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CONR-1AF American, Canadian service members celebrated the service of Veterans

  • Published
  • First Air Force

American and Canadian service members from U.S. Continental NORAD Region- First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) celebrated the service of Veterans during two events on Nov. 11. 

Maj. Gen. Brian Simpler, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, CONR-1AF (AFNORTH) was a keynote speaker and personnel from 1st AF and 601st Air Operations Center -- America's AOC --  participated in the unveiling of an Honor Walk for Veterans at Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill, Port St. Joe, Fla. Next, the CONR Canadian service members at 1st AF held a Remembrance Day Ceremony on Tyndall Air Force Base as Canadians from coast to coast pause to reflect on all of those who sacrificed their lives in the name of peace and freedom. 

At the Port St. Joe ceremony, Chaplain (Capt.) Jacob Williams from the 601st AOC opened with a prayer followed by the raising of the flag by the 601st AOC Honor Guard with the Gulf County Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Two F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft and two T-38 Talon trainer aircraft from Tyndall's 325th Fighter Wing then provided a flyover for the community. 

Simpler addressed the attendees, noting that, "Ceremonies like these help us understand the true meaning of Veteran's Day and gives us an opportunity to talk to our children and grandchildren about what it means.”

The general observed that “Our Veterans, over 72,000 of who call this part of Florida home, have served in war and peace... Looking across this park, and thinking about those brave women and men these markers represent, and then thinking about those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Marines and Coast Guardsmen serving in harm's way right now around the globe...they are all cut from the same cloth--serving to preserve our freedom and way of life."

“You saw the jets fly over--Tyndall is the epicenter for training Air Force pilots in our most advanced fighter jets,” he said. “At First Air Force-Continental U.S. NORAD Region, we're responsible for the air defense of the entire CONUS and any United States Air Force activities in North America. We couldn't do it without the support of our community, so on behalf of all Veterans. Thank you."

About 25 military personnel from Canadian Detachment Tyndall, plus their families watching via video livestream, conducted a Remembrance Day Ceremony at Tyndall’s Airman Leadership School.

According to Canadian Lieutenant-Col Mark Hickey, Canadian Detachment Tyndall, “On this day of national remembrance, Canadians at home and abroad gather at military bases, cenotaphs, Legion halls, schools, cemeteries and parks to honor and give thanks to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of Canada.”

Canadian Col. Clay Rook, AFNORTH Chief of Transformation/A9 Director, delivered a speech to participants then, along with Hickey and Maj. Kevin Foster, dedicated a wreath of remembrance on behalf of the Canadian Government, the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Detachment Tyndall.

Rook, recounted examples of war correspondence from Canadian military personnel fighting in various wars to families back home. He concluded his remarks saying, “From both world wars, Korea, peacekeeping, peacemaking operations, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Libya and across the globe and training in the line of duty – we shall and must always remember their sacrifice and continue to teach our children and future generations the necessary lessons we have learned and the essential commitment to our values and to our country this is required to preserve the freedom we are so fortunate to have.”