By Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — With snow still on the ground, 30 members of Team Thule started their run from the 12th Space Warning Squadron phased array radar to the pier at the bay on base, known as the Memorial Day Array-to-the-Bay Relay Run.
With close to 24 hours of daylight and a vast expanse of open Greenlandic territory, teams ran a relay totaling 16 miles and some individuals took off on their own for 12.6 miles; all braving the cold weather in memory of Airman 1st Class Matthew Seidler and Capt. David Lyon, two fallen service members from the 21st Space Wing.
The event was a culmination of weeks of planning, a wide-array of supporting base agencies from multiple countries, more than 20 volunteers, a moving speech by Lt. Col. Jim Lovewell, 821st Air Base Group deputy commander, who was Lyon’s Former squadron commander and mentor at Peterson Air Force Base, and a group of very motivated runners.
“It was a time to stop and reflect on what Memorial Day means. This day was a particularly moving one for me, as earlier this year I witnessed first-hand the impact of Capt Lyon’s passing on his family and friends. My thoughts were also with the Seidler family during the run. In 2012, as the former 21 Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, I watched the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron organize to care for them the same way 21 LRS sought to comfort the Lyon family,” said Lovewell. “I also wanted to give the audience a clear picture of what these two service members did; they went in willingly to defend freedom for people they had never met and gave their lives for it.”
The run was held after a ceremony May 28, where members of Team Thule from the United States, Greenland, Canada and Denmark were in attendance, either volunteering or running. Approximately 30 percent of the base was at the event, on an installation where 24 hour operations are maintained.
“The run and memorial ceremony was very well received by Team Thule,” said Maj. Trevor Nolan, 12th SWS operations officer and participant. “Although we are extremely far away (from Peterson), this event allowed us to remain close to the space wing. The 12th SWS put on a solemn tribute that not only brought the reflection of what Memorial Day is to Team Thule, but allowed us to celebrate and remember the sacrifices of these two Airmen from our wing.
“The speech gave the runners and volunteers an insight to two of our fellow Airmen who sacrificed with their lives; it was a very moving speech. Not only did he speak on the individuals and their situations in combat, but how many people are touched when a service member loses their life, their families and comrades, but he also spoke about what it means to live on and to live beyond the sacrifice,” said Nolan. “The speech filled me with energy during the run, as I am sure it did for all of the runners. The Arctic this time of year is surreal, it’s an impressive landscape and it was fitting to bring honor to these two individuals.”
The event, spearheaded by 2nd Lt. Kendra McArthur, 12th SWS crew commander, allowed runners to honor and remember the pair as members who personified service before self.
“Both of these gentlemen embodied sacrifice; I want people to know that they can embody sacrifice by sacrificing every day for each other,” said Lovewell. “The run is a reminder that even though neither one of the gentlemen had been to Thule Air Base, they had a far reaching impact.”
The Lyon and Seidler families will receive mementos from the run at Thule, including photos and a commemorative coin from the day.
Results from the race include:
1st: 12th Space Warning Squadron
2nd: Combined U.S. and Danish personnel
3rd: 821st Security Forces Squadron
1st: Capt. Jason Stack, 821st SFS
2nd: Tech. Sgt. Brian Stilgebouer, 821st SFS
3rd: Master Sgt. Charles Paulson, 821st Support Squadron