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Gold Star families honored at breakfast

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --

Gold Star family members were honored at a breakfast held at the Soundside Club here on Oct. 26, 2018.

Many family members of Special Tactics operators who have been killed in action attended the breakfast, including Valerie Nessel and Terry Chapman, the widow and mother, respectively, of Master Sgt. John Chapman, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

“Outsiders look in and think we’re taking care of all of you,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Guilmain, command chief of the 24th Special Operations Wing. “I see it from a different perspective. You make us better, you keep our history alive, and you show our guys in training that this is real.”

The term “Gold Star family” is a modern reference to the service flag. During World War II, families with loved ones serving in the armed forces would display a blue star, which was replaced by a gold star if that loved one passed away, allowing members of the community to know the price that family had paid.

In 2017, the chief of staff of the Air Force instituted a policy granting base access to Gold Star family members, and he encouraged installations to enhance their relationships with local Gold Star families.

Chapman’s family toured Hurlburt Field during a base-wide celebration, Oct. 25 – 27, in honor of Chapman receiving the Medal of Honor. They learned more about his duties as a Special Tactics operator and the legacy he left behind in the Air Force.