Friday, May 24, 2013
UAA Remembers Plane Crash Victim
Last summer Alaska experienced several tragic plane crashes, Friday UAA honored one of the fallen soldiers in the deadly C-17 crash.
Eight months ago Anchorage was witness to a horrific plane crash on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
July 28, 2010 the crash claimed the lives of four people.
The pilot of the C-17 plane, Captain Jeffrey A. Hill, was memorialized Friday.
The UAA Air Force ROTC student cadet lounge in Merrill Field was officially named after Hill in a brief and emotional ceremony.
Hill was one of the school’s first graduates of the Air Force ROTC program, created in 2000, and its first to earn pilot’s wings.
But he never forgot where he came from, mentoring students currently in the ROTC program.
It’s the dedication to help others that his friends and colleagues said will live on forever.
"Eventually achieved his dream of becoming a pilot in the Air Force, which is not an easy thing to do and then his dream of being a C-17 Pilot,” Dr. William Spindle, UAA Vice Chancellor, said.
"He accomplished his goals and of course that tells the younger cadets, work hard, work hard work hard and you will get to where you want to get to,” he said.
Lt. Col. Patrick Weeks, Commander, 517th, was close friends with Hill, he will graduate from the ROTC program in spring 2012
“When the sun comes up, lord willing, and he gives you another day, what are you going to do with today?” he said in front of the memorial crowd.
“Not, what are you going to do five years from now trying to be an O5 or and O6 or a one star in the Air Force...what are you going to do today?”
“Because you have no promise of tomorrow."
Weeks created a special bracelet to honor Hill. From now on each future commander of the unit will wear one.
Next year’s Senior Cadet Officer, Amber Weissenfluh said she was proud and surprised to get the bracelet today.
She said it signifies Hill’s love of service, and his special connection to UAA ROTC… a connection she shares.
"We go through so much here. I know I've cried, bled, stayed up late nights for ROTC, but I love it it's something I chose to be here and I still come back the next day, I love it," she said.
Hill’s friends and family started a memorial scholarship in his name.
They said they’ve raised several thousand dollars toward their cause, and hope it will help other students follow their dreams of becoming a pilot.