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Fallen Nellis Airmen remembered during annual memorial dedication

LAS VEGAS -- A bicyclist places a flag at the foot of the Defending Freedom Memorial at Red Rock National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, May 14. The Defending Freedom Memorial honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS -- A bicyclist places a flag at the foot of the Defending Freedom Memorial at Red Rock National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, May 14. The Defending Freedom Memorial honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS --Col. Kit Lambert, 99th Security Forces Group commander, speaks during the 6th annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony at the Red Rock National Conservation Area May 14, 2011. Hosted annually, the event honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS --Col. Kit Lambert, 99th Security Forces Group commander, speaks during the 6th annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony at the Red Rock National Conservation Area May 14, 2011. Hosted annually, the event honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS --The shadows of Nevada Congressman Joe Heck and his son, Joseph, are visible as they pay their respects at the Defending Freedom Memorial at Red Rock National Conservation Area May 14, 2011. Congressman Heck was a guest speaker at  the 6th annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony. Hosted annually, the event honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS --The shadows of Nevada Congressman Joe Heck and his son, Joseph, are visible as they pay their respects at the Defending Freedom Memorial at Red Rock National Conservation Area May 14, 2011. Congressman Heck was a guest speaker at the 6th annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony. Hosted annually, the event honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS -- Attendees listen as guest speakers honor fallen servicemembers with Nevada ties during the 6th annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony at the Red Rock National Conservation Area May 14, 2011. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS -- Attendees listen as guest speakers honor fallen servicemembers with Nevada ties during the 6th annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony at the Red Rock National Conservation Area May 14, 2011. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS -- The Defending Freedom Memorial is located at the Red Rock National Conservation Area in Las Vegas.  The memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. In 2011, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS -- The Defending Freedom Memorial is located at the Red Rock National Conservation Area in Las Vegas. The memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women. In 2011, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. All four Airmen were lost in 2010 while supporting operations in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Nicley)

LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Benefits Foundation and Gold Star Families honored four fallen Nellis Airmen during the 6th Annual Defending Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony at the Red Rock Canyon Visitors Center May 14.

Hosted annually, the event honors fallen servicemembers with ties to Nevada and provides a forum for the community to express its appreciation for this sacrifice. The Defending Freedom Memorial was initially dedicated in 2005 and is comprised of seven sandstones with the engraved names of Nevada's fallen servicemen and women.

This year, the names Nellis Airmen Senior Airman Michael Buras, Staff Sgt. David Smith, 1st Lt. Joel Gentz and Capt. David Wisniewski were added to the memorial. The names of three other Nevada servicemembers U.S. Army Spc. Brian Tabada, U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Hennigan and U.S. Marines Sgt. Frank Zaehringer were also added to the memorial. All seven servicemembers were lost in Afghanistan during combat operations in 2010 and 2011.

The Defending Freedom Memorial is open to the public and provides a forum for the families of the fallen and the community to show solidarity and support. For more information on the memorial or annual dedication ceremony, visit www.defendingfreedom.org.

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