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Symbols We Stow: Capt. Leanne Babcock

(Editor’s Note: This article is the third in an ongoing series.)

 

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Capt. Leanne Babcock, 349th Logistics Readiness Squadron operations officer, carries a few things with her when she travels for the Air Force; including two coins and a laser engraved bracelet.

 

One coin is from Logistics Readiness Officer technical school graduation, a representation of her achievement of becoming an officer after five years of being an enlisted Airman.

 

“The second coin represents the Veteran Alumni Organization at San Diego State,” said Babcock. “I was the founding president and wanted to bridge that gap for student veterans between graduation and real world. We have an extremely active veteran community for all branches of service.”

 

The bracelet stands out most, as it shows a name of someone who has affected her life: Capt. David Lyon, who was a Logistics Readiness Officer for the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

“I’ll rotate the coins in a few months,” said Babcock, “But the bracelet will remain. It’s a part of my uniform now. It feels strange not wearing it.”

 

Babcock met Dave at LRO technical school in January 2009 where they were in the same flight together.

 

“Dave was a motivator and never quit, he was a true ‘lion’,” said Babcock.

 

They continued to work together for several years after attending LRO technical school. They worked for the 21st LRS, as well as volunteered at the US Air Force Academy.

 

Lyon was the first LRO killed in action during the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns. When Babcock heard the news of her fallen friend, she immediately began working alongside other LROs and friends to contact the right people to get Lyon’s wife home from deployment.

 

“The announcement hadn’t been made public yet so we were working off little information,” said Babcock. “LROs are networked and move quickly to provide support.”

 

Now, Babcock believes it is important to keep the memory of her fallen friend vivid.

 

“When someone asks me who the person on the bracelet was, it is an opportunity to share a story about a friend and a fellow Airman,” she said.

 

Babcock uses the memories that come with the bracelet and coins to motivate her to do more outside of her Air Force career. She is in the nation’s top 25 female veterans for Ms. Veteran America and advocates for homeless female veterans, a growing issue in the United States that she is working hard toward fixing.

 

“What she’s trying to do is raise awareness for the problem with those that deal with them regularly, but may not even know about it,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Padgett, 821st Contingency Response Squadron ramp coordinator.

 

Her goal is to make connections with first responders in the local area and educate them on how to bridge the gap between homeless female veterans and the resources they can use for help.