Memorial for fallen Airman gets facelift

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Memorial for fallen Airman gets facelift
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Members of the 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron recently completed work updating and retouching Jacobson Barrier, a memorial dedicated to Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, who was killed in action Sept. 28, 2005 while performing convoy security duties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Dumboski)

6/19/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Jacobson Barrier, the memorial dedicated in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, was retouched, updated and rededicated recently by 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Airmen.

Originally placed in front of the 386th ESFS building, the barrier was made into a memorial by 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen after Airman Jacobson was killed in 2005 while providing security on a convoy mission in Iraq.

The barrier was placed in front of the wing headquarters building on the first anniversary of her death, to add prominence. However, over time the barrier deteriorated, so members of the 386th ESFS Viper Flight decided to give it a facelift.

"It had gotten to the point that the memorial didn't really look like a memorial anymore," said Airman 1st Class Richard Kirkland, of the 386th ESFS. "The paint was chipping, and people would sit on it while they smoked."

The members of the squadron wanted to do something to fix it up, so Airman Kirkland was selected to put together a team to coordinate the work on the memorial, said Staff Sgt. Joel Hunt, 386th ESFS Reconnaissance Patrol leader.

Over the next few weeks, a perimeter of rocks was placed around the memorial, and the squadron poured gravel into the perimeter. The team touched up the areas of the memorial where the paint was chipping and updated Airman Jacobson's ribbon rack to reflect the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal she received posthumously.

"The team did an amazing job," Sergeant Hunt said. "They made a fitting memorial to one of our own who fell in battle."

As a final touch, the Airman bought a plaque using donations from the squadron, and placed it in front of the memorial. The plaque explained who she was and how she died.

The members of the squadron did the work on the memorial out of respect, Airman Kirkland said. "We did it because it needed to be done, and no one else was doing it."

Airman Jacobson was the first female Airman and the first security forces Airman killed in action while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since her death, three more 386th AEW Airmen have been killed in action: Tech. Sgt. Jason Norton and Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, who were both killed in action Jan. 22, 2006; and most recently, Airman 1st Class Eric Michael Barnes, who was killed by an improvised explosive device while providing lead convoy duties for his unit, the 424th Medium Truck Detachment.

by Senior Airman Andrew Dumboski

386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs