War on Terrorism

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beale to pay final respects to fallen Airman

by Master Sgt. Michelle Duchesne
940th Force Support Squadron


5/9/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Beale Air Force Base will bring home another fallen hero May 11.

Staff Sgt. Richard Dickson, Rancho Cordova, Calif., was one of four Airmen who perished when their MC-12 aircraft went down in Afghanistan, April 27.

Just a year ago, Airmen lined the streets at Beale to render final respects to Army Specialist Chase Marta. It's a procession all hoped would never have to be repeated.

This time last year, the 940th Wing Force Support Squadron had two members deployed to the Dover Port Mortuary, Del.,  the place where all fallen warriors are brought before returning home.

Sustainment Flight Airmen are charged with preparing fallen warriors for their final journey. Part of that  training at the port mortuary involves treating the fallen warriors with the utmost respect from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. It takes diligence and precision to ensure absolutely every detail is perfect, with the ultimate goal to get the fallen warrior home as soon as possible to waiting family members.

It's about honor, dignity, respect for the fallen and their families.

Well-trained military members at the Port Mortuary, perhaps even a reservist from Beale, have readied Dickson for his final journey home. And as he leaves Dover, everyone will line the tarmac there to send him off with a salute.

Taking care of our fallen and the escorts who come to take them back home is the hardest, but most fulfilling and special job for members of the sustainment flight.

And as the white plane lands at Beale tomorrow, the streets will once again be lined with hundreds of Airmen, waiting to render their salute in a final show of respect.

The nation owes Dickson and his family a debt of gratitude for his ultimate sacrifice.

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