BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Service members from Bagram came together Dec. 23 to honor the memories of six Airmen killed in an improvised explosive device attack two days earlier.
“Today’s the day I remember and honor the sacrifices our fellow Airmen made for us, our country and our freedoms,” said Special Agent Heather Garver, Air Force Office of Special Investigations and part of Task Force Crimson, the unit to which the six Airmen were assigned. “While we mourn the loss of our family members and care for our injured, we must remain united. Our fallen heroes would want us to bounce back and press on with the mission we are here to carry out. We may be wounded, but we’re not broken.”
More than 200 service members representing multiple branches of service from nearly every unit on Bagram crammed into a packed clamshell tent for a chance to grieve before getting back in the saddle to continue the mission.
“How do we honor these six heroes?” asked Lt. Col. David Kelley, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain. “We honor them by pressing on with the mission. The same mission they were willing to give their lives for.”
Task Force Crimson, which is primarily comprised of AFOSI and Security Forces Airmen, contributes to the joint, multinational force protection efforts for the Bagram Air Field area including outside-the-wire security.
“These incredible Airmen were selflessly executing the NATO Resolute Support mission to ensure a safe and secure operating environment for all of our coalition partners,” said Maj. Met Berisha, 455th Expeditionary Security Force Squadron commander, who works closely with Task Force Crimson Airmen. “It is with an extremely heavy heart that today we mourn the loss of these phenomenal Airmen who keep the coalition team safe while we continue to assist the people of Afghanistan.”
At the conclusion of the memorial ceremony, service members in attendance paid their respects to the battlefield crosses which stood at the front of the crowd; each person taking a turn to take a knee and touch the boot or photo placed beneath the downward-turned rifle. Each person would then stand, render a salute and return to work.
“May we continue to carry the banner of freedom with the same honor and duty as our departed friends,” the chaplain said. “Let us fly, fight and win … together.”