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Cannon News


  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Charles Dickens
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

In the months following an aircraft mishap, a group of Air Commandos and community members are doing their best to see the positive in a negative situation. At Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, a group of family, friends and colleagues are turning a major hardship into a constructive movement in hopes of carrying on one Airman’s legacy and honoring his memory.


On March 14, 2017, a U-28A aircraft, assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron, crashed in eastern New Mexico. Maj. Andrew Becker was among the three Air Commandos whose lives were claimed in this incident. Becker’s wife, Shelly, decided to turn a bad situation around to look on the bright side and give back to the community that supported her in her time of need.


“Random Acts for Andy started as an idea I had initially following the incident,” Shelly Becker said. “In lieu of flowers, I thought about other options for people to show their generosity, care and concern. My initial thought was, ‘What would Andy want?’”


Shelly Becker started performing kind acts for members of the community as a way to thank them for their support during her darkest hour, and the movement became contagious.


“I didn’t really have any expectations set for this,” Shelly Becker said. “I had hope that at least one person would participate and share it, so that at least one person would benefit from this tragedy.”


Master Sgt. Trae Clark, 27th Special Operations Wing Protocol superintendent, was the first sergeant for the 318th SOS at the time, and knew Maj. Becker fairly well.


“Major Becker was my flight commander,” Clark said. “All three times I deployed, I was with him. The fact that Shelly was doing this made me try to figure out how I could pay it forward as well.”


The Clovis High School football team’s head coach, Calvin Fullerton, who attends the same local bible study as Clark, reached out to Clark to provide a shoulder to lean on, but also wanted to do something special for him.


“He was trying to figure out a way to show his support for me and everything that I was going through as the first sergeant for the squadron,” Clark said. “He reached out to one of his former players, Rishard Matthews with the Tennessee Titans. He told Rishard what happened, and he in turn sent me a signed jersey to show his support.”


Fullerton, who has grown up around the Air Force his entire life, knew how difficult an incident of this caliber was for those networked to the crash. He wanted to do what he could to help ease others’ pain and to show his appreciation for what they had done.


“When we talk about random acts of kindness, and Random Acts for Andy, that act is what snowballed this whole thing,” Clark said. “Coach Cal’s heart, reaching out to me; I didn’t even know him and he didn’t know me.”


Clark went on to organize a workout plan for the Clovis High School football team to allow them to come to Cannon AFB and participate in an intense workout with personnel from the 26th Special Tactics Squadron.


“Major Becker used to play high school football,” Clark said. “When I told Shelly I was coordinating the high school workout program in honor of #RandomActsForAndy, she simply asked, ‘What can I do?’”


Shelly Becker made a donation to the Clovis High School football team to help them replace their travel bags and other uniform items and equipment.


“It was a way for me to say thank you to all the kindness, support and love the community has shown to me through the devastation of the incident,” Shelly Becker said. “A way to just try to pay it forward.”


“The Random Acts for Andy is just so Andy,” she said. “That’s just who he was, and this is a tribute to him.”