Capt Mark Weber

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Seven U.S. Armed Forces members — including one whose parents live in southern Denton County — were when a military helicopter crashed in western Iraq, according to information from Moody Air Force Base and Bartonville Mayor Bill Scherer.

Bartonville residents Ron and Margaret Weber lost their son, Air Force Capt. Mark Weber, 29, in the crash on March 15, 2018, according to the news releases.

A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Capt. Weber is survived by his parents, according to Scherer, as well as four siblings: Leah Weber, currently serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force; Kathrine Weber, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard; Lori Weber, a nurse; and Kristen Weber, a writer and Christian stand-up comedian.

Capt. Weber was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 2011 and served as a Combat Rescue Officer, according to Scherer’s statement. Capt. Weber was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, 23rd Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, and was serving in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) pilots and crews face the most highly dangerous and hazardous missions risking their lives going into combat zones in an effort to rescue the wounded and downed pilots.

Capt. Weber also did rescue work in the United States during the hurricanes just last year.

“We are indebted to Capt. Weber’s service, commitment, and sacrifice to our nation,” Scherer’s statement said. “Because of his bravery and selflessness, we enjoy daily freedom and security. It is our duty to honor and never forget the sacrifice that Capt. Weber made.

“The Town of Bartonville extends heartfelt prayers and condolences to the Weber family and all affected by this tragedy.”

We honor you, Mark Weber.

(#Repost @Cross Timbers Gazette)

Brig Gen Robin Olds

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Brigadier General Robin Olds was the director of aerospace safety in the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, a separate operating agency and an organization of the Office of the Inspector General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. General Olds has worldwide responsibility for the development and implementation of policies, standards and procedures for programs in safety education, accident investigation and analysis, human factors research, and safety inspection to prevent and reduce accidents in Air Force activities.

General Olds was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Army Air Corps Maj. Gen. and Mrs. Robert Olds. He spent his boyhood days in the Hampton, Va., area where he attended elementary and high school. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and was commissioned as second lieutenant in June 1943. A member of the academy football team, he was selected as All-American tackle in 1942. He completed pilot training in 1943.

General Olds is rated a triple ace, having shot down a total of 17 enemy aircraft during World War II and the Vietnam War. He began his combat flying in a P-38 Lightning named “Scat 1” during World War II, and at the end of the war he was flying “Scat VII,” a P-51 Mustang, and was credited with 107 combat missions and 24.5 victories, 12 aircraft shot down and 11 1/2 aircraft destroyed on the ground.

During the Vietnam War in October 1966, General Olds entered combat flying in Southeast Asia in “Scat XXVII,” an F-4 Phantom II. He completed 152 combat missions, including 105 over North Vietnam. Utilizing air-to-air missiles, he shot down over North Vietnam two Mig-17 and two Mig-21 aircraft, two of these on one mission.

General Olds was wing man on the first jet acrobatic team in the Air Force and won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race (Jet Division) at Cleveland in 1946. He participated in the first one-day, dawn-to-dusk, transcontinental roundtrip flight in June 1946 from March Field, Calif., to Washington, D.C., and return.

His duty assignments in England, Germany, Libya, Thailand and the United States have included positions as squadron, base, group and wing commander; staff assignments in a numbered Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is a graduate of the National War College, 1963.

In February 1946 General Olds started flying P-80 jets at March Field, Calif., with the first squadron so equipped. In October 1948 he went to England under the U.S. Air Force – Royal Air Force Exchange Program and served as commander of No. 1 Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Tangmere. The squadron was equipped with the Gloster Meteor jet fighter.

He assumed duties as commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in September 1966. He returned to the United States in December 1967 and served as commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy through January 1971.

General Olds assumed the position of director of aerospace safety in the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., in February 1971.

His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 39 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, British Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with Gold Wings, Vietnam Air Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a command pilot.

He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective June 1, 1968, with date of rank May 28, 1968.

We honor you, Robin Olds.

(#Repost @USAF. Picture @This Day in Aviation)

Col Eileen Collins

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As a young child, Eileen Collins loved to sit with her dad in the family car and watch airplanes take off and land. The roar of the powerful engines and the grace of the aircraft as they seemed to float in the air always held excitement and enchantment for the young daughter of Irish immigrants. That love of flying would lead the Air Force colonel to be honored as the first woman to command a space shuttle mission, STS-93, in July of 1999, and place the NASA astronaut into the history books.

Colonel Collins joined the Air Force in 1979 and served as a T-38 flight instructor until 1982. From 1983 to 1985 she was a C-141 Starlifter aircraft commander and instructor pilot. She was assistant professor of mathematics and T-41 instructor pilot at the Air Force Academy from 1986 to 1989 and graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1990. While attending the Test Pilot School, Collins was selected by NASA for the astronaut program and became an astronaut in July 1991. In 1995 Col. Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and in 1999 she was the first woman shuttle commander. She has over 5,000 hours in 30 different types of aircraft and has spent over 537 hours in space.

“I was very excited and happy,” said Collins, who applied for both a pilot and mission specialist slot with NASA. “But even though I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life, it really didn’t sink in until I graduated. I knew that there had never been a woman shuttle pilot before. Now, I’d be the first.”

After four successful shuttle missions, Collins retired in 2006. “I do miss being in space,” she said, “but I flew four times, and all four missions were very busy because you’re constantly working and under stress. You have a mission; your boss is the people of the country and you don’t want to disappoint the people. Usually toward the end of the mission, you can let your hair down a little bit because the primary mission’s done and everything is put away. That was when you could put your face against the glass, stretch out your arms, and you don’t even see the ship around you, just the Earth below, and you feel like you’re flying over the planet.”

We honor you, Eileen Collins.

(#Repost @Military.com)

Col Gail S. Halvorsen

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Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen, or, “The Berlin Candy Bomber” served as a catalyst for this operation. As America geared up for the looming world war, Halvorsen was awestruck with the planes he saw flying while he labored on his father’s sugar beet farm in Tremonton, Utah. With a dream for flight, Halvorsen applied for and was accepted into a pilot-training program. The attack on Pearl Harbor prompted him to join the Army Air Corps, and he trained on fighters with the Royal Air Force. Reassigned to military transport service, Halvorsen remained in the service at war’s end. He was flying C-74 Globemasters and C-54 Skymasters out of Mobile, AL, when word came in June 1948 that the Soviet Union had blockaded West Berlin.

During the 15-month airlift (Operation Vittles), American and British pilots delivered more than 2 million tons of supplies to the city. But it was Halvorsen’s decision to airdrop candy to children (Operation Little Vittles) that clinched an ideological battle and earned him the lasting affection of a free West Berlin. Today, Halvorsen is affectionately known by Berliners and many around the world as as the Candy bomber (“Rosinenbomber”), Uncle Wiggly Wings (“Onkel Wackelflugel”) and the Chocolate Pilot.

As an aside, I had the privilege of being honored with Gail at the Utah State Capitol for the Cold War Victory Medal on August 29, 2017.  Gail’s first reaction when this photo was taken as his signature was to do a “thumbs up!”  So, that’s what we did!

We honor you, Gail Halvorsen.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson and #Repost @wigglywings)

SSgt Ninzel Horsley Rasmuson

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SSgt Ninzel Horsley Rasmuson enlisted in the Air National Guard just a couple weeks after her 18th birthday. She served from 1989-2001. She recalls the impression left on her after visiting the Air Force Academy in Colorado as a child and the impact of attending Military Balls through the Military Order of World Wars (MOWW) with her grandfather, Lt Col Robert Horsley (Ret). She felt a deep commitment to serve her country from her early childhood experiences.

Ninzel went to Basic Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX and graduated as an Honor Graduate. She completed three Administrative Management Technical Schools at Keesler, AFB in Biloxi, MS.

Ninzel mostly served at Camp Murray and McChord AFB, HQ Det 1, although she did serve one year for the Montana Air Guard. Ninzel worked as a GI Education Specialist and was a member of the Mishap Investigation team.

Awards: Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Gulf War Campaign Medal, and Airman of the Year.

After an honorable discharge in 2001, Ninzel went on to pursue her dreams of completing her education, including a B.A. in Human Services from Western Washington University, a M.S. in Human and Community Services from Capella University, and a PhD in Education, specializing in Post-Secondary Adult Education and Professional Studies from Capella University.

Currently, she dedicates her time as Founder & President to the grassroots non-profit organization, Operation Veteran Support. She has a deep commitment to God, Family, Veterans, and Country.

We honor you, Ninzel Rasmuson.

(Submission by: Katrina Parry)