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Port Dawgs run to remember their fallen

Reservists from the 39th Aerial Port Squadron run in formation during their 4th annual Port Dawg Memorial Run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, May 6, 2018.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Reservists from the 39th Aerial Port Squadron run in formation during their 4th annual Port Dawg Memorial Run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, May 6, 2018. The memorial run is centered on remembering fallen members of the logistics and aerial port career fields and is shared Air Force-wide. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- During the 302nd Airlift Wing’s Wingman Day this year, reservists from 39th Aerial Port Squadron ran in their 4th annual Port Dawg Memorial Run May 6.

The 5K run is an event logistics readiness and aerial port Airmen across the Air Force share, including those deployed, to honor and reflect on those in their career field who have passed away. For the members of the 39th APS, the run takes place during the May Unit Training Assembly to coincide with National Defense Transportation Week, which is during the second week of May.

“This hits close to home, especially when you’re remembering one of your own,” said Senior Airman Gabriel Toepel, a 39th APS transportation technician who volunteered to help coordinate the run this year. “I was close professionally and personally to someone we lost last year.”

Last year, Master Sgt. Kelly Bartholomew, 39th APS, passed away.

“I had a lot of respect for him,” said Toepel. “He was one of those NCOs who exemplified the core values of the Air Force. And helping put on this event really gives me a sense of pride and purpose reflecting on not just the port dawgs we’ve lost here, but across the Air Force.”

Before kicking off the run, Maj. Emily Barry, the 39th APS commander, reminded the group of nearly 50 runners why they were out there.

“This is a time for us to reflect on those we’ve lost,” she said.

Reservists part of an aerial port squadron, sometimes called “port dawgs,” provide support to ramp and cargo operations, passenger services, load planning, special handling and manning air terminal operations centers.

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