LRS memorialize their fallen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Quail
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation building is now home to a new memorial honoring the ground transportation operators that have fallen in the line of duty.

Senior Airman Matthew Chandler, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation operator, led the project of building the memorial for fallen members.

“I wanted to build this to remember all the Airmen that we have had in our past that have been killed in the line of action,” said Chandler.

Over the course of four months, Chandler solicited ideas from his LRS teammates and set his plan into motion.

“First we came up with an idea of what we wanted for it to look like and then if it could be movable,” said Chandler. “So we ended up with the idea of shadow boxes. We still have some work to do, like repainting the wall behind the shadow boxes.”

Chandler boasts that everyone at 436th LRS pitched in, whether it was planning, building the shadow boxes or donating money towards the project.

“It was an honor to help Airman Chandler with the wall of the fallen. We couldn’t have picked a better person to lead this project,” said Tech. Sgt. Gregory Kolasch, 436th LRS noncommissioned officer in charge of training validation and operation.

While the memorial serves to recognize several Airmen, one shadow box tells a personal story of friendship and loss for Chandler, which happened while he was stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“I was there when he first got there as a young Airman,” Chandler says, referring to Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback. “We both [had] just gotten stationed at Ramstein, first time being away from home and everything. We lived in the dorms together and would hang out with the shop and all clown around and have a good time.”

“I was deployed at the time in the Middle East, and he was at Ramstein still doing a normal job,” Chandler recalls. “He drove a bus up to Frankfort airport, and someone walked onto the bus and killed him and another Airman that was with him. It was a tough loss for a lot of us, having that happen.”

Cuddeback was one of two Airmen killed in 2011 during a terrorist attack at Frankfort Airport, Germany.

When asked what reactions he expected from the memorial, Chandler stated he feared it might intimidate new Airmen or be depressing, because those are people who have been killed in the line of duty.

But it’s a risk he and his fellow LRS Airmen were willing to accept to reach their goal.

“The wall is to remind individuals that we need to honor and remember the fallen,” said Chandler. “Those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.”