Air Advisor Academy unveils memorial for fallen Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • Air Force News Service
The Air Advisor Academy here hosted a dedication ceremony for the new Air Advisor Memorial here July 27.

While the memorial honors all air advisors who have made the ultimate sacrifice, the ceremony honored one contracted and eight Air Force air advisors who were killed in Afghanistan on April 27, 2011.

More than 100 family members of those air advisors, as well as fellow air advisors and Air Force and community leaders, flew from around the world to attend the ceremony and honor the fallen:

Lt. Col. Frank Bryant Jr.
Maj. David Brodeur
Maj. Jeffrey Ausborn
Maj. Raymond Estelle II
Maj. Phil Ambard
Maj. Charles Ransom
Capt. Nathan Nylander
Master Sgt. Tara Brown
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. James McLaughlin

Linda Ambard, the widow of Major Ambard, said she was humbled when she first heard about the plans for the memorial, especially because her husband was an immigrant to the U.S. He had emigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela when he was 12 years old. Seeing her husband's military service honored and remembered by his Air Force family made her appreciate that extended family that much more, she said.

"It really is nice to know people still care, people still remember," Ambard said. "His name stands as a testimony to a life well lived."

That camaraderie played an important part in completing the memorial, said Col. Olaf Holm, the Air Advisor Academy commandant and the creative force behind the project. The whole thing was built through donations and volunteer labor, and the fact that it was finished in approximately four months is a testament to the power of community and family, Holm added.

The idea of having a peaceful, private place where people can remember and reflect on air advisors who have made the ultimate sacrifice is one Holm said he hopes will be embraced by the families of the fallen nine.

"These are really wonderful people who have gone through a tremendous amount," Holm said. "If in some way this eases their pain and makes them feel better, it's going be a huge emotional time for me."