Inspiration finds AF Drill Team on European tour

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel DeCook
  • 844th Communications Group (AFDW)
Of the many performances the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team does every year, each leaves its mark on the members in its own way. Whether it's meeting a retired veteran who is reinspired by a performance, or it's seeing a child who stands up proudly to say, that's what I will do, the job of being a Drill Team member has its own responsibilities and rewards. 

A recent trip overseas left one member of the team speechless, and the rest overwhelmed. Upon seeing the bravery and sacrifice of all the branches' wounded men and women at a recent trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, each team member said they were proud to have been able to perform for these heroes. But Senior Airman James Cashwell, a Drill Team member, had more of a reason. 

After the performance, when the team visited wounded warriors in their rooms, Airman Cashwell spotted a very familiar face in a very unfamiliar location. His hometown friend, Army Specialist Matthew Goodwin, was lying in a bed with his wounded arm completely wrapped from fingertips to elbow. Airman Cashwell, caught up by the sight of his wounded friend, was unable to say anything but Specialist Goodwin's hometown nickname. Hearing that, Specialist Goodwin sat up in his bed and looked to recognize a longtime friend, both thousands of miles from their hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C. 

"It was pure shock, I couldn't believe my eyes and I didn't really know what to think," said Airman Cashwell. "I just couldn't believe a guy I went to school with was now lying in a hospital bed after being hit by an (improvised explosive device)." 

As a nurse entered the room with pain medication for Specialist Goodwin, he declined and told the nurse, "Oh, I forgot about the pain--it really doesn't bother me now that he is here." 

The trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, though not the only performance of this European tour, was the most memorable. The team also traveled across Italy, Hungary and Germany to perform at five Air Force bases and at a ceremony in Miskolc City, Hungary, from July 26 to August 3.