EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
For most people the last week of June marks the true beginning of summer; entering a time when memories are made and stories are written. For a smaller few, families, friends, and Airmen across the Air Force, it serves as a reminder of the tragic events that unfolded on June 25, 1996.
A terrorist attack on a housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia left nineteen Airmen dead, and nearly 500 other civilians and personnel injured. Of those killed, twelve were Nomads of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Now, twenty-four years later, the impact of the terrible loss is still evident.
Yesterday, the 33rd FW honored the fallen Airmen during a ceremony at the Khobar Towers Memorial on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Families of the fallen Nomads were able to witness Airmen lead a display commemorating the sacrifice of those lost.
“We honor and recognize the individuals that fell at the Khobar Towers, remembering them for their efforts and their sacrifice,”said Master. Sgt. Jack Ramsey, 33rd FW cyber operations flight chief and narrator for the event. This is the 24th ceremony of its kind at the 33rd, and it is very important that we continue to honor the Airmen lost that day.”
The ceremony included a wreath-laying by 58th Fighter Squadron commander, Lt. Col. David Cochran, whose father, Lt. Col. Doug Cochran, the 58th FS commander at the time of the attack, was present the day of the bombing.
“Lt. Col. David Cochran embodies the connection we have and hold sacred between Nomads past and present,” said Col. Jon Wheeler, 33rd FW commander.
At the ceremony’s conclusion, nineteen Airmen recited the names of each of the lost before rendering a salute to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This honorable display, and those there to witness it, eternalize the memory of the fallen Nomads.
“At times like this, it is important to look to our past and our heroes for inspiration,” said Wheeler. “As we face new challenges we are inspired, once again, to look to our Nomads who said ‘send me, I am willing to give it my all.' Now, more than ever, their legacy inspires and touches us.”