Hanscom gates renamed for fallen Airmen

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – More than 250 people gathered here today for a gate dedication and renaming ceremony in honor of two former members of the 66th Security Forces Squadron.

The gate formerly known as Hartwell Gate is now the Senior Airman Kcey Ruiz Gate, or Ruiz Gate. The former Vandenberg Gate is renamed Senior Airman Nathan Sartain Gate, or Sartain Gate.

Both security forces Airmen were killed in 2015 when the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft they were on crashed shortly after takeoff in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Wilmer Puello, a member of the 66 SFS who worked with Sartain, spoke about his fellow Airman during the ceremony at the Minuteman Commons.

“He wasn’t just phenomenal on the job, but off the job, too,” said Puello. “He was a fantastic human being.”

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wright, who deployed with Sartain and Ruiz in 2015, discussed the caliber of people they were.

“They were our family; they were the best people I could have ever asked to be on a deployment team with,” he said.

Wright, who flew with Ruiz prior to her teaming with Sartain, said he could not have asked for a better partner.

“I got to know her well during this time, something I’m very thankful for,” said Wright.

Chief Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, the installation’s command chief, spoke about the Airman’s Creed as it applies to these Airmen.

“They were leaders beyond their age and rank,” he said. “We will never leave these Airmen behind. We will not fail them, their memories, your families or this nation that they loved so dearly.”

Col. Chad Ellsworth, installation commander, mentioned the importance of the ceremony.

“To the Ruiz and Sartain families, thank you for being here today to mark this historic occasion,” he said. “Today marks a day we ensure the character, honor and sacrifice of Nathan and Kcey live on forever, not only through the memories of those whose lives they touched, but as a permanent reminder to all those who enter Hanscom Air Force Base.”

The Hartwell and Vandenberg Gates received their names by direct association to the streets they are on, dedicated during official ceremonies in September 1981 and April 1991 respectively, according to Randy Bergeron, the installation historian.

During the unveiling of plaques at the two newly-named gates, Ellsworth spoke about the legacy left behind by the sentry Airmen who once stood guard at them.

“From this day forward, anyone who enters these gates will know exactly who protects and guards Hanscom Air Force Base,” he said.