DM Takes New Initiative to Honor Fallen Airmen

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Chief Master Sgt. Konrad Schwinn, 563rd Rescue Group Superintendent, speaks at the Wing Retreat Ceremony outside of Leo K. Thorsness Hall on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2019. Schwinn spoke about the sacrifices that Senior Airman Bejamin White and Tech. Sgt. Michael Flores made when they were killed in action June 9, 2010. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

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.

Airmen assigned to the 563rd Rescue Group fold the flag during a retreat ceremony at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2019. These Airmen were responsible for the flag detail portion of this ceremony which included lowering and folding the flag. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

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.
 

The 563rd Rescue Group hosted a retreat ceremony outside of Leo K. Thorsness Hall at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2019. This is the first iteration that has been dedicated to fallen Airmen. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

 
The names of Davis-Monthan’s fallen heroes are put on display at Heritage Park on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2019. This display is made up of the “Walls of Honor” that commemorate all of the Davis-Monthan Airmen who have died in combat. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)