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8th Air Force commander sends Memorial Day Message

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Floyd L. Carpenter
  • Eighth Air Force commander
Mighty Eighth,

As we pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our great nation, may we never forget the ultimate sacrifice they have given to safeguard our freedom. From the legendary sacrifices of those who have served before us to the sacrifices of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines we have known and served with personally, may this Memorial Day holiday serve as a time to commemorate and celebrate the lives and selfless service of our fallen comrades

I recently had the privilege of awarding a Prisoner of War Medal to the family of Staff Sgt. James Taylor, an Airman who served with 8th Air Force as a Flight Maintenance Gunner during WWII. Sergeant Taylor, whose B-17 was damaged by flak after a bombing mission over Berlin, was among eight crewmembers who bailed out and were taken prisoner by the Germans. After capture, Sergeant Taylor endured eight harsh months of captivity in four different POW camps, but he survived with perseverance and returned home to marry his hometown sweetheart and start a family of his own.

However, with each generation that passes there are also countless numbers of men and women who go to war and never return to enjoy the freedoms they have died for. So wherever you are this Memorial Day at 3.p.m., please take a moment to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance established by Congress to honor all those servicemen and servicewomen who never had the opportunity to come home.

During the dangerous daylight bombing missions of WWII, 8th Air Force alone lost more than 26,000 Airmen in just a few short years. Today, in a nation still at war, our legacy of selfless service continues in Afghanistan, Iraq and all around the world. As we experienced nearly two years ago with the tragic loss of the RAIDR 21 crew off the coast of Guam, we live each day serving in a dangerous and uncertain profession of arms with the ever-present knowledge that some of us, at some time, will be required to give the ultimate sacrifice.

So please take time this Memorial Day holiday to celebrate life with your family and friends and enjoy the freedoms that we work so hard to protect. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our Air Force and thank you for serving with me as part of the 8th Air Force Team.