Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, of Williamston, S.C.

Senior Airman Alden was assigned to 48th Security Forces Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom; died March 2, 2011 as a result of a shooting at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, while en route to Afghanistan.

One of two United States airmen killed Wednesday when a gunman opened fire on an American military bus at the Frankfurt airport in Germany was from Williamston.

According to news reports, Nick Alden, 25 and another airman were killed and two others wounded by a 21 year old man who German authorities said was from Kosovo. According to reports, Alden was fatally shot while he and other airmen were on a U. S. Air Force bus carrying 15 airmen.

The airmen, who were based at the Lakenheath airfield in eastern England, had just arrived from London and were going from Frankfurt to an American military base at Ramstein, and then were to deploy to Afghanistan.

Alden was born in Germany to military parents and lived with his parents in Indiana before moving to South Carolina about 10 years ago. He graduated Palmetto High and joined the U. S. Air Force four years ago.

"There's no greater price you can pay than serving your country and certainly giving your life for that is the ultimate price. On behalf of the school we are extremely proud of him for taking that stand. We have a good number of young people that go into the military and I think Nick is a role model here, excellent for our young people to see and proud of what he has done for our country and say thank you,"said Palmetto High Principal Dr. Mason Gary.

Gary said, although he has not seen Alden in several years, he still remembers what a great kid he was, and he always expected great things from him.

"Nick was a very quiet kid, a good young man, a nice young man," Gary said. "It's a sad day for our Palmetto High School family. I'm very proud of Nick and his service to our country. Our prayers and our sympathies go out to his family."

Gary said he had been told that Alden confronted the gunman during the shootings. "That’s something he would have done anyway; that was his job," Garner said.

Cathy Garner told The Associated Press on Thursday that her son, Nick Alden, of Williamston, found out about a month ago he would be deployed to Afghanistan. The airman previously served a six-month tour in Iraq.

Garner said her son always wanted to be a police officer growing up. Both she and her ex-husband are U.S. Army veterans, and she said Alden's decision to become a member of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces was a perfect fit.

"He was a fun boy, a loving boy growing up, and he became a good man," Garner said.

Garner said her son was a loving father and devoted husband.

"The fact that some fanatic -- because we don’t believe the way they believe -- could take the life of my son, who is protecting his country and the rights of those of us who enjoy a free world, that makes me very angry," Garner said.

His mother, Cathy Garner, is an English teacher at Starr-Iva Middle School. Alden is survived by his wife, Trish and two young children who have been living in England.

Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden was killed on 3/2/11.

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