721st APS Airmen honor fallen comrades

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen of the 721st Aerial Port Squadron conducted an annual memorial run on Ramstein Air Base, May 19, 2017.

The run honors Airmen in the aerial port career field who lost their lives within the past year in incidents across the Air Force.

“We’re showing them that we are a family,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Alessandrini, 721st Aerial Port Squadron air transportation standard evaluation program evaluator. “It’s not just a job. This is what we do day in and day out but we’re people and we put family first,” Alessandrini continued.

The memorial run began with a ceremony honoring Master Sgts. William Russ and Kelly Bartholomew, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner, and Airman 1st Class Russell De Leon.

While the runners were met with inclement weather, Alessandrini said it only added to the emotions of the event.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or shining, we’re going to do this to respect our port dawgs,” Alessandrini said, using a popular nickname for aerial port Airmen. “It’s a somber event because we’re remembering our fallen friends. It just adds that effect to it when it rains.”

Alessandrini said these traditions illustrates the camaraderie between aerial port Airmen, even if they are from different bases. The small size of their career field helps magnify the sense of community aerial port Airmen have, he said.

“There’s not that many of us,” said Alessandrini. “Odds are that somebody at your base knows one of the people that passed away because we’re such a small career field. We’ve always been a close-knit bunch.”