Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, and first I'd like to point you to last year's post. There are a lot of other good tributes up today around the blogosphere, EagleSpeak has a good one, as always. There are several others, I suggest you take a look around.

As for me, today I'd like to remember brave men and women who have died in a conflict that is still being fought today. I'd like to remember all the personnel the USAF has lost in the current war...

1st Lt. Tamara Archuleta, 23, of Los Lunas, N.M.
Staff Sgt. Jason Hicks, 25, of Jefferson, S.C.
Master Sgt. Michael Maltz, 42, of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Senior Airman Jason Plite, 21, of Lansing, Mich.
Lt. Col. John Stein, 39, of Bardolph, Ill.
Staff Sgt. John Teal, 29, of Dallas, Texas
Staff Sgt. Scott D. Sather, 29, of Clio, Mich.
Capt. Eric B. Das, 30, of Amarillo, Texas
Maj. William R. Watkins III, 37, of Danville, Va.
Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, 24, of Del Rio, Texas
Staff Sgt. Patrick Lee Griffin Jr., 31, of Elgin, S.C
Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown, 32, of Coatopa, Ala.
Maj. Steven Plumhoff, 33, of Neshanic Station, N.J.
Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Walkup Jr., 25, of Millville, N.J.
Tech. Sgt. Howard A. Walters, 33, of Port Huron, Mich.
Tech. Sgt. William J. Kerwood, 37, of Houston, Mo.
Master Sgt. Steven E. Auchman, 37, of Waterloo, N.Y.
Airman 1st Class Jesse M. Samek, 21, of Rogers, Ark.
Capt. John J. Boria, 29, of Broken Arrow, Okla.
Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr., 21, of Georgetown, S.C.
Rick A. Ulbright, 49, of Waldorf, Md.
Staff Sgt. Dustin W. Peters, 25, of El Dorado, Kan.
Senior Airman Pedro I. Espaillat Jr., 20, of Colombia, Tenn.
Airman 1st Class Antoine J. Holt, 20, of Kennesaw, Ga
Master Sgt. Jude C. Mariano, 39, of Vallejo, Calif.
Master Sgt. David A. Scott, 51, of Union, Ohio
Staff Sgt. Ray Rangel, 29, of San Antonio, Texas
Maj. William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Va.
Capt. Jeremy Fresques, 26, of Clarkdale, Ariz.
Capt. Derek Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Wash.
Maj. Duane W. Dively, 43, of Rancho California, Calif.
Airman 1st Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson, 21, of Riviera Beach, Fla.
Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton, 32, of Miami, Okla.
Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, 28, of San Antonio, Texas
Staff Sgt. Luis M. Melendez Sanchez, 33, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico
SrA. Alecia S. Good, 23, of Broadview Heights, Ohio
Daniel J. Kuhlmeier, 30, of Omaha, Neb.
Tech. Sgt. Walter M. Moss Jr., 37, of Houston, Texas
Master Sgt. Evander E. Andrews, 36, of Solon, Maine
Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, 36, of Waco, Texas
Tech. Sgt. Sean M. Corlew, 37, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham, 26, of Camarillo, Calif.
Master Sgt. William L. McDaniel II, 36, of Greenville, Ohio
Staff Sgt. Juan M. Ridout, 36, of Maple Tree, Wash.
Staff Sgt. Anissa A. Shero, 31, of Grafton, W.V.

I know a roll call isn't the best way to remember them, and again, I encourage you to take a look around the rest of the Milblogs because everyone has a good and meaningful Memorial Day post up. However, too often we hear people disparage the contribution the Air Force is making to the war we are engaged in. These 46 Airmen, who truly embody the spirit of service before self, might have something to say about that.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

- High Flight, by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee

Rest easy, Airmen...I'll see you in the wild blue.