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Abilene community, Dyess leadership conduct memorial park groundbreaking

Abilene community, Dyess leadership conduct memorial park groundbreaking

Shovels are placed into a mound of dirt at the Dyess Memorial Center, Oct. 2, 2018. Dyess Air Force Base leadership, the Abilene community and family of the fallen Airmen of TORQE 62 came together to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion. The memorial park expansion will honor all Dyess Airmen who lost their lives in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

Abilene community, Dyess leadership conduct memorial park groundbreaking

U.S. Air Force Col. Brandon Parker, 7th Bomb Wing commander, speaks to Abilene leaders and Abilene Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs committee members at the Dyess Memorial Center, Oct. 2, 2018. Dyess Air Force Base leadership, the Abilene community and family of the fallen Airmen of TORQE 62 came together to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion. The memorial park will honor all Dyess Airmen who lost their lives in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

Abilene community, Dyess leadership conduct memorial park groundbreaking

U.S. Air Force Col. Jeffrey Menasco, 317th Airlift Wing commander, speaks to attendees of a groundbreaking ceremony at the Dyess Memorial Center, Oct. 2, 2018. Dyess Air Force Base leadership, the Abilene community and family of the fallen Airmen of TORQE 62 came together to conduct the groundbreaking ceremony for the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion. The memorial park will honor all Dyess Airmen who lost their lives in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

Abilene community, Dyess leadership conduct memorial park groundbreaking

U.S. Air Force Airmen, Abilene leadership and family of the fallen Airmen from TORQE 62 dig up dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony at the Dyess Memorial Center, Oct. 2, 2018. Dyess Air Force Base leadership, the Abilene community and family of the fallen Airmen of TORQE 62 came together to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion. The memorial park will honor all Dyess Airmen who lost their lives in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

Abilene community, Dyess leadership conduct memorial park groundbreaking

A display of the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion is placed at the Dyess Memorial Center where Dyess Air Force Base leadership, the Abilene community and family of the fallen Airmen of TORQE 62 came together to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion on Oct. 2, 2018. The memorial park will honor all Dyess Airmen who lost their lives in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kylee Thomas)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Dyess Air Force Base leadership, the Abilene community and family of the fallen Airmen of TORQE 62 came together to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony at the Dyess Memorial Center, Oct. 2, 2018. 

The groundbreaking signified the beginning of the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion to honor the sacrifices of Dyess Airmen who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“This dedication and groundbreaking ceremony says a lot about our fallen heroes, but to me it says even more about you and the community partners that raised money to make this happen,” said Col. Brandon Parker, 7th Bomb Wing commander, about the Abilene community. “I want to say thank you on behalf of Dyess Airmen and families.”

The Abilene community raised over $600,000 for the expansion, which is designed to be a sundial that will have the sun shine on different memorials during the times of death of Dyess Airmen. 

“It’s an honor for us, the civilians, to be linked up with our Dyess family,” said Gray Bridwell, the Military Affairs Committee chairman. “We had discussions of what to do to honor the fallen heroes. We wanted a design that was unique and would be something special.”

A team from CADCO Architects and Engineers donated services to the Dyess Memorial Park Expansion Project. The team brought the expansion to life by creating a 1/8 scale model that will be used as reference for the expansion. Following the loss of a Dyess C-130J Super Hercules crew, call sign TORQE 62, in Afghanistan in 2015, local leaders came together with a desire to incorporate all of the fallen heroes into a single memorial.

“The Dyess Memorial Park Expansion is an amazing gift to us Airmen,” said Col. Jeffrey Menansco, 317th Airlift Wing commander. “Today, we honor the Airmen of TORQE 62 who paid the ultimate sacrifice and service for our nation. We are grateful for having served in their presence and to honor their memory here today. To the Abilene community, thank you for honoring all of our Airmen who paid the ultimate sacrifice and keeping their memories alive.”