- Posted February 15, 2014 by
USAF Non Commissioned Officer Disrespects Prisoner of War Flag at Fairchild AFB
Late yesterday evening, this photo of then Senior Airman Cherish Byers, who is assigned to the 92nd Security Forces Squadron, Fairchild AFB Washington was leaked onto the Facebook group “You Might Be Security Forces If”. Within minutes of its appearance on the “You Might Be Security Forces If” page, another page SF Tool of The Day picked it up, where it garnered nearly 400 comments. There are many things wrong with this picture but I will just point out the ones that matter the most. First, is the blatant disrespect to former Prisoners of War like Senator John McCain, Buddy Day and many more. Second, that rope on her shoulder denotes a position on the Fairchild AFB, Honor Guard, whose vision (and mission) is to:
“… to ensure a legacy of Airmen who: promote the mission; protect the standards; perfect the image; and preserve the heritage.”
This is exactly what she is NOT doing, and it is very disturbing. Her defense of the photo, which is of course sans an apology, reads as:
“This pic is 3 years old. I was a young airman who didn’t care (not uncommon). I was young and dumb. There are much bigger issues to be worried about than a 3 year old pic that was leaked. So get off of Facebook, and go to take care of your children, because one day it may be them in my shoes, getting called out of their name for a mistake that took a few second to make but a lifetime to make up for.”
She honest to God believes that since she won some squadron awards, went to school full time and volunteered on her off time that this picture doesn’t matter. It does believe me. The more important issue is why she is a Non Commissioned Officer in MY United States Air Force. I don’t care if it was five minutes ago, five days ago, or five years ago. You NEVER EVER disrespect the men and women who were held captive behind enemy lines, and those who never returned to their families. I’d like to note that no our children would never be “in your shoes” getting called out because unlike you, our children know how to be respectful to those who were held captive, missing or killed in action.
Although many thought this picture and her response was the worst of it, her supervisor, who was adamantly defending her tasteless and disrespectful act told another veteran to “kill himself” because “"we all did crazy stuff and if you want to be that person to say you didn’t go play in traffic blind folded". As many service members know the second most important issue we have behind sexual assault is suicide prevention. This is not acceptable from anyone at all, period.
You have brought shame to the United States Air Force, Security Forces, Fairchild Air Force Base, the Honor Guard, the 92nd Security Forces Squadron, and every female Security Forces member past and present.
Edit: After some elementary investigation, I have been able to determine that this picture cannot be more than a year and a half old. Let me explain… Cherish Byers was stationed at Kadena AB, Japan from 2009 to 2011. She did not earn BTZ so that means she put SrA on at 28 mos TIS/TIG for a six year enlistee, or 36 months for a 4 year enlistee. Either way, she put the stripe on in June or July time frame. The first known date I have found for her was an honor guard photograph dated May 29, 2012. Now, no-one has ever PCS’d and just walked into a position on the Honor Guard. Personnel have to be at the base, learn their jobs and completed a duty evaluation. This normally takes about six months. This means the only way the picture can be three years is if it was taken at Kadena AB between July and December of 2011.