Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Cicardo

Remember Our Heroes

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Cicardo, 47, from Anchorage; 249th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, were killed in the C-17 crash on July 28, 2010.

Serving more than 28 years in the military, Senior Master Sergeant Thomas E. Cicardo only needed service in the U.S. Coast Guard to round out his resume. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He joined the Alaska Air National Guard in 1997. A highly decorated combat veteran, SMSgt. Cicardo had 5400 flying hours and is credited with saving some 66 lives on the 58 search and rescue missions he was on. The 249th Airlift Squadron of the Alaska Air National Guard mourns the passing of one the Air Force's premier Loadmasters, Senior Master Sergeant Thomas E. Cicardo.

Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo served his country with high distinction for more than 28 years in the Armed Forces of the United States. Prior to joining the Alaska Air National Guard, Senior Master Sergeant served in the US Marine Corp, US Army, and the Air Force Reserve. He joined the Alaska Air National Guard in September of 1997, where his wide ranging military background made him an invaluable asset.

He spent his first eleven years in the Alaska Air National Guard in the 210th and 211th Rescue Squadrons, where he flew in an HC-130 aircraft. During his tenure in rescue, he partcipated in 58 Search and Rescue missions in the State of Alaska, in which he was credited with saving 66 lives and assisting 13 others to safety. He deployed multiple times in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, flying combat search and rescue missions in Afghanistan and personnel recovery missions in the Horn of Africa.

In 2008, Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo was handpicked to be part of the C-17 initial cadre to stand-up the 249th Airlift Squadron. Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo checked out in the C-17 "Globemaster III" aircraft and quickly upgraded to Instructor and Flight Examiner Loadmaster. He helped build the training and standardization/evaluation functions in the squadron. His efforts were instrumental in the squadron receiving an "Outstanding" rating during a recent Pacific Air Force's Standardization and Evaluation inspection, where was recognized as an "Outstanding Performer."

Over the course of his military career, Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo accumulated 5400 flying hours in the C-141, C-130, HC-130 and C-17 aircraft and visited countless countries. He was a highly decorated combat veteran receiving more than 30 awards and decorations, to include the Afghanistan Campaign medal, the Air Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Sergeant Cicardo home town of record is Anchorage, Alaska.

He was remembered Thursday by his Roseburg father-in-law as an adventurer who loved flying. “He literally flew all over the world,” said Fred Dayton, the father of Cicardo's wife, Theresa Dayton.

The four-engine jet crashed Wednesday evening after about a minute in the air above Elmendorf Air Force Base, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Witnesses told the newspaper the plane struck the ground in a huge ball of flame. “He just flat-out ran out of luck,” Fred Dayton said.

Cicardo met Theresa Dayton when she visited her sister, Eva Dayton King, in Anchorage. King and Cicardo lived on the same cul-de-sac. He had seen Theresa Dayton's photo and asked to meet her. “They met each other and fell in love,” said Bertie Dayton, Fred's wife and Theresa's step-mother. The couple celebrated their eighth anniversary eight days before the crash.

Cicardo wasn't scheduled to be aboard the flight, Fred Dayton said. He volunteered to go because one of the crew members was absent.

Cicardo had spent 25 years in the military, including stints with the Marines, with the Army's Airborne Rangers and most recently with the Air Force. He was a native of Wasilla, Alaska.

Cicardo was a very nice guy who relished his work, Fred Dayton said. “He would be gone for a few days at a time or a week. We didn't know what he did on those missions, but he enjoyed his experiences,” Dayton said.

More recently, Cicardo moved into more of an administrative position. “He had become kind of a desk jockey, but still went flying from time to time,” Dayton said. “It's very sad.”

6 comments:

stahlawhile said...

My name is Patrick Stahl. Tom and I served in the Army together at the US Southern Command in the Republic of Panama. It was the mid-1990's during and after "Just Cause" and we were pretty inseparable. He was on CINC protection detail and I ran a J2 shop. We lived in (what they called) a barracks but it was not actually on any military base. It sat in the old Mental Hospital ward behind Gorgas Army Hospital. Bars on every window, and not a single working lock on the front door. No guards at all, not gates to stop Julio's from coming up to the front door. Mold growing up the walls. We used to curse the command that put us in that place, just 3 doors apart. Needless to say, locked and loaded lol.

I wasn't married yet and hated the chow hall. He managed to turn that dive into a world class kitchen. Had every gourmet pot and pan the US Mail would deliver. He hated the wretched smell of that place so much he'd melt wax and make his own candles. Sounds weird for a couple guys, but it really made the place livable. He'd do the cooking and rely on me to go out and return with "company" for entertainment. Gosh I haven't thought about that in years.

He was so proud of his family and home in Alaska. All he'd talk about was wanting to get back home and find a way back into the air. I knew he'd do it. Apparently he did.

I guess I'm not supposed to say but we trained with some local shadow folks that weren't really in country (lol - seems silly now). We became both professional SCUBA Divemasters AND recreational Master Scuba Divers together. Him and those silly navy dive shorts. lol. I always told him he looked like an idiot in them, but he wouldn't get rid of them. Just flip me the bird and on with the mission we'd go. The years run together now but over the course of one full year ('94?) we actually went diving 52 weekends in a row. There was a hole-in-the-wall dive shop the other side of hell from where we were and if we'd show their gringos around underwater and keep them from overbreathing and floating up prematurely and killing themselves, they'd let us stay, eat and dive for free. Tom was in his element. We could sure put away a ton of booze before the Sunday morning deep dives. It was a slow sport. Tom hated anything too exhausting. I think that's why he became such a great shot lol. But he'd buy all the cool black accessories from the overseas catalogues lol. I remember we both had heavy duty military dive gear but even in his rec gear he wanted to be GI Joe. You couldn't question his grit.

I'm sitting here numb now. I think I'm in disbelief he's gone. I won't get to talk to him again till I cross over. But I know he'll be there to greet me. I know he lived up to his ethos on Earth and I know we should all be grateful we had a chance to spend a part of our lives hanging out with him. I'll raise a glass and a little extra bit of hell tonight in his honor. He did it right.

Love ya Tom,
Pat Stahl
SFC, USA
stahlawhile@gmail.com

TMDayton said...

25th of January 2013 would have been Tom's 50th birthday. Very hard not to have a party to prepare for & celebrate.
He was a good man & a damn fine Military Man.
Never ever thought in a million years I'd end up a Military widow.
Love You Tom!
- Theresa

Paul Couchman said...

Tom and I trained on C-17s together in Altus ,OK and formed a close bond in just a few short weeks. Two boys away from home missing our wives, we worked hard and played hard.

I miss you mate!

Paul Couchman
Royal Air Force

Suzy Crume said...

I met Tom at Cottonwood Creek Elementary School through his mom,who was a teacher at the school then. My son, Charlie, was in 2nd grade at the time. I had been widowed a year earlier. My son and I where having a hard time adjusting to being on our own. (Charlie is now 29 years old.)
Tom became a dear friend and took a shine to my son. He gave him little advice when he thought he needed it. Tom came over and helped me with things that I couldn't do on my own with my house after my husband had passed. He even step in when there was a guy I had been seeing tried to hurt me. Tom step in and protected me from physical harm. I love him as a brother.
I remember having a water fight at a school car wash with him. I lost,but loved every second of it. I was a drowned rat. LMBO! Tom was laughing so hard he had tears rolling down his face at the fact that I was completely drenched and he was barely damp.
I know in my heart someday we will see you again Tom. We love and miss you dearly. Love, Suzy Crume

Suzy Crume said...

I met Tom at Cottonwood Creek Elementary School through his mom who was a teacher at the school then. My son was in 2nd grade at the time. (Charlie is 29 years old now.) I had been widowed a year earlier. My son and I where having a hard time adjusting to being on our own. Tom took a shine to my son. He gave my son little bits of advice when he thought he needed it. Tom came over and helped me with things that I couldn't do on my own with my house after my husband had passed away. He helped me with a guy who I had been seeing tried to hurt me. Tom step in and protected me from physical harm. I love him as a brother. I remember having a water fight at a school car wash with him and losing. I was a drowned rat. LMBO! Tom was laughing so hard he had tears rolling down his face. I was completely drenched and he was barely damp. I know that we will see you again. Love you Tom.

Anonymous said...

I remember meeting Tom in Altus. He was a big caring guy who took me and my training partner Kevin under his wing.
We were a couple of Canucks caught up in a training system full of American acronyms and processes.
I remember our first pub change. Tom had us over for chilli and hot dogs while we did this pub update and page verification.
He was a generous guy. He gave me a loadmaster coin. Which I still keep in the left breast pocket of my dress uniform.
Speaking of generosity. I remember just before he left he gave me what seemed like everything he ever bought in Altus. My room looked like a rummage sale.
Tom was enthralled with my rain jacket and wanted one. I got my hands on an extra but never got a chance to get it to him.
I heard from Stephanie Northup of his passing and I must say it was a pretty dark day. My thoughts turned to Theresa and how she was holding up.
My time with Tom was brief but he left me with a lasting impression. He was kind, funny, sometimes he was down right weird (but that was part of his charm) but mostly he was that honest dude with the take me as I am mantra.
He taught me not to press a button like a monkey,know what the button does and why you are pushing it and most importantly the power of hair spray and why it's good for check list inserts.

He was a great friend and mentor. I only wish we had more time.

Miss ya bud.

Rich Lees
Royal Canadian Air Force