BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
For the first time, a Gold Star Base Access ID card was issued to a family member of a fallen Airman at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, July 27, 2017.
Forrest Carper, 2nd Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant, presented Larry Pierson with a Gold Star Card, which grants him base entry and access to support services, attend ceremonies and events.
Pierson’s son, Capt. Jordan Pierson, a C-130J Super Hercules pilot, passed away while on his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2015. Jordan was 28 years old.
“He loved flying. One thing Jordan always told me was, ‘Dad, I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this,’” said Pierson. “When he was about eight or nine, we visited the Air Force Academy. From then on, all he wanted to do was become a pilot and learn to fly.”
The cards are part of an Air Force initiative allowing Gold Star families unescorted access to Air Force installations to visit buried loved ones, attend base events and visit Airmen and Family Readiness Centers for immediate and long-term emotional support.
“This program is designed to help recognize family members who have lost an active duty service member,” said Carper. “We want to let these families know that they’re still a part of our Air Force family and always will be.”
The Gold Star ID program was implemented Air Force-wide May 15, 2017, for parents, grandparents, siblings and adult children of Airmen killed in action during international terrorist attacks against the U.S. or a foreign nation friendly to the U.S., or military operations while serving outside the U.S. as part of a peacekeeping force.
Although this access will not authorize holders to use recreational facilities, commissaries or the Exchange, it does permit them to receive care through the Air Force Families Forever program. This platform provides military survivor seminars, grief camps for young survivors, peer mentors and casualty care assistance to anyone grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military.
To welcome more Gold Star families to base through this program, each member is set to receive a letter signed by an Air Force installation commander closest to where they reside. If members are interested in obtaining the ID card before receiving notification, they can reach out to their local Air Force Families Forever program contact.
Applicants are subject to a background check before they are issued the ID card.
To reach out to the Air Force Families Forever program, call 210-565-1366.