At 10:17, April 27, 2011, nine Americans gave the ultimate sacrifice to help preserve America's freedom.
Eight U.S. Airmen and one U.S. retired Army lieutenant colonel, working as an Air Force contractor, were shot by an Afghan colonel in Kabul, Afghanistan, the greatest loss of Air Force lives in one incident since the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996.
May 1, the early morning capture and shooting of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan at 1 a.m., May 2 (Pakistan time) changed headlines and news cycle coverage.
For the families of the Airmen and those who served with the fallen Airmen in Kabul, the celebrations around most of the world were especially tough. The 438th Air Expeditionary Force continued its day-to-day advisory training of the Afghan air units, just as before, but with heightened security in the aftermath of the Kabul shootings.
Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff, 75th Air Base Wing and Ogden Air Logistics Center command chief, was the command chief at the time for the 483th Air Expeditionary Wing and recalls the tragedy vividly.
He hopes all Airmen and their families take some time to remember their fallen comrades.
On that day an Afghan colonel, Col. Ahmed Ghul, started shooting U.S. personnel at the airport building. The shootings appeared to be premeditated. The colonel was experiencing financial difficulties and reports vary on other possible contributing factors as to his actions that day.
Following the initial shots in the crowded room, Capt. Nathan Nylander and another Airman in an adjacent room returned fire at Col. Ahmed Ghul and the Afghan returned fire wounding Nylander who died as a result. The shooter then returned his focus to the room where he had wounded the eight Americans.
Ghul then ran upstairs and died there in a firefight from injuries which were reported as self-inflicted, or as possibly a combination of the firefight and his self-inflicted wounds.
For nine U.S. families, their lives had been turned upside down.
Grindstaff, who accompanied his fallen comrades to Bagram, remembers with quiet solemnity the two different ramp ceremonies at each airport.
At Bagram, the detail for the fallen Kabul members consisted of 72 Airmen who transferred their remains through the pouring rain in the early morning hours. Several thousand Airmen were present for the ceremony.
Killed in the April 27, 2011, incident were:
SBltâÇMaj. Philip D. Ambard, 44, of Edmonds, Wash. He was assigned to the 460th Space Communications Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
A memorial wall and monument is planned at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The base is where most of the advisors received their linguistics training and they all received cultural briefings before their deployments.
For more information on the memorial efforts check out the website at www.airadvisormemorial.com.