Forever linked

  • Published
  • By John Ingle
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
I lost a friend March 3. I was celebrating my 35th year of life, while his family was agonizing over his loss.

My how life has a way of putting everyday activities into perspective.

Staff Sgt. Chris Frost, 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., was a true Warrior Airman. I will miss you Chris. He was a Public Affairs professional.

I was never stationed with Chris, nor had the privilege to serve with him. I wish I had. He literally bled Air Force Blue. I don't say that to put him on a pedestal or make him bigger than the Air Force's mission. But he understood it. He knew the cost of telling the Air Force story. He knew the risks involved.

He took that with him when the Iraqi helicopter he was in crashed ... on my birthday.

Everyone in Public Affairs will remember Chris. Not because of his death; but what he meant to the PA community.

We all get wrapped up in the everyday duties of doing what the wing commander asks; of the latest national campaign to raise money; of trying to memorialize what the Air Force is doing today to make a safer world tomorrow.

Chris was Blue. He began serving as an enlisted member on a reconnaissance aircraft. He did his mission and he did it well.

Regardless the reason, he joined the PA community and began telling the Air Force story. It always starts from the base you're assigned. He told the Air Force's story when he was deployed to Iraq.

I met Chris at an Air Force Journalism Workshop in October 2005. He and Staff Sgt. Austin May, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, hung out quite a bit during that week. We were all students at the time. There are some people you don't have to know long or very well at all before you take a fondness to them because of their likability.

He and Austin - also another former aircrew member onboard an AWACS - would where their flight jackets around like badges of honor. We all gave them hell about it. But, we respected it as well.

The first thing I picked up from Chris was his love for life. I learned March 6 that he has two children. My thoughts are with them.

As I think about this war - this war on terror - I also think about the Airmen we've lost since this surge for democracy started. I firmly and forever support our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who put their lives on the line for people they don't know.

Certainly they do it to preserve and promote democracy across the globe, but they, more importantly, do it to make a better life for those who haven't experienced the freedoms that we enjoy.

That victory ... that moment of realization that there is a better world out there ... doesn't happen without the rest of the world hearing or reading about it.

Chris did that. He went outside of the wire to tell the Air Force story. He put himself in danger to make sure that generations after him knew what the Air Force did in the democratization of Iraq. Chris told your story.

Regardless of your thoughts on how important it is to have your story told, remember that there are people willing to put their lives on the line to make sure your children and their children know what you did. Chris did that.

Our weapons don't consist of the latest rifle or smart bomb. It doesn't involve an advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or the F-22 Raptor.

We use pens. We use cameras. We use your experiences to tell the citizens of the United States that they have the best Air Force in the world.

March 3 may seem insignificant to most people. For me, it will forever link me to Chris - the day I lost a friend.