Shindand AB dedicates area to fallen air advisor

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Advisers at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan, honored one of their fallen brothers during a dedication ceremony Feb. 27.

Air Force Maj. Raymond Estelle II lost his life April 27, 2011, during a shooting incident at the Afghan Command and Control Center in the Afghanistan air force headquarters at the North Kabul International Airport.

Col. John Hokaj, the commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Air Advisory Group, spoke during the dedication ceremony that renamed an area from the 'base-in-a-box' to Camp Estelle. The colonel said he was humbled by the opportunity to honor Estelle. Losing a dedicated professional like the major is a very difficult experience for a unit, he said.

"Words alone will not remove the pain of losing one of our patriots," said Hokaj. "Because of great sacrifices like this, we remain a strong and free nation that continues to serve as a beacon of freedom and self-governance in the world."

Tech. Sgt. Jessie Mendez, a security forces adviser with the 838th AEAG, spoke during the ceremony as well. The sergeant attended the Air Advisory Course with the major and he said he was a great leader.

Mendez said he remembers how dedicated the major was to working out and staying in shape. He said he was also a great mentor and he gave great advice.

"He was very open and caring," Mendez said. "Everybody needs a person they can talk to. He was that person for whoever needed it."

The sergeant said they both had children that were about the same ages. The major told him that one of his most treasured moments was a two-hour ferry trip he took with his daughter before deploying to Afghanistan. The major felt strongly about the mission in Afghanistan and volunteered to deploy, Mendez said.

"He was very excited and proud to come over here and serve," the sergeant said. "He was a good man. I wish everybody got the chance to meet him."

Hokaj said the best way to honor Estelle is to complete the mission in Afghanistan.

"Our purpose is simple: protect the people of Afghanistan from external and internal tyranny and oppression," the colonel said. "The opportunity for him to live on is vested in all of you. Keep his patriotic spirit alive."