News: 66th RQS honors fallen
Story by Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - The 66th Rescue Squadron took a step on June 10 to ensure that their fallen comrades will never be forgotten, during a ceremony where they named three roads after airmen who died exactly three years ago in the Sangin district of Afghanistan.
The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, call sign "PEDRO 66," was en route to rescue British service members in Southwest Afghanistan June 9, 2010, when it was hit by enemy fire and crashed, killing five of its seven crew members.
Covers were pulled off the signs to reveal three new street names during the ceremony, all of which will serve as a constant reminder to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Smith Avenue will honor Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 58th RQS flight engineer.
Wisniewski Way will honor Capt. David Wisniewski, 58th RQS Pave Hawk pilot.
Pedro Drive will honor the entire crew comprising seven Airmen from Nellis AFB and Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., who lived every day of their Air Force careers under the motto, "These things we do so that others may live."
"Today was all about remembering our brothers who lived true to [that motto]" said Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, 58th RQS acting first sergeant and the aerial gunner onboard PEDRO 66 when it went down. "I need people to remember; everybody who comes in here will see the names and see the pictures and remember that those are the people who made the ultimate sacrifice."
Lt. Col. Daniel Duffy, 66th RQS commander, spoke to members of the 66th and 58th Rescue Squadrons as well as family members and friends of those who gave their lives that day during the ceremony. Duffy explained that he wanted the ceremony to be as modest as possible, in the same way Airmen in the rescue community carry out their often perilous duties on a daily basis both at home and down-range.
"It's wonderful that the family members were able to come out and experience this with us as we're all one big family in rescue." Duffy said, in a crowded parking lot full of service members exchanging stories about the fallen and expressing gratitude after the conclusion of the ceremony. "[These men] wouldn't claim to be heroes but they were, so we're going to remember them every day when we come into work."
For Aguilera, who survived the crash along with Capt. Anthony Simone, remembering and celebrating the lives of those who died is vital.
"It's the thing that keeps me going," he said. "In everything that I do I carry them with me."