ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, and more than 6,000 people were injured in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
For many currently serving their country in the armed forces, the attacks on Sept. 11 cemented their determination to bring the fight to the nation’s enemies, including Capt. Jeremy Curbey, director of staff for the 37th Bomb Squadron.
“On 9/11 I was stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, as an F-16 dedicated crew chief,” Curbey said. “The morning of the attacks I woke up, started to get ready to head into work like any other day and turned on the TV. Right away the news was reporting on the incident in the first tower.”
Not long after the second tower was hit, Curbey rushed into work where he received a briefing and a tasking to generate F-16s to fly combat air patrol over Phoenix, Arizona, in case another attack deeper into the United States was to occur.
“We quickly set off on our task to get the aircraft ready, and within hours we had four F-16s in the air for the next 24 to 48 hours or so,” Curbey said. “Everyone was ready to take the fight to the enemy, and lots of us volunteered to aid other F-16 units who were deploying.”
The events that day ultimately led to a career change for the Airman. Six years later, Curbey completed Officer Training School where he was selected to fly the B-1 bomber.
“The events on 9/11 solidified my pursuit of becoming a combat aviator,” Curbey said. “Today, the thing I enjoy the most about my job is actually the thing I have enjoyed the most about every one of my assignments, the camaraderie. There is a shared sense of purpose with my fellow crew members and an understanding of the importance of our missions that is inspiring, especially during combat deployments.”
As a B-1 pilot, Curbey continues to be a member of a community that is wholly engaged in the nation’s fight. Last year, the 37th BS deployed a record-setting number of munitions against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) targets during their deployment downrange.
“We are truly a band of brothers who are highly motivated in our shared desire to wipe terrorist organizations from existence,” Curbey added. “There is also a strong sense of commitment to keep our fellow service members, family and friends safe.”
Curbey stated one of the most fulfilling roles the B-1 has is close air support, although not initially intended or built for CAS.
“Since 9/11, the B-1 has become an expert in CAS operations, and there is nothing more honorable than protecting your fellow service member from the enemy,” Curbey said. “This is what the B-1 community has been doing every day since our homeland was attacked and I am very humbled and honored to be part of it.”