MacDill Defenders celebrate National Police Week

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Hiram Martinez
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 6th Security Forces Squadron celebrated National Police Week here, May 9-15, 2021, honoring all defenders who have fallen in the line of duty.

As the largest career field in the Air Force, it's the job of security forces to protect, defend and fight. They are responsible for missile security, defending air bases around the globe, law enforcement on those bases, combat arms and the handling of military working dogs.

“We set up events like these to celebrate, but most importantly to honor and remember all police officers who have been killed in the line of duty,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Proia, a team leader with the 6th SFS Emergency Services Team.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which May 15 lands on, as National Police Week. It pays tribute to all law enforcement officers who have perished for the safety and protection of others.

This year, the 6th SFS held opening and closing ceremonies, a 5K run, softball and kickball games and three different firearms shooting competitions.

Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, members from the Joint Communications Support Element, U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command, all participated in the Police Week events the 6th SFS scheduled throughout the week.

“Being a defender means everything to me,” said Airman 1st Class Jediath Lopez, a member with the 6th SFS EST. “Work doesn’t stop for us when we turn in our gear after a shift and it's the same during this week. We don’t just honor the fallen for 7 days, we remember them every day.”

Since Sept. 9, 2001, fourteen defenders have lost their lives in the line of duty. Although National Police Week only lasts a few days, it is important to honor these brave men and women for years to come.

U.S. Air Force Defenders fallen since 9/11

  •  Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, 21, of Riviera Beach, Fla.
  •  Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, 28, of San Antonio, Texas
  •  Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton, 32, of Miami, Okla.
  •  Airman 1st Class Leebernard E. Chavis, 21, of Hampton, Va.
  •  Staff Sgt. John T. Self, 29, of Pontotoc, Miss.
  •  Airman 1st Class Jason D. Nathan, 22, of Macon, Ga.
  •  Staff Sgt. Travis Griffin, 28, of Dover, Del.
  •  1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton, 24, of Monroe, Ga.
  •  Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, of Williamston, S.C.
  •  Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico, Jr., 22, of New Fairfield, Conn.
  •  Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, of McDonough, Ga.
  •  Senior Airman Nathan C. Sertain, 29, of Pensacola, Fla.
  •  Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, of Bronx, N.Y.
  •  Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, of Coram, N.Y.