BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La --
The 2nd Security Forces Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, unveiled their first ever Security Forces Memorial Wall, Jan. 22, 2018.
The wall is designed to stand in remembrance of defenders who gave the ultimate sacrifice while deployed.
“To me it’s about pride,” said Staff Sgt. James Bryant III, 2nd SFS electronic security systems NCO in-charge. “This memorial allows us to remember those who have fallen and reminds us to have pride in our line of work. There is a purpose for what we do - it is not in vain.”
The unveiling was selected in remembrance of a tragedy that took place on the same day 12 years ago.
“Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton and Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy lost their lives during their 2006 deployment,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Lee Beck, 2nd SFS unit security manager. “We decided to unveil the memorial on the anniversary of their deaths to honor those two defenders.”
Maj. Ryan Natalini, 2nd SFS commander, spoke to his fellow defenders and guests before the official unveiling.
“We are here today to celebrate the lives of all defenders, and to recognize the 14 defenders who gave the ultimate sacrifice, who have been killed in combat since 9/11. Events like these are special to me, not only because we recognize the sacrifice of the few, but because we have hope that we will not have more laying down their lives for our nation,” Natalini said.
The original idea for the memorial was developed by Bryant, Beck, and Staff Sgt. Jolene Canaga, 2nd SFS commander’s executive.
“We realized we didn’t have any memorials at our squadron,” Beck said. “We felt we needed to honor those defenders who sacrificed their lives for others.”
Now, the 60 inch by 20 inch wooden memorial hangs inside the front lobby of the 2nd SFS building honoring those defenders who gave their all.
“Sometimes when we go to work we seem to forget why we are here,” Bryant said. “When you come in the building and see the names of those who sacrificed their lives, it encourages you to give your all in everything you do. This memorial represents our fallen defenders and poses as a remembrance of the sacrifices they made.”