Jacquelyn Bradley was supposed be on a plane Thursday going on a trip, but she canceled the flight after finding out what her late husband’s friends had done to honor him.
Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. James Jay Bradley III, an Afghanistan veteran, died last May 22 of a brain tumor. He was 45.
He was among 39 people honored Thursday in a ceremony at the Museum of Aviation. Hundreds turned out for the Airman’s Memorial Service honoring current and former Robins Air Force Base employees who have died in the past year. Held annually since 1976 in conjunction with Memorial Day, the ceremony honors both military and civilian employees.
But to be honored, the deceased person has to be nominated, and when Bradley learned her husband’s friends had done that, she decided she to postpone her trip.
“It just shows the people here on the base and in the community are pretty tight,” she said after the ceremony. “This is one of the best assignments we had.”
After each of the 39 names was read and a bell rung for each, a new memorial for the honorees was unveiled.
Previously, a memorial wall on the base recognized those honored, but most family members didn’t have base access to see it. The new memorial at the museum is a monument inscribed with a poem by a Air Force Maj. Christa Sechrist that honors their service.
Instead of names on a wall, there are now names in a kiosk in the museum that people can access and see a certificate for each honoree. The certificate can even be printed out to keep. All of the more than 2,000 previous honorees in the ceremony have their names in the kiosk.
Col. Lyle Drew, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, delivered the keynote address in the memorial ceremony.
“They are mechanics, and sheet metal workers, program managers and engineers, scientists, aviators and many more, all unsung heroes, who dedicated themselves to make Robins and the mission they support a global success,” Drew said.