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Two Air Force Friends...I'll Miss You! Part 1.

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: Two Air Force Friends...I'll Miss You! Part 1.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two Air Force Friends...I'll Miss You! Part 1.

This has been quite the past two weeks. Two deaths.

You might remember me mentioning that I'd had a slow day because I was upset about a high school friend's death in combat in Afghanistan. When I'd found out Willie Jefferson was a fellow Airman, and I'd learned more about what he was doing for the Air Force and what he was doing when he was killed, I grew even more emotional. I have to admit, I don't think Dave had ever seen me this down.

I found out he went by "Will" in recent years. I apologize for still calling him "Willie", his nickname in high school. Here's his obituary.

On Wednesday, March 26th, Wendy watched my boys while I drove down to Pope AFB, just south of here and I had the honor of seeing Willie's military memorial, and it was done with grace and dignity. Willie was an Air Force Special Operations NCO and he was working with Army Special Operations while in Afghanistan, and it was quite a sight to see both the Air Force Special Operations and Army Special Forces commanders at the memorial. This was my first military memorial for a fallen Airman, and I held my emotions in check until I saw the faces of his wife and daughter as they were leaving the ceremony with the offical party. The pure sorrow was heartbreaking, and upon seeing them I felt a pang of sadness I hadn't felt since I came home from the hospital after Jacob's birth without Jacob (who remained in the NICU for his first 6 days).

It was also bittersweet to re-kindle some friendships that had slacked off over the years, as many of my high school friends took time to look on MySpace and Facebook and apparently came across my profiles. Von and Melba, it's great to hear from you again!

Like I'd mentioned on the 24th, Dave told me he was surprised at how hard I had taken Willie's death, since I hadn't seen -- or even HEARD about him -- in the past 17 years. I was surprised, too.

So, in honor of TSgt William Jefferson, I've found this really nice picture of him that I took at the 1990 Lake Taylor High School Ring Dance. That cute gal next to him is Susan, still one of my best friends.

From 2008 04 07 Od...

But then, exactly one week later, I received news of another death in my Air Force family, someone much closer in my recent life. I put that into a separate post -- the second part started to get long.

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