41st APS holds Port Dawg Memorial Run

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 41st Aerial Port Squadron here participated in the 8th Annual Port Dawg Memorial Run on the flight line Saturday.

While the career-field wide event is in its eighth year, this is the first time the 41st APS Port Dawgs have held the event at Keesler.

The origins of the memorial run can be traced back to 2011 when the aerial port community tragically lost one of their own, Tech. Sgt. Curtis E. Eccleston. A couple of years after his demise, his wingmen and fellow Port Dawgs at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and other bases around the globe held the first Port Dawg Memorial Run in his honor.

As the event has persisted and grown in participation, it has become an opportunity to honor not only Eccleston’s life and service, but any life lost within the Port Dawg community.

“We were very excited to be able to put this together and have our own memorial run here at our ‘home,’” said Tech. Sgt. Staci Conrad, 41st APS assistant non-commissioned officer in charge of the air terminal operations center.

She and Senior Airman Jasmine Jordan, a load planning technician, with the support of leadership and others in the squadron, decided after a tough 2020, it was high time they organized a memorial run of their own.

The event consisted of a ceremony, first, naming and honoring the 12 Port Dawgs whose lives were lost during the year of 2020.

Senior Master Sgt. Edrick Haynes called the name of each of the deceased as a member from the 41st created a chain of devices, one device per fallen member, displayed for all in attendance to see.

Chaplain (1st Lt.) Curtis Latham then followed with a prayer and moment of silence before the approximately 50 members headed out to the flight line for a one-mile run.

“Obviously it’s sad that these lives lost is what has us out here, but this event was a good way to be able to come together and remember and celebrate their lives and their service,” said Jordan. “It’s also a morale boost since we haven’t really been able to do much together on a large scale since the pandemic started.”

Master Sgt. Martin Guthrie, ATOC specialist, said of the career-field that it’s not just a job; being a Port Dawg is a lifestyle.

“It’s not just one squadron or just active duty or just reserve,” he said. “The 2T’s are tight-knit wherever you are, whether it’s active, guard or reserve, and doing things like this memorial run is a testament to that Port Dawg family environment.”