Monday, April 21, 2008

Airman Jason Cunningham

Back in the spring of 2002 we were living in Ventura County, California looking forward to the high school graduation ceremony for our eldest son. It was just a few short months since the attacks on the United States the previous September and Operation Enduring Freedom was ongoing in Afghanistan. One day we heard news of the death of Air Force pararescueman Jason Cunningham and learned that he had a link to our community. Before he joined the Air Force Jason had been in the Navy and it was while he was serving in Italy that he met the Navy enlisted-woman who would become his wife and the mother of his children, Theresa de Castro of nearby Camarillo, California. Jason and Theresa are pictured here-- proud Americans serving their nation.
Airman Cunningham was killed by enemy fire during Operation Anaconda March 2, 2002 while doing the job he was trained for-- rescue in dangerous circumstances. A funeral ceremony was held in Ventura County and then he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Jason was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Cross posthumously in the fall of 2005. Today Investor's Business Daily features a column about Cunningham and his gallant service. While it is always sad on one level to read these stories I also find the heroism of the next "greatest generation" uplifting. Perhaps you do too.