The 563rd Rescue Group held a retreat ceremony outside of Leo K. Thorsness Hall at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2019.
This event was a standard retreat ceremony dedicated to fallen Davis-Monthan Airmen.
“We are taking this ceremony and dedicating it to honor heroes of Davis-Monthan that paid the ultimate sacrifice and commemorating their lives,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Lyda, 355th Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant.
This takes the emphasis of a retreat ceremony and dedicates it specifically to Davis-Monthan Airmen that were killed in action.
“The senior enlisted leaders on base came together on the new idea to make the ceremony more significant to the Airmen of Davis-Monthan,” Lyda said.
The 563rd RQG recognized the sacrifices of Senior Airman Benjamin White and Tech. Sgt. Michael Flores during the ceremony. Both Airmen were assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron and were killed in action June 9, 2010, in southern Afghanistan. Their HH-60G Pave Hawk was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade during a medical evacuation mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
As different groups from around base host this monthly ceremony, they will choose fallen Airmen from Davis-Monthan to recognize and to reflect on their life and service.
“The intent is to reflect and appreciate what these heroes have done,” Lyda said. “Life can get so fast and up-tempo that it is nice to be able to slow down and observe a moment like this in remembrance of them.”
Davis-Monthan is taking initiative using events like these to educate and empower its most valuable asset, its Airmen.