Veterans

February 8, 2013

Down but not out: wounded warriors visit Creech

An Airman from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., talks with a wounded warrior about the MQ-9 Reaper during his visit to the base Jan. 28. The wounded warriors came to Creech as part of a tour of the Las Vegas area.

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Wounded warriors from across the country toured Creech Air Force Base as part of the Swett Warrior event Jan. 28.

Creech Airmen welcomed almost 100 wounded warriors from past conflicts, to include one Medal of Honor recipient.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to spend the day with these American heroes” said Col. James Hecker, 432d Wing/432d Air Expeditionary Wing Commander. “Their continued dedication to the military and their positive outlook continues to inspire us all.”

During their visit the warriors learned about the wing’s mission, saw displays of various aircraft and some were given the opportunity to fly a flight simulator.

“I think it’s awesome to see the difference in mission that the different services have,” said Army Spc. Brian Palmerville, security forces specialist currently assigned to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “I have to say my favorite part was the remotely piloted aircraft simulators.”

The veterans also witnessed a parachute jump by the All Veterans Parachute Team and a demonstration by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

“I am honored to be here,” said Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Col. Bruce Crandell. “I’ve enjoyed sharing my story with young warriors and look forward to events like these.”

The day’s events were especially significant to one wounded warrior.

Retired Senior Airman Brian Kolfage was reunited with Maj. Keri Walker, Directorate of Security Forces Headquarters Air Combat Command, eight years after she awarded him the Purple Heart medal in 2004 at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

“It was amazing to finally see Brian again. The last time I saw him, my team and I watched as he was placed on a C-17 medical evacuation aircraft saluting him as we walked off the plane,” said Walker. “To finally see him again smiling and happy was an overwhelming experience and a hug from Brian was what I needed as I head down range again.”

The smiles echoed the appreciation felt by those who attended the day’s events but one warrior summed up his thank you to Creech Airmen with his own perspective.

“Everyone always says thank you for what you do for us but I want to say thank you for what you do to the enemy,” said Crandell.




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