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8th AF dedicates new memorial

By Tech. Sgt. Kristina Barrett 8th Air Force Public Affairs

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A new memorial flag pole was dedicated here April 19 in honor of 8th Air Force Airmen and their service to their country.

Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, 8th AF commander, dedicated the new flag pole located at the northwest corner of the 8th AF building grounds. It recognizes the service of past, current and future members of 8th AF.

"From its inception in 1942 through the decades, to this very day, the warriors of the "Mighty Eighth" have provided sterling service and sacrifice for the defense of our nation," General Elder said. "While we don't know what sacrifices might lie ahead, please rest assured that the men and women of 8th AF know that the defense of freedom is worth their sacrifice."

General Elder recognized the accomplishments of 1st Lt. Jack Mathis and Sgt. Maynard Smith, the first officer and enlisted recipients of the Medal of Honor assigned to 8th AF. He paid tribute to them and the 15 other 8th AF Airmen to be awarded the nation's highest honor. These Airmen exemplify what the 8th AF is all about, the general explained.

"This park recognizes the contributions of all 8th AF members, past, current and future," said Capt. Jarrett Gafford, 8th AF logistics officer and coordinator of the event. "Our community partners wanted to recognize the service of our 8th AF Airmen."

Construction of the flag pole was donated by the Shreveport-Bossier Committee of 100 and will be the cornerstone of a future memorial park project. Currently the flag pole sits in a concrete oval with a plaque indicating the donation. Future plans include adding another oval, creating the appearance of an "8" to mirror the 8th AF logo. In addition, the flag will be lit and fly continuously.