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Vehicle operators remember fallen Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie
  • 506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
“Your life was brief … Your legacy endures,” are the words chosen by Airmen of the 506th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s vehicle operations flight to inscribe on a memorial for Airman 1st Class Carl Anderson Jr. and Staff Sgt. Dustin Peters.

The Airmen died in Iraq while supporting convoy missions from Mosul in 2004.

Airmen in the vehicle operations flight who knew Airman Anderson and Sergeant Peters wanted to do something to honor not only their memory, but other operators who put their lives in harm’s way providing security for convoys supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“This dedication is more than just a memorial or a testament to two individuals, it is a tribute to all combat vehicle operators who deploy on convoy rotations and brave the hazards it entails,” said Master Sgt. Bill Venhuizen of the 506th ELRS. “It is for all combat vehicle operators. We wanted to do something for them -- it’s our way of saying ‘thank you.’”

The idea for the mural was conceived by Senior Airman Scott May, a member of the 506th ELRS and the only vehicle operator here who has served on a convoy rotation.

“I think it is very important that we remember those who were killed in action, not just because they were killed in action, but for who they were and for those they left behind,” said Airmen May, who personally knew Sergeant Peters from past convoys. “They will always be in our hearts and minds.”

The tribute is in the form of a mural painted on a concrete barrier located in front of the vehicle operations facility here. Central to the mural is a likeness of a gun truck used to protect convoys from roadside attacks by Iraqi insurgents.

In the background is an American flag symbolizing the values of freedom and democracy that vehicle operators risk their lives for. At the bottom of the mural stands a helmet placed on an upright M-16 rifle with dog tags hanging from the barrel, and an empty pair of boots symbolizing respect to servicemembers killed in action.