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Pararescuemen: Honoring fallen warriors
Air Force News ^ | Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes, USAF

Posted on 06/22/2010 9:57:07 AM PDT by SandRat

6/22/2010 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- More than 20 pararescuemen, active duty, retired and prior service, donned their service dress uniforms, with boots and maroon berets, and fell into formation. Local freedom riders holding American flags lined the street of the funeral procession. As their fallen commrade's remains arrived and were retrieved by honor guard members, the formation saluted him.

On a bright sunny afternoon in San Antonio, the mood is far from light on this day as pararescuemen from across the U.S. paid their final respects to their fallen comrade, Tech. Sgt. Michael Flores, in a funeral ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery June 19 here.

There are only about 350 to 375 pararescuemen currently in the Air Force, said Chief Master Sgt. Lee Shaffer, the pararescue careerfield manager.

"Once you're a pararescueman, always a pararescueman," Chief Shaffer said of the retired and prior pararescuemen who came out to honor Sergeant Flores. "It's not uncommon for prior (pararescuemen) to show up at these events. We want them to wear the berets. We are a brotherhood. "

The ceremony went on much like many other services do, but once the official ceremony was over is when the pararescue ritual began.

The pararescuemen fell out of formation and formed a line up to the casket. One by one, they marched smartly to the casket and saluted Sergeant Flores. Then, they took off their berets and removed the flash, and placed it on Sergeant Flores' casket. They put back on their beret and saluted Sergeant Flores for the last time.

The flash is a device worn on the beret and is worn only by pararescuemen who have completed the two years of training it takes to become fully qualified. The flash comprises a guardian angel wrapping its arms around the world, which symbolizes the mission of pararescuemen. Underneath the flash it reads "So others may live", the pararescue credo.

The tradition of slamming the flashes into the casket, so they stick and stay with the member forever, began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, a pararescuemen, was killed in the battle at Roberts Ridge in Afghanistan, Chief Shaffer said.

"We've found, through the years, that some of the families like that tribute that we pay," Chief Shaffer said. "When one of our warriors falls we want to give as much back as we possibly can to the servicemember who lost his life and the family members. This beret, and the flash that's pinned on it, is probably the single most important thing to a pararescuemen. To us it represents all of our hard work, our dedication and basically our heart and soul. We want our fallen warrior to be forever buried with what's most precious to us and what was most precious to him."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: fallen; honoring; pararescuemen; warriors

Master Sgt. Mike Maroney renders a salute after removing the flash from his pararescue beret and leaving it on the casket of his fallen comrade, Tech. Sgt. Michael Flores who died in a helicopter crash June 9, 2010, in Afghanistan. Pararescueman have begun the tradition of leaving their beret flashes to their fallen warriors as a sign of honor and respect. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Pararesuce Memorial Ceremony

1 posted on 06/22/2010 9:57:12 AM PDT by SandRat
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To: SandRat; Kathy in Alaska; MS.BEHAVIN; LUV W; AZamericonnie; BIGLOOK; ConorMacNessa; TASMANIANRED; ..

So very sad and touching .. their devotion and
brotherhood is in the blood eternally. Their
jobs are a sacred duty and calling. God bless
them .. protect those on the frontlines ...
comfort the families of the fallen heroes.

Never forget.

“That others may live”


2 posted on 06/22/2010 10:42:24 AM PDT by STARWISE ( The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, go Galt & hunker down)
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To: SandRat
I see posts here on FR that like to disparage the USAF and its members as “soft”. I used to work out with Pararescue at Sheppard AFB and I would put their bravery and abilities up against any of the other services’ members any day of the week. The true combat members of the other services would agree that Pararescue, USAF, members are worthy of all of the accolades they deservedly get.
3 posted on 06/22/2010 10:55:57 AM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: SandRat; STARWISE; Jet Jaguar; eyedigress; darkwing104; ConorMacNessa; BIGLOOK



TSgt Michael Flores, USAF

Amazing Grace

4 posted on 06/22/2010 2:02:54 PM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (~ RIP Brian...heaven's gain...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)
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To: Kathy in Alaska; SandRat; All


S/Sgt. Michael P. Flores, USAF, KIA Afghanistan 9JUN2010

I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 (KJV)

God Of Our Fathers

Rest in Peace, fallen brother, rest in peace!
We who remain hold you in high honor.
Rest, fallen brother, in this sacred precinct;
We who remain keep this place sacred.
Rest, fallen brother, among these, your comrades;
We who remain keep the watch.
Rest, fallen brother, among these who answered the Nation’s call;
We who remain press the fight forward in your name.
Rest, fallen brother, lay down thy burden;
We who remain have taken up the torch.
Rest in Peace, fallen brother, rest in eternal peace!


Lamh Foistenach Abu!
5 posted on 06/22/2010 5:14:37 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN '69 - St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!)
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