LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
An idea that began four years ago comes to fruition Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. when a ribbon cutting ceremony unveils a new exhibit at the USAF Security Forces Museum on Lackland.
"Into the 21st Century" tells the Security Forces story of new and expanded roles in Southwest Asia, and Camp Bucca, Iraq, and the global fight against terrorism. Through displays, artifacts and modern technology, the exhibit describes how Security Forces support began to evolve in the early part of the 21st Century.
Brig. Gen. Jimmy McMillian, director of Security Forces and deputy chief for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Col. William H. Mott V, 37th Training Wing commander, will speak at the ribbon cutting. General McMillian, Colonel Mott and family members representing fallen Security Forces Airmen since 2001 will cut the ceremonial ribbon.
"The event honors all the Security Forces Airmen who have been to Southwest Asia this century," said Capt. Kevin Lombardo, 343rd Training Squadron director of operations and event coordinator. "I've done four tours in Iraq, and many others have (served multiple tours). We'll be able to look back and say this is what we did for the defense of our country. It's a living history."
Located on the second floor of the museum, the exhibit includes the first Security Forces paratrooper jump, the Camp Bucca detention center, and the expanded roles and duties of Security Forces Airmen.
It also incorporates two interactive computer stations with touch screen technology. The computers are programmed for visitors to access additional images of pertinent objects and photographs in the collection. Information on the culture, climate and conditions Security Forces encountered, along with customs, commerce, ways of life and the political environment of the area are also available on the computers.
Milita Rios-Samaniego, museum director/curator, said the removable computer-generated backdrop was developed by graphic arts designers at the Lackland multi-media center. Volunteers designed, built and installed the simulated floor terrain as the museum and numerous Air Force and base organizations worked together on the project.
"What makes computer technology so valuable to the exhibit is we can add and change it," Ms. Rios-Samaniego said. "(The ceiling height for the exhibit) gives an expanded view of the terrain. They're not dealing with an urban environment but mainly countryside."
The exhibit opening occurs on the five-year anniversary of the death of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, the first female Airman killed in the line of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Security Forces member killed in conflict since Vietnam. The ceremony brings together family members from five of the eight fallen Security Forces Airmen this century, the largest gathering at one time for those Gold Star families.
A memorial one-mile walk and 5K run begin in front of the museum at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Gold Star family members will lead the walk and more than 650 Security Forces Airmen are registered for the run.
Femoyer Street, which fronts the museum, will be blocked off for the run and ribbon cutting.