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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Brother renders first salute from Afghanistan

Thursday, October 29, 2009

(Photo)
Master Sgt. Roger Nelson, renders the first salute to his half-brother 2nd Lt. Byron Kroger during the Officer Training School (OTS) graduation at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, via-satellite from Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2009.
(U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)
Commissioning into the Armed Forces is a priceless achievement and brings a great sense of accomplishment. On graduation day, cadets commemorate their long days of training and hard work alongside family and friends, to be officially commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force.

For Air Force Master Sgt. Roger Nelson, today's commissioning ceremony holds a special meaning. A budget analyst, assigned to Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan, he oversees the Afghan National Police financial requirements and is currently stationed at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan. He rendered the first salute to his younger brother, 2nd Lt. Bryon Kroger via-satellite during the Officer Training School (OTS) graduation at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

(Photo)
Master Sgt. Roger Nelson communicates with his half-brother 2nd Lt. Byron Kroger during the Officer Training School (OTS) graduation at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, via satellite from Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2009.
(U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)
"I'm proud to be a part of this ceremony and to be involved in such a time honored tradition of rendering a newly commissioned officer his first salute," said Nelson. The oldest son of four children, Nelson, a 20-year Air Force veteran, is assigned to the 20th Comptroller Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C. "As a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, I have known a lot of young lieutenants and I have no doubt that Bryon will make a great officer. He has initiative and an amazing work ethic which will serve him well as an officer."

Master Sgt. Nelson and 2nd Lt. Kroger both come from a lineage of military service in their family.

"My father, Roger Nelson Sr., served four years in the Army and was stationed in Germany and Thailand," said Nelson, a Granite Falls, Minn., native. "Byron's father Ralph Kroger, served in the Army as a paratrooper and our brother Donny served in the Army Old Guard at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia."

2nd Lt. Kroger, a 22-year-old native of Cherokee, and a Cornell College graduate, decided to follow in the proud footsteps of the family members before him and to wear the service uniform.

"My inspiration to serve comes from my favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, my father and my brother Master Sgt. Roger Nelson," said Kroger.

OTS is a group-level command with three squadrons, producing approximately 1,600 to 1,900 trained officers annually. OTS graduates enter all Air Force Total Force components: active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. The basic officer training program consists of 12 weeks of military instruction and leadership development for college graduates leading to a commission as a second lieutenant. The goal of this training is to instill high standards of conduct and provide officer candidates with the essential military knowledge and skills needed for effective performance as Air Force leaders.

For Kroger, receiving his first salute as an Air Force second lieutenant from his brother is the icing on the cake during a memory filled ceremony.

"It really means a lot to me," said Kroger. "I am very proud of him and his service to our country. The fact that he will be saluting me from Afghanistan and not while standing beside me makes it that more sentimental."

Due to military commitments on both ends, Master Sgt. Nelson and 2nd Lt. Kroger have not seen each other since July 4. However, with the help of today's advanced technology, the graduation ceremony certainly has become a mini reunion.

"It's great to see him there and know that he is watching my commissioning ceremony," said Kroger. "He makes me proud and I hope that I can do the same for him. Naturally, we all miss him here at home and it's great to be able to see him."

After graduation, 2nd Lt. Kroger will report to Goodfellow AFB, Texas, were he will train to become an intelligence officer and plans on serving for a very long time.

"I absolutely plan to make the Air Force a career," said Kroger. "It's my dream to make my way into the Office of Special Investigations career field. However, the Air Force needs come first and right now I am needed in intel. No matter where I am, I plan to give it my all."

For Master Sgt. Nelson, his current deployment tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom will be his last.

"When I return, I plan to retire in June 2010 and go back to a civil service position," said Nelson.

Thanks to modern technology, Air Force Master Sgt. Roger Nelson, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, was able to witness, via satellite, the graduation of his brother, 2nd Lt. Bryon Kroger, from Officer Training School in Alabama from half way across the world.

Master Sgt. Nelson is a budget analyst deployed from Shaw AFB, S.C. and calls Granite Falls, Minn., home. Lt. Kroger,who hails from Cherokee, next goes on to Goodfellow AFB, Texas, for intelligence school training.



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