COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) -- Formations of Base Airmen and community members came together at Columbus Air Force Base for a Memorial Day Retreat May 23 where the base honored the sacrifices made by three fallen Airmen.
The names of two pilots, Capt. Jeffery A. Haney and Maj. Joseph M. McCormick were added to the memorial wall that is dedicated to those individuals who have served at Columbus Air Force Base, and Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger’s name was added to the Medal of Honor recipient wall.
The memorial wall is located at Columbus AFB’s Ceremonial Plaza, renamed Richard “Gene” Smith Plaza in honor of the former POW.
One side of the memorial wall honors Airmen who have received the Medal of Honor. During the ceremony, the name of Chief Etchberger was added to that distinguished list.
The other wing of the memorial wall honors pilots that have died in military aircraft accidents who earned their wings at Columbus or were instructor pilots assigned here.
The tradition of commemorating the names on the wall began when the pilot training mission returned to Columbus AFB in the early 1970s.
At the center of the monument is a large replica of pilot wings, a reminder of the wing’s primary mission: to produce pilots.
The concise ceremony concluded with a formal Retreat, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
The formal retreat ceremony concluded an afternoon of safety focused events for the wing as it begins the Critical Days of Summer.