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Air Advisor Academy unveils memorial for fallen Airmen

Sean Bryant and his mother Janice get a close view of the waterfall at the Air Advisor Memorial at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. Sean is the son of fallen Air Force air advisor Lt. Col. Frank Bryant Jr., who is one of nine air advisors killed Afghanistan on April 27, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

Sean Bryant and his mother Janice get a close view of the waterfall at the Air Advisor Memorial at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. Sean is the son of fallen Air Force air advisor Lt. Col. Frank Bryant Jr., who is one of nine air advisors killed Afghanistan on April 27, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

Family and friends of the nine Air Force air advisors who were killed in Afghanistan in 2011, gather at the Air Advisor Memorial at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. The memorial was built through donations and volunteer labor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

Family and friends of the nine Air Force air advisors who were killed in Afghanistan in 2011, gather at the Air Advisor Memorial at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. The memorial was built through donations and volunteer labor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

Colonel Olaf Holm, the commandant of the Air Advisory Academy, gives a
speech during the Air Advisor Memorial dedication ceremony at Joint
Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. Holm was the creative
force behind the memorial project. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman
Andrew Lee)

Colonel Olaf Holm, the commandant of the Air Advisory Academy, gives a speech during the Air Advisor Memorial dedication ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. Holm was the creative force behind the memorial project. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

Colonel Olaf Holm, the commandant of the Air Advisory Academy, gives a
speech during the Air Advisor Memorial dedication ceremony at Joint
Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. Holm was the creative
force behind the memorial project. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman
Andrew Lee)

Colonel Olaf Holm, the commandant of the Air Advisory Academy, gives a speech during the Air Advisor Memorial dedication ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., July 27, 2012. Holm was the creative force behind the memorial project. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

7/30/2012 -- JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The Air Advisor Academy here hosted a dedication ceremony for the new Air Advisor Memorial at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, July 27.

While the memorial honors all air advisors who have made the ultimate sacrifice, the ceremony honored one contracted and eight Air Force air advisors who were killed in Afghanistan on April 27, 2011. Maj. Jeffrey Ausborn, who was deployed from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, where he was an instructor pilot with the 99th Flying Training Squadron, was among the honored. He was serving as a C-27 instructor pilot with the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing at the time of his death.

More than 100 family members of those air advisors, as well as fellow air advisors and Air Force and community leaders, flew from around the world to attend the ceremony and honor Major Ausborn and the others who gave their lives that day:

Lt. Col. Frank Bryant Jr.
Maj. David Brodeur
Maj. Raymond Estelle II
Maj. Phil Ambard
Maj. Charles Ransom
Capt. Nathan Nylander
Master Sgt. Tara Brown
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. James McLaughlin

Linda Ambard, the widow of Major Ambard, said she was humbled when she first heard about the plans for the memorial, especially because her husband was an immigrant to the U.S. He had emigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela when he was 12 years old. Seeing her husband's military service honored and remembered by his Air Force family made her appreciate that extended family that much more, she said.

"It really is nice to know people still care, people still remember," Ambard said. "His name stands as a testimony to a life well lived."

That camaraderie played an important part in completing the memorial, said Col. Olaf Holm, the Air Advisor Academy commandant and the creative force behind the project. The whole thing was built through donations and volunteer labor, and the fact that it was finished in approximately four months is a testament to the power of community and family, Holm added.

The idea of having a peaceful, private place where people can remember and reflect on air advisors who have made the ultimate sacrifice is one Holm said he hopes will be embraced by the families of the fallen nine.

"These are really wonderful people who have gone through a tremendous amount," Holm said. "If in some way this eases their pain and makes them feel better, it's going be a huge emotional time for me."

(Editor's Note: 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs contributed to this report)