445 SFS Airman Honors Fellow SF Airmen With Memorial

By Stacy Vaughn, 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

 

A special memorial honoring the fallen men and women serving in security forces across the Air Force is proudly displayed in the 445th Security Forces Squadron. It was built by a 445th SFS Airmen as his away to pay tribute and to recognize the sacrifices of the 14 fallen heroes.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Ellison, 445th Security Forces Squadron SF craftsman, started working on the memorial March 2017. The display features the faces, names and dates the Airmen made the ultimate sacrifice. Words above the faces say, “Honoring those security forces members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat for their country.” Three lights above shine down, highlighting the images. In front of the display board is a pair of combat boots sitting with a rifle mounted in between and a security forces beret on top. Both an American and an Air Force flag sit on each side of the memorial.

“Many don’t understand, or realize the sacrifices that the men and women of the United States Air Force Security Forces actually make. It’s an understanding that few know and to have a memorial of the Defenders that have made that ultimate sacrifice, gives other members a visual remembrance of those sacrifices,” Ellison said.

Ellison said the memorial not only recognizes the current Defenders and the sacrifices that are made on a routine basis, but will also give new Defenders a better understanding of the sacrifices that other members of the security forces family have made.

One of the faces on the memorial is of Staff Sgt. Todd "TJ" Labraico, an Airman deployed to Afghanistan at the same time Ellison was serving there as a desk sergeant.

“I was in charge of dispatching the posts and patrols within my sector, as well as monitoring any suspicious activity. Although he was on a Reaper team and went outside the wire, I would hear the Reaper teams calling in over the radio for pre-authorizations to exit and enter through our vehicle entry control point. I didn’t personally know him, but when someone who you’re deployed with gives the ultimate sacrifice like TJ did, it feels as if you had a special brotherly bond just being in the same career field. It was a tough loss. Godspeed to his family for his sacrifice.”  

Ellison has served in the military 11 years. Both of his grandfathers served, and he felt it was in his blood to serve, especially to serve as a Defender. He remarked that he couldn’t see himself in any other career field other than security forces.

“I’m honored to be a Defender, and it’s an honor to have a memorial like the one that stands at the 445th Security Forces Squadron. It’s a sacred piece, and I'm proud to have put this memorial together. I can only hope that we won’t have to add more to this short list of heroes.”

National Police Week is May 14-20, 2017. It’s an opportunity to pay special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

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