Guam Port Dawgs remember fallen Airmen in annual memorial run

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Mary Andom
  • 624th Regional Support Group

Air Transportation Airmen assigned to the 44th Aerial Port Squadron and the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, located at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, participated in the annual Port Dawg Memorial Run, May 15, 2022.

This year’s 1.5-mile run united 200 Reserve Citizen and active duty Airmen along with their families to remember fallen Airmen in the air transportation community.

The memorial run was initiated in 2013 at Kadena Air Base, Japan, by local Port Dawgs to memorialize the tragic loss of one of their own, Tech. Sgt. Curtis E. Eccleston. The event has since become an annual tradition observed across the entire career field.

"This event was particularly special to us as we recently lost one of our members, Staff Sgt. Guilbert ‘Guil’ Apresto, as well as past retirees of the 44th Aerial Port Squadron this year,” said Master Sgt. Daivar-Zherrel Apuron, an air transportation specialist assigned to the 44th APS. “So it hits home to our members.” 

Aerial port Airmen are transportation specialists also known commonly as “Port Dawgs.” Port Dawgs perform and manage air transportation activities to include planning, scheduling and processing passengers and cargo for air movement.

The special bond formed by port dawgs is cemented by the annual memorial run.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Evaristo, an air transportation specialist, participated in the run as a way to show support for his fellow Port Dawgs and to ensure the legacy of those fallen lives on.

“We run to remember those we lost,” Evaristo said. “We don’t quit to carry on their legacy.”

For Apuron, the memorial run is one way to build teamwork and unit cohesion.

“We are unique in the way that we see and treat each other as a family,” Apuron said. “This stems from the inherent islander culture of the 44th APS that creates a feeling of belonging and inclusivity. We support each other and watch each other's backs.”

The 44th APS motto is Banidån i Isla, Minetgot Enteru I Tano’, which translates from Chamorro to English as: "Island Pride, Global Stride.”

The 44th Aerial Port Squadron traces its lineage back to 1964. Constituted 944th Aerial Port Flight, it was activated on Jan. 28, 1964. The squadron organized in the Air Force Reserve on Feb. 15, 1964. The 944th APF was inactivated on Jan. 1, 1977, and was later re-designated the 44th Aerial Port Squadron on Dec. 16, 1981. It was activated in the Air Force Reserve shortly after on Jan. 1, 1982. The squadron was assigned to the 624th Regional Support Group on Jan. 1, 2002 and remains in that assignment to the present day.

This year, the Air Transportation community remembered the lives of 13 Airmen:

  • Master Sgt. Shawn Kane -- 32nd APS
  • Master Sgt. Gregory Steffers -- 10th MSS
  • Master Sgt. Christopher Decker -- 352nd SOW
  • Staff Sgt.  Guilbert "Guil" Apresto -- 44th APS
  • Staff Sgt.  Robert "Bobby" Buehler -- 109th LRS
  • Senior Airman Theron Wallace -- 81st APS
  • Airman First Class Chase Harding -- 58th OSS
  • Airman First Class Jacob Kidd -- 436th APS
  • (Retired) Master Sgt. Vicente Leon Guerrero -- 44th APS
  • (Retired) Master Sgt. John Onedera -- 44th APS
  • (Retired) Master Sgt. Angel Bermudez -- 44th APS
  • (Retired) Tech. Sgt. Ben Cabrera -- 44th APS
  • (Retired) Tech. Sgt. Rosalyn White -- 44th APS