Law Enforcement Professionals from Central Florida Converge on MacDill for Memorial Ceremony

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Lisa Ray
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing
Citizen Airmen from the 927th Air Refueling Wing hosted law enforcement officers from the Tampa Bay and Central Florida region here May 5th at MacDill Air Force Base, FL for a memorial ceremony to honor law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

Colonel Doug Stouffer, 927th Air Refueling Wing Commander, welcomed guests and called attention to the families of four fallen who were in attendance. 

After recognizing family member by name, he thanked them for their sacrifice and reminded everyone we were there to honor them and all peace officers who have died in the line of duty.

“Our purpose is to honor those who have laid down their life so that we may be safe,” said Stouffer.

Officer Robert Struble from the Temple Terrace Police Department was the guest speaker. 

“We are here to honor the memory and the families of the good men and women who faced danger unflinchingly in their community,” said Struble.  “Selfless servants who stood up for all of us and their community.”

As a retired Army Reserve officer, Struble knows first-hand what it means to serve the community as a policeman and service the nation as a reserve service member. Many in attendance are currently serving their community as law enforcement and also serve their country as Reserve Airmen with the 927th Air Refueling Wing. 

Four months of planning by Airmen and active involvement from the surrounding community culminated in a robust ceremony that included peace officers from a dozen agencies honoring the fallen.

The ceremony’s impressive backdrop was a KC-135 aircraft flanked by law enforcement vehicles of all types including a SWAT truck from the Temple Terrace Police Department, motorcycles from the Manatee County Sherriff’s Office, and other vehicles from agencies across the region. 

The ceremony kicked off with a flyover of four law enforcement helicopters in a missing man formation; a joint effort with aircraft provided by the Hillsborough Sherriff’s Office, Tampa Police Department, Pinellas Sherriff’s Office, and Polk County Sherriff’s Office.

The flyover was followed by the presentation of the colors by the University of South Florida Police Department Honor Guard.

After the names of all the fallen were recited, Pinellas County Honor Guard was on hand to perform a 21-gun salute.  “Taps” was performed by a bugler from the Orlando Police Department followed by “Amazing Grace” performed by St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums of Tampa Bay.

The ceremony was started four years ago by 927th Air Refueling Wing Airmen as a way to honor the fallen during National Police Week.