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NEWS | May 1, 2018

Honoring, remembering the NATO ATC/A nine

By Airman Ariel Owings 87 Air Base Wing/Public Affairs

The Air Advisor Memorial Foundation hosted an annual remembrance ceremony at the Air Advisor Academy here, April 27.

    Every year the ceremony is held at Joint Base MDL on April 27 at 10:10 a.m., to honor, rededicate and remember the nine NATO Air Trade and Command/Afghanistan air advisors who were shot and killed during a tour in the Middle East in 2011.

On April 27, 2011 at 10:10 a.m., an Afghan officer, who was thought to be an ally, opened fire in the air command and control center, leaving nine air advisors dead.

The attack sent shock waves through the Defense Department, and in the wake of the tragedy, air advisor training changed forever.

            “When Col. John Olaf Holm set up the Air Advisor Academy here, he vowed to never let anything like that happen again,” said Wendy McDonald, president of AAMF. “He made sure the training the air advisors had going over to these foreign countries included not just language, customs and courtesies, but also combat training.”

            The Air Advisor Academy built a memorial made from brick and stone, in the form of two As for “air advisor,” behind the school house with donations raised by the surviving air advisors. The memorial has stones with the names of the fallen on the wall which stands behind a flower bed with an engraving and a waterfall between. The memorial stands on a base of red brick that holds engravings donated from family members and loved ones.

“This memorial is here because air advisors come from bases all over the world to train for the mission here at Joint Base MDL,” said retired Lt. Col. Sally Stenton, an air advisor volunteer. “While there are other monuments and memorials all over the U.S., this is where they were all trained.”

            The unique 7-year-old foundation supports the families of the nine fallen. It gives them an opportunity to celebrate and remember their lost loved ones together during this ceremony that is unlike any other.

“We are a small organization with a big purpose,” said McDonald. “We represent the families and we represent the fallen and we will never forget them.”

            Families of the fallen travelled from around the country to attend the ceremony, alongside members of the Joint Base MDL and air advisor communities.

The fallen air advisors remembered during the ceremony are:

    Maj. Phil Ambard

    Maj. Jeffrey Ausborn

    Maj. David Brodeur

    Master Sgt. Tara Jacobs Brown

    Lt. Col. Frank Bryant

    Maj. Raymond Estelle

    Master Sgt. Gregory Kuhse

    James McLaughlin

    Capt. Nathan Nylander

    Maj. Phyllis Pelky

    Maj. Charles Ransom