Annual ceremony pays tribute to deceased Team Robins members

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Hundreds of Team Robins members gathered May 21 to honor those who are now a part of the team in spirit only.

A drizzling rain forced the 33rd Annual Camellia Garden Memorial Service into the base chapel, where 66 people with associations to Robins were memorialized. Most of those died in the past year.

In her remarks to the approximately 500 people who attended the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander, mentioned two of the honorees by name. One was William T. Miller Sr., an Army Air Corps radio operator in Iowa Jima, and Staff Sgt. John Edward Washburn, who flew 47 missions on a B-24 in World War II, and later became a prisoner of war.

"There is a saying - I believe it was by a Vietnam veteran - all gave some and some gave all," General Peyer told the audience.

The ceremony also honored many civilians who have worked at Robins. One of those was Donna Harris, whose sister and daughter attended the ceremony. Ms. Harris worked for 33 years at Robins and was a supervisor on the flightline, said her sister, Connie Pace.

"I thought it was wonderful," she said of the ceremony. "She loved her job and was a very valuable person to Robins."

Ms. Pace said her sister died last June of cancer.

The names of the honorees are placed on a plaque at Camellia Garden, which is across the street from Horizons.

The ceremony included Master Sgt. Janis Thrift playing "Amazing Grace" on a bag pipe, General Peyer and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Thomas Fey laying a wreath, and the Robins Honor Guard giving a 21-gun salute outside the chapel.

Col. Debra Bean, vice commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, wrapped up the ceremony by thanking those in attendance, and stating it's an important event for the Robins family.
"Every time we remember a comrade who came before us, it reminds all of us who are serving now about the value of our service," Colonel Bean said. "It strengthens us, and reminds us that what we do here is important, that serving the nation is important and that our work is good and valuable."