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One Small Room For One Big Sacrifice
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kyle Gese - August 1, 2015

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SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – On July 14, 2015, a room at the 363rd Training Squadron was dedicated to honor Kent Salvage's sacrifice to the U.S. Air Force.

Not only was it dedicated for his service as an active duty aircraft armament specialist, but also for his continued service as a civilian instructor for the F-16 Aircraft Armament Training Flight at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

Colton Whitt, grandson of Kent “Doc” Salvage, looks at the photos of his grandfather after a room dedication ceremony to honor his service and sacrifice to the 363rd Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, July 14, 2015. Salvage passed away due to a heart attack and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese)
Colton Whitt, grandson of Kent “Doc” Salvage, looks at the photos of his grandfather after a room dedication ceremony to honor his service and sacrifice to the 363rd Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, July 14, 2015. Salvage passed away due to a heart attack and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

“I remember him always happy,” said Ernie Acosta-Rivera, a colleague who instructed with Salvage. “He always wanted to do the right thing – always wanted to do it right for the Airmen.”

Salvage served 20 years in the active duty Air Force. After completing Basic Military Training, he continued his education at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, where he learned the skills needed to be an aircraft armament specialist. Since then, he has served at assignments such as Luke AFB, Arizona, Ubon AB, Thailand, MacDill AFB, Florida, Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina, Suwon AB, Korea, Nellis AFB, Nevada, locations in Saudi Arabia, and Sheppard AFB, Texas.

Salvage never limited himself to working in one area. In fact, he has worked on several different aircraft systems including the F-100, F-4, A-10, F-117, B-52 and the F-16 aircraft.

“He was always laughing,” Acosta-Rivera recalled. “He was dedicated to making sure we did the best we could to make sure the Airmen got the right training.”

Though he had spent many years serving the Air Force as active duty, – and many more as a civilian – his career came to an untimely end. Salvage passed away shortly after retiring – for his second time – as a civilian instructor. Not long after he separated from teaching, Salvage suffered a fatal heart attack and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

“I didn't get to see my daddy a whole lot,” said his daughter, Lorie Whitt. “My daddy was a very kind and loving person. He was in desert storm when I got married. I wanted him to be home, but he couldn't because he was serving our country ... I missed my dad.”

Whitt's parents separated during her adolescent years and she lived with her mother. She spoke briefly about the difficulty of separation from her father while he was serving in a deployed environment.

“He was gone for a year and I didn't know if he was alive,” she said. “When he was in the military I didn't get to see him much. He really loved us though.”

Many friends and family gathered for the dedication ceremony to remember his sacrifice. An eerie silence crept over the room filling everyone with sadness and pride as Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Lapham read the final remarks. Although it was a moment for some to say goodbye, it was also a moment that immortalized him with the 82nd Training Wing.

By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kyle Gese
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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