NEWS | April 6, 2021

TACPs recognize Military Child of the Year

By Andrew C. Patterson Special Warfare Training Wing Public Affairs

Nyah Gray was recently named Operation Homefront's 2021 Military Child of the Year® for the Air Force. 

Gray was honored by the 353rd Training Squadron, Special Warfare Training Wing, during an Air Force Tactical Air Control Party, or TACP, final formation ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex April 2.

Selectees for the honor were chosen based on the positive impacts they had on their military family, school, and community. 

“Nyah has been the unofficial ambassador of the TACP community, attending our local events and supporting other Gold Star kids who have lost a family member,” said Matthew McMurtry, 353rd SWTS commander. “Nyah, our community congratulates you on your many achievements."

Nyah's mother, Heather Gray Blalock, said that after her father's death in 2012, the then-eight-year-old took on responsibilities at home, pitched in with cooking and helping her two younger siblings with homework. 

"Thank you for your continued support of our family, and all the Gold Star families," Heather said. "You are critical in maintaining their legacies."

During the ceremony, the names of fallen TACP members are called out in unison by all in attendance.

"The Final Formation is a ceremony the TACP community holds to memorialize their fallen comrades with push-ups," McMurtry said. "Today's significant call out is for Nyah's father, Maj. David Gray." 

Gray was a TACP air liaison officer who gave his life for his country while serving in Afghanistan. He and three others died in an attack by a suicide bomber. 

Nyah expressed her appreciation for the continued support the TACP community has given her family and she is proud to represent them and the Air Force. 

"I have been part of the TACP family for a while now and I want to thank all of you for supporting and helping me all these years with the loss of my dad," she said. "I am honored to unofficially represent the TACP community. Thank you for honoring my dad."

An Air Force Tactical Air Control Party is part of Air Force Special Warfare, or AFSPECWAR, which consists of ground combat forces that specialize in airpower application across hostile, denied, or diplomatically or politically sensitive environments.

Members of AFSPECWAR are employed to provide global access, precision strike, and personnel recovery capabilities across the spectrum of conflict and the multi-domain battlefield.