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    Battlefield Airmen pay tribute to fallen brother

    Battle cross

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan | A battle cross sits on display during sunrise, April 15, 2016, at Avon Park Air Force...... read more read more

    AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, FL, UNITED STATES

    04.15.2016

    Story by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan    

    Moody Air Force Base

    More than 200 Airmen from the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing gathered to mourn and pay tribute to the life of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col William Schroeder, April 15, at Avon Park Air Force Range, Fla.

    Schroeder, 342nd Training Squadron commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, was killed after an incident of workplace violence, April 8. Schroder was well-known throughout the Terminal Air Control Party community and served alongside many of the Airmen currently assigned to the 93d AGOW, who remember him as a leader of warriors.

    “As I was reading all the stories that have been posted about him this week, the three words that kept coming up were: leader, mentor and friend,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Ferland, 18th Weather Squadron commander. “The last act he made as a leader was to take care of his Airmen, at all costs.”

    Col. Joseph Locke, 93d AGOW commander, read an excerpt written by a friend of Schroeder’s, which elaborated on the incident and painted a picture of heroism.

    “Bill shielded his first sergeant,” Locke said. “He got her out of harm’s way and then actively engaged the shooter. Bill went out swinging; his actions undoubtedly saved lives. His immediate, aggressive, and selfless response reflects the very essence of what warriors aspire to be.”

    The memorial was held at the end of a week-long exercise which brought together Joint Terminal Air Controllers from across the country.

    “We’ve spent a week here refining combat skills and preparing to face an enemy in combat and yet, occasionally, we find that enemy here at home,” Locke said. “Bill faced it in an instant. I can’t think of a higher aspiration for each and every one of us to be, and I hope that each of us will have the courage that he had in that moment of truth.”

    The ceremony ended with the playing of Taps and memorial pushups, a tradition which honors the fallen in the TACP community.

    “I think it’s important that we mourn, but I think it’s more important to pay tribute,” said Ferland. “General George Patton said it best: ‘It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.’”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.15.2016
    Date Posted: 11.21.2016 16:18
    Story ID: 215455
    Location: AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, FL, US

    Web Views: 151
    Downloads: 0
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