Forever linked

  • Published
  • By John Ingle
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
I lost a friend March 3. I was celebrating my 35th year of life, while his family was agonizing over his loss.

Life has a way of putting everyday activities into perspective.

Staff Sgt. Chris Frost, 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., was a true Warrior Airman. He was a Public Affairs professional.

I was never stationed with Chris, nor had the privilege to serve with him. I wish I had. He literally bled Air Force Blue. I don't say that to put him on a pedestal or make him bigger than the Air Force's mission. But he understood it. He knew the cost of telling the Air Force story. He knew the risks involved.

He took that with him when the Iraqi helicopter he was in crashed ... on my birthday.

Everyone in Public Affairs will remember Chris. Not because of his death; but what he meant to the PA community.

We all get wrapped up in the everyday duties of doing what the wing commander asks; of the latest national campaign to raise money; of trying to memorialize what the Air Force is doing today to make a safer world tomorrow.

Chris was Blue. He began serving as an enlisted member on a reconnaissance aircraft. He did his mission and he did it well.

He then joined the PA community and began telling the Air Force story.

I met Chris at an Air Force Journalism Workshop in October 2005. We were students at the time. There are some people you don't have to know long or very well at all before you take a fondness to them because of their likability.

He and Staff Sgt. Austin May, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, -- another former aircrew member now in PA -- would wear their flight jackets around like badges of honor. We all gave them hell about it. But we respected it as well.

As I think about this war on terror, I also think about the Airmen we've lost since it started. I firmly and forever support our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who put their lives on the line for people they don't know. 

Certainly they do it to preserve and promote democracy across the globe, but, more importantly, they do it to make a better life for those who haven't experienced the freedoms that we enjoy.

That victory ... that moment of realization that there is a better world out there ... doesn't happen without the rest of the world hearing or reading about it.

Chris did that. He went outside of the wire to tell the Air Force story. He put himself in danger to make sure that generations after him knew what the Air Force did to make the world a safer place. Chris told our story.

Regardless of your thoughts on how important it is to have your story told, remember that there are people willing to put their lives on the line to make sure your children and their children know what you did. Chris did that. 

Public Affairs weapons don't consist of the latest rifles or smart bombs. They aren't advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or F-22 Raptors.

We use pens. We use cameras. We use your words and experiences to tell the citizens of the United States that they have the best Air Force in the world.

March 3 may seem insignificant to most people. For me, it will forever be more than a birthday -- it's the day I lost a friend.