Police Week 2020: Ramstein Honors Fallen Law Enforcement
By TSgt Jocelyn A. Ford, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, 8 May 2020
A U.S. Air Force 86th Security Forces Squadron patrol car is parked prior to participating in a caravan of Kaiserslautern Military Community first responders at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, 7 May 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Taylor D. Slater)
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE --
Though coronavirus disease 2019 is hindering activities that once drew huge crowds, COVID-19 will not stop a nation from honoring and remembering law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
On Oct. 1, 1962, former President John F. Kennedy signed a bill into law designating May 15 as a day to honor peace officers. Twenty years later, an annual memorial service began in Washington D.C., at Senate Park, and the week encompassing Peace Officers Memorial Day has since been referred to as Police Week.
“Police Week is a humbling week,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Bonham, 86th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant. “We remember our Defenders and why we do the job.”
The Monday of Police Week has historically started with a prayer breakfast and a small commencement ceremony, followed by a week full of events. Traditionally there are law enforcement-centric competitions that bring the different law enforcement agencies together in both a humbling and exciting way.
“It’s really exciting and a humbling event to be a part of,” Bonham said. “It’s awesome because it gets all the law enforcement agencies in the area together to celebrate National Police Week and remember everything that’s going on with law enforcement.”
Due to restrictions on social gatherings, ceremonies and events are scheduled to be aired or held virtually this year. The 569th, 435th and 86th SFS’s together created the Ramstein Police Week Virtual 5k Facebook group to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the line of duty. Anyone who wants to participate in the virtual run can join the group.
Though the final guard mount will not be a public event, each unit still performing guard mount will take the time to honor those U.S. Air Force law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty since 9/11.
Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, 21, Sept. 28, 2005, Camp Bucca, Iraq
Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, 28, Jan. 22, 2006, Taji, Iraq
Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton, 32, Jan. 22, 2006, Taji, Iraq
Airman 1st Class Leebernard E. Chavis, 21, Oct. 14, 2006, Baghdad, Iraq
Staff Sgt. John T. Self, 29, May 14, 2007, Baghdad, Iraq
Airman 1st Class Jason D. Nathan, 22, June 23, 2007, Iraq
Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin, 28, April 3, 2008, Baghdad, Iraq
1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton, 24, Sept. 8, 2009, Baghdad, Iraq
Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, March 2, 2011, Frankfurt, Germany
Staff Sgt. Todd “TJ” Lobraico, 22, Sept. 5, 2013, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, Oct. 2, 2015, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan
Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, Oct. 2, 2015, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan
Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, Dec. 21, 2015, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, Dec. 21, 2015, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan