will honor his name and treasure his story, not because of the awards and buildings named in his honor, but for the legendary character, the unbreakable spirit and the values he demonstrated each and every day.

Airmen today strive to embody the same honor, courage, and integrity shown by Col Day and those who fought beside him. And we honor the sacrifices they made in the spirit of airpower and freedom.

“Push it up” Sir…we’re still following your lead.

Fighting the bad guys, taking great pictures

By Staff Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay
438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SSgt. Nadine Barclay
SSgt. Nadine Barclay

Traditionally, women in our country bore children and stayed home to raise them while the men left home to defend our nation against her enemies.

Times have definitely changed; today both men and women in the armed forces sacrifice greatly for just causes. We live in a world where life, love and the pursuit of happiness are common themes among Americans.

In keeping with this motto, many people say that their lives really started the day they arrived in the U.S. to pursue a new life or the day that they met their soul mate; for me it was actually a little different. My life started a couple years after getting married when at age 20 I became a mother and again at age 24.

During the month of April we take time to reflect on the reason most of us wake up every morning and willingly put our lives on the line. It is designated as a Department of Defense-wide observance, the Month of the Military Child.

As a U.S. Air Force photojournalist and the mother of two beautiful girls I have the distinct honor of doing both; defending my country and pursuing my version of happiness and count myself lucky to have the freedom to do so. But it has not been easy.

Before my oldest daughter, Avah, now five, was even two, I was called to serve on my first deployment at the same time my husband, a USAF crew chief, went on his remote tour to a base in southern Korea. On opposite ends of the world we were required to function as parents and as Airmen.

The day I left my daughter for the first time she was one and a half. It felt like the life was sucked right out of me and remained gone until the day I returned home to her four months later.

This time while serving in Afghanistan on a slightly longer deployment as an advisor to Afghan air force public affairs airmen, I have been placed into a slightly less difficult situation.

My daughters, Avah and Sophia, age one, are now with the only other person that I trust with my life and theirs. His name is daddy, and he is acting as both mommy and daddy; the prince charming that my daughters need him to be in my absence.

He has taken on the unique challenges that come with being a male mommy. The daily tasks that are usually performed by myself are now met with “I don’t like this food” or “my mommy does it different.”

My daughters don’t totally understand why I chose to serve and that it is sometimes necessary for me to be gone, however they adjusted like champs to the drastic change.

Never-the-less, at 4 foot 11 inches, I’ve never been compared to any super hero other then Mighty Mouse, the legendary super hero that fights evil despite his small size, until recently when my daughter compared me to the pink ‘Mighty Morphin Power Ranger’.

She said that I was “fighting the bad guys” and “teaching people how to take great pictures.”

I often get notifications from my daughter’s teacher explaining how I am never far from conversation in a classroom filled with four and five year-old girls that see me as a real life super hero.

The fact that my daughter brags to her friends and truly believes that I wear a pink leather outfit under this multi-cam uniform makes me laugh and inspires the hope and strength that I need to continue to move forward in helping enhance the capabilities of Afghanistan.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to travel on a humanitarian mission in southern Afghanistan and saw firsthand that I was lucky.

Using a popular video chat system, I sat and explained some of the privileges and freedoms we enjoy to my daughters. It is easy to take many of these things for granted.

Of course my conversation was met with more questions than a five and one year-old could understand, but I was pleased to hear that although I’ve missed a birthday, the holidays, the tooth fairy’s first visit and the Easter Bunny so far that I was still a prized mommy.

A statement that was reiterated by, ” don’t worry mommy, it’s ok that you’re gone but remember when you’re done doing your job we are all going to Disney World like you promised when you left.”

I have accomplished many things in my life, yet to me none mean more to me then my two greatest ones who wait anxiously for my return home. So although April is the designated month for military children, they should be rewarded and cherished for the sacrifices they make year-round on behalf of our nation’s defense.

Max Impact – Send Me [Music Video]

 

Video: This song was written by Master Sgt. Ryan Carson and Senior Master Sgt. Matt Ascione for U.S. Air Force Special Tactics. The video features our dedicated combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weather team members and tactical air control party members. These brave warriors are in the fight every day defending our freedoms and saving lives. “Send Me” says it all.