5 Year Remembrance

Home  »  Homepage and Blog  »  5 Year Remembrance

Year 5 Remembrance.

“Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.” – President Ronald Reagan

This week, on a bright, beautiful Thursday morning, we were honored to attend the Ratchet 33 Memorial Ceremony at Hurlburt Field in Florida. Hosted by the 34th Special Operations Squadron, we were joined by more than 900 air commandos, fellow service members, friends and family to remember Nick, Ryan, Justin and Julian.

The day started in the Memorial Air Park where a U-28 flyover and remarks from Lt Col Turasz and AFSOC Vice Commander Maj Gen Morris E. Haase proceeded the presentation of the plaque dedicated to the crew of Ratchet 33. The memorial’s location was handpicked and placed among other small aircraft memorialized in the air park. You can watch the memorial in full on Hurlburt Field’s facebook page.

The day continued with a reception and lunch at the 34th Special Operations Squadron. Here the squadron showed families around the new squadron building and unveiled a second memorial, which was equally as special, if not more so, because it was designed by the squadron to remember their friends and brothers. The afternoon was spent sharing memories and catching up and relishing the moment to just be together with a community that remains so dear to our hearts.

Nick always had a knack for bringing people together. And we were struck – well, reminded – this week that, five years later, he and the crew of Ratchet 33 are still doing just that. Quiet professionals, the legacies of these four men continue to bring people together and challenge them to live every day just as they did – positive, passionate, committed and with a deep love and respect for their country.

As we do each year, we’d like to invite you to join us tomorrow, February 18th, as we pause wherever we are at 11:18 EST – the approximate moment Nick, Ryan, Justin and Julian’s plane when down five years ago – for a moment of silence to remember the impact these great men have had on all of us, our country and our world.

We would also like to invite you to join us in accepting the Ratchet 33 Challenge. The challenge is simple: before the end of this month (February), we ask you to do one thing to honor the memory of the heroes of Ratchet 33. This can be anything – large or small – so long as it honors the lives and legacies of Nick, Ryan, Justin and Julian. We look forward to hearing about what you do as part of the #Ratchet33Challenge.

News Coverage of the event:
Hurlburt Field
NWF Daily News

Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park Memorial plaque:

In October 2002, U.S. Special Operations Forces began operations to detect and disrupt violent extremist organizations in the horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Beginning in 2009, air commandos flying the U28A effectively disrupted extremist cells and thwarted trans-national terrorism in the region. On February 18th, 2012, four Air Force aviators of the 25th Intelligence Squadron, 34th Special Operations Squadron and the 319th Special Operations Squadron departed for a routine combat mission. Unbeknownst to them, it would be their last day. That day, the Special Operations community lost four of its finest air commandos. This memorial is dedicated to the crew of Ratchet 33, their families, and all they gave in the fight for our freedom.