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In remembrance
A wreath was placed in front of the Khobar Towers Memorial on the 14th anniversary of the tragedy during a ceremony June 25 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Almost 100 friends, family and current members of the 33rd Fighter Wing gathered for a remembrance ceremony near the memorial dedicated to the heroism of 12 Airmen lost. The 33 FW suffered 105 wounded personnel and accounted for 12 of the 19 Airmen killed in the Khobar Towers terrorist attack June 25, 1996. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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Fallen Nomads honored on Khobar Towers anniversary

Posted 6/25/2010   Updated 6/28/2010 Email story   Print story


by Ashley M. Wright
96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

6/25/2010 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- Approximately 100 people gathered here June 25 to remember the 12 Airmen who made the highest sacrifice in service to the United States 14 years ago today.

A terrorist attack at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, resulted in 400 casualties among civilian and military personnel. The 33rd Fighter Wing suffered 105 wounded personnel and accounted for 12 of the 19 Airmen killed on that day. June 25 is the 14th anniversary of the tragedy, and the friends, family and wing members paid tribute to the fallen in a small ceremony at the memorial. 

"What I remember is the heart of the 33rd," said Bridget Brooks, mother of Airman 1st Class Joseph E. Rimkus. "They took care of each other in that moment of pure chaos."

The wing has transitioned from operations to training now and is currently implementing the first Department of Defense joint integrated training center for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"We are focused on the future ... [but] we recognize the Nomads of today are shaped by those who have gone before," said Marine Col. Arthur Tomassetti, 33 FW vice commander. "We honor them with remembrance ... their sacrifice set a bar that is pretty high."

At the ceremony, the crowd observed a moment of silence by the eternal flame at the monument to the fallen Nomads, as the base honor guard rendered a 21-gun salute before "Taps" was played.

"It is an honor," Mrs. Brooks said of the ceremony.

Her son, Airman Rimkus, was on his first temporary duty assignment when he paid the last full measure of devotion to his country.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, nicknamed "Nomads" for its constant travel throughout the world, traces its history back to World War II, deployed F-4s to serve in Vietnam and scored 16 aerial victories in the F-15 Eagle during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The unit was deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch when a truck bomb exploded near the dormitory housing 33rd FW members.

"Let us now praise these quiet American heroes, who gave their lives in service to America. May they rest in peace and may their names live on forever," said former President William J. Clinton, days after the attack. "Our Nomads have ceased their wandering. They have come home."

The Nomads who gave their lives June 25, 1996 include:
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Cafourek
Sgt. Millard Dee Campbell
Senior Airman Earl Cartrette Jr.
Tech. Sgt. Patrick Fennig
Master Sgt. Kendall Kitson Jr.
Airman 1st Class Brian McVeigh
Airman 1st Class Peter Morgera
Tech. Sgt. Thanh Gus Nguyen
Airman 1st Class Joseph Rimkus
Senior Airman Jeremy Taylor
Airman 1st Class Joshua Woody

6/26/2010 8:36:54 PM ET
Thank you to the Eglin 33rd Fighter Wing for continuing to remember our fallen Nomads each year. It means more than you will ever know. I am humbled to have been a part of the Air Force family and the 33rd Fighter Wing. Your comfort and care in the days weeks months and years that followed have made a huge difference. Finally, thank you to ALL of you who serve this great nation so we can continue to live in a land of freedom. God Bless all of you and God Bless America.Respectfully, Marie Campbell, widow of Sgt. Dee Soup Campbell
Marie Campbell, Arlington TX
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