One of the most frequent questions people ask me is “What brought you to Sumter?” And my short answer is family. But the question they sometimes forget to ask is, “What’s keeping you here?” While my answer for that question can be a great many things, nothing makes me more proud than to know that heroes exist and without a doubt, are living in Sumter. In the past, they have included General Thomas Sumter, Lt. Ervin D. Shaw, Major General George Lafayette Mabry, Jr., and three of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Heroes are still among us today, and I am privileged to walk among them every day of my life.
On occasion I also get to share in their lives and their experiences, which helps to serve as a constant reminder of how blessed we are as a people and a country. One such occasion is coming up on Saturday, February 9th at 7 pm in the Sumter Opera House.
Shaw Air Force Base has invited the community to experience the first of a six-part documentary from National Geographic, entitled “Inside Combat Rescue,” which highlights members of the U.S. Air Force during the conflict in Afghanistan.
Doors open at 6:30 pm, so come early to get a good seat. Admission is free and the event is open to all ages; however, parents are cautioned that some material may not be suitable for younger viewers.
“Inside Combat Rescue” is a series that focuses on the elite Combat Rescue members of the US Air Force, Pararescuemen, or PJs, and they have one mission: rescue American or Allied forces in extreme danger. PJs will do whatever necessary to bring home—safely—those in peril.
According to AFCENT Public Affairs, this series is the first of its kind for the Air Force. With more than 40 cameras, the National Geographic film-team spent five weeks covering the Airmen’s four-month deployment in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during which time the Airmen saved 108 lives on 130 missions. In their own words, the airmen refer to themselves as ‘part warrior, part medic, all hero.’
Also attending the Sumter event (and available for questions) will be some of Shaw AFB’s very own Combat Rescue members, as well as 9th Air Force Commander, Major General Lawrence Wells. Currently, more than 600 Airmen from Shaw are deployed in Afghanistan.
For more information, please check out the Facebook invitation to this important event. Join us Saturday, February 9th at 7 pm in the Sumter Opera House, located at 21 North Main Street…you too, can walk among, and talk to, heroes.
by Shelley Kile