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AFSOC Christmas tree honors the fallen

One person standing, placing a star on a Christmas tree.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Cory Olson, Air Force Special Operations Command command chief, places a star on the AFSOC Honor Tree at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Dec. 9, 2019. The Honor Tree is an AFSOC Preservation of the Force and Family initiative to remember AFSOCā€™s fallen Airmen. The tree contains red, white, blue and gold stars, with gold marking those killed in combat. This initiative ensures the Airmen are never forgotten. (Courtesy photo)

HURLBURT FIELD, Florida --

In the Air Force Special Operations Command Headquarters building, there is a Christmas tree, beautifully lit with a long red garland draped around it and more than 200 stars hanging on its branches.

It’s a holiday tradition to decorate a tree and place gifts under it for the special people in our lives. This tree is more special than most. It’s referred to as the Honor Tree. The stars remind us of the most precious gift any of us have received.

Each star carries the name of an AFSOC fallen hero and the date on which we lost them. The red, white, blue and gold colors represent our fallen heroes, with gold marking those killed in combat.

Leadership from the 24th Special Operations Wing, 1st SOW and Headquarters AFSOC gathered to place stars on the tree at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Together, they remembered and honored members of their commands who fell in 2019.

AFSOC’s Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) came up with the idea for the Honor Tree.  It’s a way to remember all those that are no longer with us. These Air Commandos will not be forgotten.