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9/11 Reflections

CMSgt Max Wheeler – 51st Civil Engineer Squadron, Fire Chief It was early in the afternoon on a normal working day when our boss told us to head back to the fire station. I was a Senior Airman assigned to Aviano Air Base, Italy during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The base immediately went to a Delta posture and no one was allowed on or off the base. Our world has changed since that day. Travel security has increased, military training has expanded and our nation, both military and civilians, has stood the watch for 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a fire chief assigned to Osan, I take great pride in what we do. I remind our Airmen that at any moment, anything can happen and to always take our training very serious. The fire fighters, law enforcement and first responders on the scenes of those horrific tragedies didn’t know what they were getting into that day when they woke up. It was a normal day for them and they answered the nation’s call. When I was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant, my line number was 343. I’ll never forget it and when I heard it, I immediately thought about the 343 fire fighters we lost on Sept. 11, 2001. It makes me proud to have an opportunity to serve and to take great pride in what we do for our nation.

PHOTO BY: Tech Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.
VIRIN: 210911-F-IO684-0005.JPG
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