JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
For the past nine years on April 27, a nine-person formation could be seen running 2.7 miles on Langley Air Force Base.
The precise mileage represents April 27, and the nine-service member formation represents nine lives that were lost during a tragedy in 2011.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles Ransom, 83rd Network Operations Squadron plans and operations flight commander, gave his life along with eight other service members while deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan on that day in 2011.
This year, because of COVID-19 precautions, the squadron participated in a virtual remembrance run. Members ran alone or in small groups and posted pictures, videos and comments on Facebook.
“With the restrictions currently in place for COVID-19, we wanted to ensure the annual event kept going; we just had to make some modifications,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Argabright, 83rd NOS superintendent. “One of the positives that came from posting the run on the squadron’s Facebook group was that many Black Knight alumni were able to be a part of the remembrance as well.”
Ransom served at the NATO Air Training Command as a senior advisor to the Afghan Air Force, Kandahar Air Wing Communication Squadron commander.
Ransom’s life was tragically cut short when a 20-year-old Afghan veteran opened fire on the group, killing nine.
Ransom was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Force Combat Actions Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal and was posthumously promoted to Major in recognition of his actions preceding and during the incident.
“When a new member joins the Black Knight family they quickly learn about Major Ransom,” Argabright said. “In our squadron we have a conference room in remembrance of him with pictures, a plaque, a scrapbook, one of his uniforms and a supply of Red Vines because they were his favorite snack.”
The squadron remembers the ultimate sacrifice Ransom made for his country year-round.
“Everyone who knew him says the same thing, he was a great officer, Airman and person,” Argabright said. “Continuing his legacy impacts our squadron by reminding us that wearing the uniform is more than just a job, it also reminds our members that they will be Black Knights forever.”
James Lotspeich, a former Black Knight, posted on the squadron’s Facebook page after completing his run. “It was an honor to serve in the 83rd because of its amazing people doing incredible things for the Air Force. It is also a squadron that honors its own. I proudly ran in honor of Major Ransom, and count myself blessed to carry on the legacy he left behind. Black Knights, lead the fight!”