A Fallen Hero Comes Home

A photo from a prior Fallen Heroes escort along Bayshore Boulevard. Photo courtesy of Barbara Wright Brown Guzzon.

This morning shortly before 10, women wearing their bright red, MacDill AFB Enlisted Spouses Club shirts will assemble along Florida Keys Avenue, near the base theater.

Some will carry flags, some will bring their children not yet school age. They will be joined by active duty personnel, veterans and civilian staff who work on base. Hundreds will come together to pay tribute to a fallen airman who is coming home for a final time through MacDill Air Force Base.

It’s a sobering moment, a mixture of pride, tears and reflection on those currently deployed. Off the Base contributor Jackie Dorr, president of the MacDill ESC, describes what it’s like for her to attend such tributes in her recent blog: A Reality Check: Fallen Heroes.

An honor escort from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office will accompany Airman First Class Christoffer Johnson, 20, from MacDill to Bushnell National Cemetery.

Airman Johnson lived in Clarksville, Tenn. He was supporting Operation New Dawn and died Feb. 17 due to a non-combat related incident in Southwest Asia.  Johnson was assigned to the 423rd Security Forces Squadron, Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. His parents live in Florida.

Outside the MacDill gates, dozens of citizens will join the tribute, taking a moment to pay respect. The Lutz Patriots and the Troop Support Alliance plan to meet at The Colonnade Restaurant for the Honor Escort according to Shelly Vail. They’ll come with flags and banners to watch as the escort drives north on Bayshore to Platt St., Florida Ave., Scott St. to I-275 northbound.

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