Road renamed for Capt. Kermit Evans

Cannon Connections: Gabriel Monte Kermit Evans Jr., 5, left, and his mother Perneatha Evans, unveiled a road sign on April 8 at Cannon Air Force Base dedicated to Capt. Kermit Evans Sr., who died in Iraq in December 2006.

Gabriel Monte

Kermit Evans Jr. shares the same build as his father, according to his mother, Perneatha Evans.

The 5-year-old boy ran around taking snapshots with his point-and-shoot camera as men in uniform laughed.

And when he pulled off the veil for a new street sign at Cannon Air Force Base, Kermit Jr. joked and laughed that it was his name on the sign marking the street in front of the Civil Engineering Squadron’s building.

In fact, it was his father being memorialized that Friday.

At a ceremony to honor Capt. Kermit Evans Sr., more than 100 people gathered at the base fire department to learn about the bravery of Kermit Jr.’s father. Capt. Kermit Evans Sr. died in Iraq in December 2006 when the helicopter he was riding to Baghdad crashed in a lake near Haditha.

Perneatha Evans said her husband believed in his country, his men and what they stood for: Protecting the country.

“He wouldn’t do anything he didn’t believe in,” she said.

To honor Evans’ sacrifice, the 27th Civil Engineering Squadron renamed Argentina Avenue to Kermit Evans Avenue. Evans was the first fatality from the 27th Special Operations Wing during Operation Iraq Freedom, according to 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Daniel Guinan.

“We will remember that our unit and our Air Force is built upon the shoulder of giants,” Guinan said during the memorial ceremony.

Evans was assigned to the squadron before deploying to Iraq as the operations officer of an experimental Air Force unit tasked to disarm and analyze improvised explosive devices during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Col. Craig Perry, the unit’s commanding officer, said Evans was an integral part of the mission as he was able to cut through different military groups and build a relationship with the members of the unit.

“He had the ability to talk to anyone and make you feel like you were the most important person in the world,” said Perry, who is assigned to the Pentagon.

During his time with the unit, Perry said Evans went on 70 missions.

As the closing speaker at the ceremony, base commander Col. Stephen Clark said he hopes Evans’ legacy will inspire other airmen to do great things.

He said while he was glad Evans was honored that day, he won’t be the last fallen soldier.

“What we do is dangerous.” he said.

Evans’ mother, Margaret, said she was excited about the ceremony and the dedication.

“Cannon will always have a memory of Capt. Evans,” she said.

It will also be something for Kermit Jr. to come back to and see when he’s older and can appreciate the sacrifice his father made.

For now, the 5-year-old heads to kindergarten this year, but what he knows of his father is enough, according to Perneatha.

“He’s proud of his dad. He’s a soldier, he was a hero, that’s what he’ll say,” she said.