A Wear Red Friday, I won't forget anytime soon. I was among a large group gathered at Memorial Park for the Dedication of the Tactical Air Control Party Memorial and the Re-dedication of the Forward Air Controller Memorial. Simply put, these are the people who direct air strikes in times of war and also put their lives on the line doing it.
Seven new names were etched on the walls. That means seven men with seven families and many friends who are grieving for them and remembering their sacrifice. Among this group of heroes was Airman First Class Raymond Losano. Here is the description of what happened in April 2003, "Pinned down and mortally wounded, A1C Losano returned fire and called in for close air support. Refusing to take cover so he could successfully direct the attacking aircraft, A1C Losano used his last breath to call in the air strike that saved the rest of his company."
Benjamin Gonzales is the Uncle of Raymond Losano. After the service he told me, "I'm very proud, very proud that he served." Raymond's Uncle and the rest of his family have a rich history of serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Master Sergeant Steven Auchman is also one of the seven who were honored today. He was killed in a mortar attack in Iraq in November 2004. His sister Lisa Butcher was honored by all those who came to honor her brother and the others who paid with their lives to save others, "It's just wonderful. To think that so many years after his death that he is so well thought of."
More than three hundred names are on these walls. Colonel Sam Milam was the keynote speaker at this event. He reminded everyone about the courage of these heroes and the courage of the families they leave behind, "Behind everyone memorialized here is a family who has sacrificed as well. You won't find their names carved in stone anywhere, but their sacrifices are every bit as painful. Our fallen heroes would want us to do everything we can to honor them as well."