NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Nellis Airmen gathered at the Tyndall Gate for its renaming in honor of Tech. Sgt. Wesley Simons formerly assigned to the 99th Security Forces Squadron, during a dedication ceremony Nov. 19.
Simons reacted to a bomb threat at the Nellis Main Gate and was in charge of traffic control for a cordon in 1999. After daylight began to fade he noticed one of his Airmen without a reflective vest.
Putting his Airmen’s safety before his own, he gave the Airman his own vest. As traffic continued he moved to fill a gap that he noticed within the cordon and was struck by a motorist. Simons passed away in a hospital after treatment failed to improve his condition.
Nellis leadership, family members, friends and Airmen of the 99th SFS and 799th SFS were in attendance and Simons’ mother, Christine Spaulding, joined the stage with Col. Barry Cornish, 99th Air Base Wing commander, and Maj. Richard Martin, 99th SFS commander, to help unveil a plaque created to honor his memory and the signifying of Tyndall Gate’s name change to Simons Gate.
Spaulding was very appreciative of the Airmen’s efforts to coordinate a successful event and felt moved that people remembered her son after a decade since his passing.
“I’m thankful that Nellis AFB has a gate named after him as a reminder for people to be more careful,” Spaulding said. “I’m thankful that even though he died at 37, I got to see the type of person that he was. He was a Christian who loved the lord and loved his country.”
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Lee Beausoleil, formerly assigned to the 99th SFS, was Simons’ flight chief in 1999 and was in attendance during the dedication ceremony.
“[Simons] is the person that trained me in all of the roles and responsibilities of the flight chief,” Beausoleil said. “He was very professional, extremely knowledgeable and unmatched really at the professional aspect of what our role as [security forces members] here at Nellis was. Simons knew almost every Airman by name. He took a vested interest in them even if he wasn’t there immediate supervisor.”
The dedication ceremony was a small but humbling way Nellis AFB is able to honor Simons memory.
“We are dedicating something in the remembrance of our fallen but on the same token this is where defenders work,” Beausoleil said. “We are the first line of defense and at this very gate [Simons] would have stood countless hours relieving his Airmen.
“We will not forget and we will not let future generations forget,” he added.
Airmen lined up at the dedication ceremonies end to shake hands and speak with Spaulding and help honor and remember a fallen defender.