Ceremony commemorates disappearance of WWI fighter

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Tech. Sgt. Michael Joyner, (front row, second from right), stands in formation during the French Air Force ceremony commemorating the disappearance of Capt. Georges Guynemer, a French World War I fighter. (OR9 Phouangphet)

Airmen assigned to the 449th Air Expeditionary Group, stationed in East Africa, participated in a French Air Force ceremony Sept. 11 commemorating the disappearance of World War I fighter Capt. Georges Guynemer.

Guynemer was one of the highest scoring French Aces, accounting for 54 victories by the age of 22.  He was last seen on Sept. 11, 1917, attacking a reconnaissance plane near Flanders, Belgium.

In honoring his accomplishments, the ceremony was attended by many foreign diplomatic and military authorities, including the Ambassadors of Germany, the United States, and Turkey, as well as the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.

The observance was marked by the twilight flight of two Mirage 2000-5s of the 3/11 “Corse” Squadron.  In order to mark the resolutely international anchoring of the Djibouti platform as well as the links that unite the Airmen of the different countries, four separate formations respectively, composed of personnel of the Djiboutian Air Force, the German and Spanish detachments of the European Union Naval Force Operation Atlanta, and the 449th Air Expeditionary Group of the U.S. Air Force, paid their respects.

During the presentation of decorations, Guynemer’s inspiring quote, “If one has not given everything, one has given nothing,” was recited by Col. Francois Tricot, the commander of Airbase 188.  This quote signifies today’s Air Force Core Value of Excellence In All We Do.