Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Airforce Capt. Jeffrey Hill

Remember Our Heroes

Capt. Jeffrey Hill, 31, from York, Pa., a pilot assigned to Elmendorf's 517th Airlift Squadron; and Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Cicardo, 47, from Anchorage; 249th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, were killed in the C-17 crash on July 28, 2010.

As Hill's wife, Rachael, stood at the lectern, another airman read from the script she had written. "Jeff loved Alaska and wanted to take advantage of everything it had to offer," Rachael Hill wrote.

Her husband started out as an enlisted man at Elmendorf, then earned his commission in 2002 and worked as an instructor pilot. He was cheerful and a mentor for younger airmen, urging them to get and stay fit, the memorial program said.

The couple has two little boys, Rachael Hill wrote. Most in the crowd held it together until near the end when a vocalist sang "Amazing Grace." One little boy, crying, got in his mother's lap.

Captain Jeffery A. Hill: Captain Hill began his military career as an enlisted aircraft maintainer in 1998 and later earned his commission in 2002. In 2007 he was assigned to start up the new C-17A squadron in Alaska. He was a C-17A instructor pilot and operations flight commander for the 517th Airlift Squadron.

The 517th Airlift Squadron mourns the passing of an outstanding professional Airman, Captain Jeffrey A. Hill. Captain Jeffrey Hill was a C-17A Instructor Pilot and Operations Flight Commander, 517th Airlift Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Jeff began his military career in 1998 as an enlisted aircraft maintainer in the 12th Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf AFB. He was a phenomenal Airman and he loved being an Airman in Alaska's 3rd Wing.

After earning his commission in December 2002, he attended pilot training at Columbus AFB, MS. A gifted aviator, he remained in Mississippi as a T-1 instructor pilot to train the next generation of Air Force pilots.

In 2007, Jeff's dream became reality and he was assigned to stand up the new C-17A squadron in Alaska. Jeff was custom made for the challenging environment. He absolutely loved the outdoors. He was always traveling off-road, hunting and fishing, camping and hiking. His assignment to the 517th was the kind of challenge he thrived on.

As a new C-17A pilot, with T-1 instructor experience, he accelerated through challenging training programs and leadership roles to ultimately become the Operations Flight Commander and instructor in the tactical airlift mission. He was an amazing flight commander who took on additional squadron leadership roles.

He reinvigorated the booster club and motivated young airmen to get and stay fit. He spent countless time, mentoring younger Airman to give back what the 12th leadership had given him. Jeff's trademark was a positive attitude. His happiness and smile were infectious. Each problem was fun, each discussion was full of humor and walking away without gut laugh was rare.

His perfectly cheerful demeanor was essential to his new squadron. His laugh and sense of humor is missed at home and work. Those in our small, yet global Air Force are lost with words for the void created at his loss. We loved Jeff and his character and happy example will be remembered forever.

1 comment:

Robert Roulston said...

My Dad was a pilot with the 17th TAS in Alaska in the 1970's. He was a C-130 pilot there and dies in a crash at Sparrevohn AFS on April 28, 1978. I was 7 years old at the time and my brother was only 3. To hear about this accident and Captain Hill is painful news for me to hear. I feel very deeply for his wife and children. I am so sorry for your loss. Just reading this brings back many painful memories and I only wish there was something I could do or say to help others who find themselves in the sorrow I experienced so long ago. There are others who have been down this awful road before you, and we grieve with you.

Robert J. Roulston