Fallen Diamonds

Dedicated to those who've gone before us.
May their diamonds always shine brightly in our memories.

ADAM P. KASS, #1231

19?? - 2003

No information available.


1950 - 1970

Kevin Frye (left) during the Florida Wing Cadet Command and Staff School, 1967. (photos courtesy of Mike Murphy, #115)

Skip Pfeiffer, #114, writes:

"Kevin's Spaatz Award was issued on the 9th of December, 1966. At that point in time, I had about three stripes. I lived in the Orlando area and Kevin was in Jacksonville, so our paths didn't cross until I attended the Florida Wing Cadet Command and Staff School in the summer of 1967. The school was about a week long and was held just prior to the Summer Encampments at the Orlando Air Force Base.

"The CCSS ws a tough program with a lot of emphasis on leadership. Each barracks was headed up by an advanced cadet—in my case, Cadet Colonel Kevin Frye. As a C/TSgt, I was about the most junior cadet present, looking to earn a staff slot after having been a doolie the year before. Kevin was impressive. He had a leader persona. His uniform and appearance were impeccable. He was strict but fair as a disciplinarian. I remember walking past his room on a number of occasions and he would be sitting at his desk writing. He said he kept a journal. He said his ambition was to become a Naval Aviator and fly jets off an aircraft carrier.

Kevin inspects a cadet at the Florida Wing encampment, 1967.

"The night before graduation, he was ambushed as a token of our appreciation. Stripped to his t-shirt and skivvies, tied to an unmade rack, he was hoisted up and ceremoniously carried over to the female barracks. Of course, his threats were not dissuasive enough. The girls did a very thorough number on him with lipstick and shaving cream. I have pictures somewhere to prove this story.

"The remainder of what I know about Kevin is somewhat sketchy. He went to college for a year or two, but the lure of combat aviation grabbed him. The Army had a Warrant Officer program whereby a young man could become a pilot and a college degree was not required. Apparently, Kevin wanted to fly in the military more than anything else. He joined the Army, completed pilot training at Ft Rucker, AL, and flew helicopters in Vietnam.

"My Spaatz award ceremony was held in mid-1970. The USAF Liaison Officer told me that following my luncheon he would be traveling up to Jacksonville to present the Air Medal to Kevin's parents; the helicopter Kevin was co-piloting had been shot down and he was killed in action.

"The name KEVIN M. FRYE is engraved on 'The Wall' in Washington. I've been there and touched the letters."


19?? - 1980

George Mead in the 1966 Florida Wing Encampment annual. (photo courtesy of Mike Murphy, #115)

Lt Col Fred R. Swearingen, CAP, writes:

"George D. Mead was a decendant of General George Meade, the Commander of Union troops at Gettysburg.

"George was an outstanding cadet from Tallahassee Comp. Sq. He attended several encampments as staff and was Chair of the CAC in late 67 & 68. He was a C/Capt when he took and passed the Spaatz on the first try. He was a Project officer for the Wing Drill Competition, and was only the second (and last) cadet to hold that position.

"He was selected to present the first draft of the CAC regulation to the National Commander at a SER meeting in Ft. Lauderdale - the same conference he was presented his Spaatz. The original manual had been written by three Cadet Lt. Colonels, and Mead, as the Chair of CAC, was given the honor of making the presentation. It became its own regulation until brought the present CAP Cadet Program Guide. Its chapter is pretty much the way the three C/Lt. Colonels had written it up, except for the color changes in the ropes. He was cited in an article as the 8th most influential cadet of the 60's.

"He graduated from the Univ. of Florida, and attended Florida State Univ. Mead was a Private Pilot, had attended IACE and was working as a professional Test Pilot for a leading aircraft manufacturing company when killed along with 2 other people in a crash. He left behind a wife and two small children.

"He was a close friend, and Godfather to my daughter Patti-Ann, whose uncle was David Greeson (#51 - see below)."

Mike Murphy, #115, writes:

"George was my flight commander at my doolie encampment in 65 at Tyndall AFB. George was the type of guy who was very approachable - you always felt you could go to him for anything. He had the quiet confidence of someone who knows his job thoroughly. I can't remember him ever losing his temper or even raising his voice to us -- pretty unusual at an encampment(!), especially the tough kind we had back in the "ol' days". He had a good sense of humor and we were a happy flight. We worked very hard and became a good team. When I went up to get my graduation certificate it was with the pride of accomplishment that George had instilled in us.

"Perhaps the best tribute I can give George is the fact that I never forgot him, where I can't even remember the name of our Asst. Flight Commander (with due apologies to him, wherever he may be.) George was a great flight commander and I'm lucky I got such a good role model to start learning leadership from."

19?? - 2007

Died 28 May 2007, details forthcoming.

19?? - 1969

Lt Col Fred R. Swearingen, CAP, writes:

"David Greeson was a cadet from the Melbourne (Fla.) Cadet Squadron. He attended several encampments and IACE. He passed the Spaatz exam on the first try, and was only a C/1Lt at the time. He worked on the Wing CAC as an advisor.

"After completing two years at Florida International University (now the Univ. of Central Fla.), he joined the US Army Warrant Officer Program. He was killed in action in Viet Nam just several days after arriving. His younger brother Johnny, also a former CAP cadet, was killed just 60 days before while preforming duties as a medic. David's younger sister, Pat Greeson made it to the Earhart and was a senior member in Florida and Texas Wings. David is survived by his parents, two sisters and two other younger brothers."


1946 - 1970

Rick Busig, #125, writes:

David went into the Marine Corps a few years after he received his Spaatz and he died in boot camp of meningitis. We were in the same squadron - the Vancouver Composite Squadron, then in the Oregon Wing.


19?? - 1990

David Adams, Iowa's first Spaatz cadet, died of heart failure in September of 1990. At the time of his death, Lt Col Adams was serving in the Tennessee Air National Guard, where he had served for over ten years, having previously spent several years on active duty in the US Air Force.

Lt Col Adams was a graduate of the University of Dubuque. Efforts are now underway to establish a scholarship in his name for CAP cadets, who wish to enter the University of Dubuque's Aviation Program. For further information, contact Maj Eric Schneider at vog.pac.gwai@gi

Major Eric M. Schneider, CAP writes:

"In 1965, I came to the University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa, from New Jersey, where I grew up. I was a C/2LT and visited the local squadron, where I met David Adams, who was also a University of Dubuque student.

"He graduated in 1968, after receiving his Spaatz, and went into the USAF, where he served for a number of years, eight I believe, before resigning to continue his education. He was only out a few months, according to his widow, when he joined the Air Guard, I believe Tenn., where he served until his death in 1990. He died of a heart attack, the day before his squadron was to leave for Desert Storm. He had served a total of over 22 years at the time of his death and was a Lt Col.

"Last fall, Major Ron Scheitzach, the local squadron CC and I attended a meeting of the UD Aviation students and recruited a number of them. At the time, I suggested a CAP/UD flight scholarship and thought of David Adams, who for me, epitomized the CAP/UD connection. When I tried to contact David, I found that the UD had lost track of him, but I was able to contact his brother Dan, also a UD graduate, who told me of David's death. He also put me in touch with David's widow, Sharon, also a UD graduate.

"My original intention had been to solicit David's assistance and financial support. On learning of his passing, I determined that I would continue to work toward a scholarship, in his honor, as Iowa's first Spaatz recipient. We are still working out the details, but that CAP/University of Dubuque Flight Scholarship will happen in the near future."


1950 - 2010

A former Director of Cadet Programs for California Wing and Commander of Santa Barbara Composite Squadron 131, Antony M. "Tony" Upton died December 11, 2010 from injuries sustained in a farm tractor mishap. Two of Tony's sons were cadets and were a source of great pride for him; one earned the Spaatz Award while the other served as Commander of California Wing's Cadet Training Group. Tony's decades of CAP service touched the lives of many generations of cadets and will continue to do so through the legacy he leaves in the dozens of Cadet Programs leaders he mentored.


19?? - 19??

Known as "Moose" to his friends, John died of complications from long-term cancer treatment. Further information forthcoming.


1952 - 2005

Former CAP Lt Col Pat Magee writes:

"Jim succumbed to cancer that resulted from the treatments he received when he was nineteen to cure Hodgkin's lymphoma. After that ordeal that he served as deputy on the second 1972 NY Wing Encampment and subsequently successfully earned his three diamonds.

"Jim was a Brooklyn Group cadet in the late sixties and early seventies. He completed the cadet program and earned the General Carl A. Spaatz Award (#180).

"He is the only member I know of who participated on the International Air Cadet Exchange four times; twice as a cadet and twice as a senior escort. As a senior member he served as the Northeast Region Cadet Activities Officer and after leaving New York worked with the newly established cadet squadron in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. He was a private pilot.

"Professionally, he served as a Special Agent with the Immigration Service. as a Special Agent and Group Supervisor with US Customs, and was currently working as the Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles for the Federal Air Marshal program.

"He leaves behind his wife Hallie, and their three ten-year old children, Aidan, Brian, and Sarah. He also leaves a sister and three brothers. His mom Marian still lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

"He was a great friend and will be sorely missed."


1955 - 1975

George Rose was a member of the Erie Composite Squadron, Pennsylvania Wing, and the first Spaatz recipient in that squadron. He attended Cadet Officer School in 1973. While representing Parks College at an intercollegiate flying meet in Santa Fe, NM, he and a friend were in an airplane crash. They had gotten up early that morning to go sightseeing and get in some last-minute practice. The crash occurred Wednesday, 18 April, 1975. The red-and-white Cessna they were flying was found three days later with no survivors.


19?? - 1976

C/Col Steven A. Doerner, who earned Spaatz Award number 261 in 1974 as a Delaware Wing cadet, which was presented by then-Vice President Gerald Ford, perished in a tragic non-CAP aircraft during the Thanksgiving holidays in 1976. While a student at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, C/Col Doerner traveled home Delaware aboard a private aircraft. His tragic loss occured near the Carolina-South Carolina border during the return trip to Florida in was believed to be a weather-related accident. Nearly 30 years later, CAP members who personally knew Steve remember him as an outstanding and a promising young man of character.


1956 - 1982

A Naval aviator, Mark was killed while attempting a night landing in an F-4 aboard the USS Forrestal. He was 26 at the time of his death.


1956 - 1981

Stephen Edward Launius was born on 23 Oct, 1956 in Jackson, MS. After graduating from William B. Murrah High School in 1974, he attended the University of Mississippi where he earned a degree as a Bachelor of Business Administration, Banking and Finance in 1978 along with a commission in the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. In June 1978, he began to study at the Ole Miss Law School until 14 May, 1981 when he graduated. At this time the Law Faculty honored him with a Resolution, the first of its kind ever issued, for his extraordinary courage, discipline, dedication, unselfishness, and exemplary behavior with a cheerful attitude, in spite of the fact that since August 1979, he suffered the excruciating pains of terminal cancer. Steve passed away seven and a half months later after he graduated from Law School on 30 December, 1981


1954 - 1981

A pilot for a commuter airline in California, Jay was pressured into taking off from an airport high in the Sierra Nevada mountains into weather conditions he had deemed unacceptable for flight. His aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all aboard. The CAP squadron he once commanded is now named in his honor.


1954 - 1990

Known as "Gopher" to his 20th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron mates, Captain Gary Myran died following a mid-air collision with another F-4E Phantom II during a training flight over Death Valley, California.

Kirk Hall, Sr. writes:

"Capt. Gary Myran was a member of the former Skyhawk Sqdn. of Minnesota Wing, and a respected member of CAP. We came up thru the cadet ranks together and became best friends. He was best man at my wedding, and I at his. He was married at the time of his death, and had one daughter, I am her Godfather. Besides being a friend and a mentor, Gary exemplified the spirit of the CAP and became an Air Force F-4 Weapon Systems Officer. He was killed during a training accident on July 26th, 1990, and buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal."


19?? - 19??

No information available.


19?? - 1975

Mike Smith was a member of Maryland Wing, and was an active-duty Security Policeman in the Air Force at the time of his death. While manning a roadblock following a base exchange robbery, he was fatally shot by fleeing suspects.


19?? - 2007

Died 15 May 2007 of cancer, no further information available.


19?? - 1989

Kim was a pilot for a United Express commuter airline. Kim was deadheading on a flight from Yakima, Washington, to Pasco, Washington, when the United Express Jetstream 31 crashed short of the runway at its destination, killing all aboard.


19?? - 2003

Cary Bassani was active at the Yakima Squadron (Washington Wing) as a cadet in the late 60's and early 70's. During that time, he was very active in the startup and operation of Camp ESTA (WAWG's East Side Training Academy), contributing both time and money to the construction of the facilities and was, along with several other cadets from Yakima, Wenatchee, Moses Lake and Ephrata Squadrons, very active in the program.

Cary, along with Lt Col "Red" Young, started and executed the WAWG Challenger Program for about 12 years. Later, Cary was on WA Wing Staff and was instrumental in writing the ES Training Syllabus for Washington Wing Special Schools.

Cary was involved with Washington wing for a number of years before he became an inactive member and moved to Illinois. Cary continued to support Camp ESTA and Washington Wing even though he was living in Illinois. He maintained his support of CAP as a patron member until passing away at the age of 46.


1957 - 1992

Jerry Warthman was a member of the Erie Composite Squadron 502, Pennsylvania Wing, and the third Spaatz recipient in that squadron. Jerry attended IACE to New Zealand in 1978. He wanted to go somewhere he would least likely be able to revisit in his lifetime. He never returned there. He was presented his award by a federal judge at special squadron banquet at the Holiday Inn, Edinboro, PA in June 1978. Jerry lived in Canada in the Mid-70s and was a member of the Air Cadet League of Canada. He was a member of the Squadron 502 Ranger Competition Team in 1976. He was awarded a CAP solo scholarship in 1978 and soloed later that year. His instructor said he was a natural pilot. Jerry later took up skydiving and was a jump instructor. He died of Leukemia on 17 September 1992, having turned 35 just 10 days before.


1961 - 1996

Part of a very active CAP family in California Wing. An Air Force officer, Paul served as the squadron section commander of the 52nd Supply Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, in 1985-86 and was active with the Bitburg-Spangdahlem Composite Squadron. After separation from active duty, he was a regional manager for a pest extermination company. He died in January 1996 of complications from an immune system disorder. He was 34.


19?? - 19??

Co-authored the book, Satellite Cadet Squadron with his parents.

Steve Rickert, #583, writes:

"Going through the 'Fallen Diamonds' file, it seems you have little regarding a friend of mine, Ted Derringer. Although we lost contact and drifted our separate ways (it was years later I learned of his untimely death), perhaps I can shed a little light on his life as a cadet. I dont have his exact birth year, but it should be around '63 or so. Many may look to this section of the page and seek information on his death: In that I can't help. I think he developed some heart problem, but am not certain. But I can comment on his life.

"We spent ten grueling days together one summer in that unforgettable trial that was Hawk Mountain Ranger School in 1981. He'd travelled all the way to Pennsylvania from Florida to attend, and this was back in the days when "Ranger School" was stricly a Pennsylvania thing. (Long before it became a national activity or got press in CAP News). I was immediately impressed by his drive and dedication to the CAP program that drew him to the toughest training around, and he fit right in from the outset. He had that kind of personable, outgoing manner that made others feel they'd known him all their life, and he way always found something positive in even the most mundane tasks. (In those days, as you may recall, we did things like haul thousands of rocks from the stream beds to line our camps, trails, tents, and anything else that could maintain a linear dimension).

"We had the long climb up the side of the mountain, and one of his fellow "Flat-landers" from the Sunshine state was having a terrible time with the near-vertical assent with full packs for the extended survival trek. Ted stayed with his fellow cadet (who was by now experiencing the less-than-pleasant comments from the rest of the team "requesting" him to keep up with the group), and I watched as Ted provided the kind of encouragement and moral support that helped the chubby kid make it to the top. Ted carried his own pack, and when the hill got too steep for his companion to climb, burdened by the heavy gear he was carrying, Ted offered to take it from him and we ended up taking turns carrying an extra pack up the steepest part of the climb. It was one of the most noble, selfless things I'd ever observed -- and that's the kind of person Ted was. Even when we were on the "survival" part of the hike, with nothing to eat and everyone's spirits low, he seemed to be the one who would buoy morale with his enthuastic optimism. He was the guy who would pull a candy bar out of his web gear and offer the first bite to his comrades.

"An excerpt from his semi-autobiographical book reveals a lot about what made Ted tick. In a section discussing ground team motivation and his seeming desire to be better than everyone else, the lead character explains:

"It was more a need to prove to himself that he was willing to go the extra mile in order to accomplish the assignment. That was it. There wasn't any grandstanding in his thoughts or actions. If someone thought that way ... they would just have to learn differently by observing him over a long period of time." ... "I don't have to do many of the things that I do, but I figure if it will help others learn--how to do things the right way, well, then it's worth it..."

"These are the kind of things I remember most vividly about what that training meant to me, and the essence of what CAP is all about. People--those we knew, those we remember, and those with whom we today create the memories of tomorrows--are the important aspects of what it means to be a Spaatz cadet. Getting a Christmas card from him a few years later reminded me of what was truly meaningful, and made me proud to remember that time we shared and endured together. I probably didn't realize it as much then as now, but he serves as the finest in what a Spaatz should represent. May his spirit live on."


1964 - 2003

Kevin Adams at the 1983 Michigan Wing encampment, where he served as cadet commander.

Ed Sackley, #225, writes:

"Our friend Kevin Adams was buried today (Saturday, September 6, 2003) in Livonia, Michigan. His funeral attracted several hundred family members and friends. Kevin's life touched hundreds within the Michigan Wing--including those of us who worked and nurtured him as a cadet--and cadets who were, in turn, nurtured by Kevin. The Civil Air Patrol turnout was significant and following the funeral mass, many uniformed members participated in a touching flag ceremony."

The following obituary was prepared by Kevin's best friend, Leo Burke, #749:

"Kevin Adams, 38, passed away from pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, September 2, 2003 at 10:55PM. He is survived by his wife Michelle, his daughter Kaitlyn, age 3, his mother Mary Holley and many, many loving friends. He was born on September 7, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan.

"Kevin joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in 1977. He progressed through the cadet program, earning the General Carl A. Spaatz Award in 1983. Kevin joined the US Air Force and served on active duty for six years. After an honorable discharge, he returned to college. During his USAF service and afterward Kevin remained active as a Senior Member in CAP, progressing to the grade of Major and holding numerous positions, including Director of Cadet Programs in Michigan Wing. After graduating from Oakland Community College and then Eastern Michigan University, Kevin worked in the Information Technology field.

"Along the way he met, fell in love with, and married Michelle (Vitkay). He became the proud father of Kaitlyn, less than two years later. Kevin and Michelle recently realized their dream and opened their own business, a Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream store in Novi, Michigan.

"Kevin lived a short but full life. He was a black belt and international competitor in Tae Kwon Do before turning 16. He actively participated in all manner of physical fitness activities. He was a licensed airplane pilot and an active scuba diver."

For those wishing to make a gift in commemoration of Kevin's life, his family has asked that donations be made to: The Kaitlyn Adams Education Fund; The Kevin Adams Flight Scholarship; or the American Cancer Society. For the Adams funds, contributions may be sent in care of:

Civil Air Patrol Michigan Wing
25701 South Street, Bldg. 1506
Selfridge ANG Base, MI 48045-5001

Glenn Overby, #437, writes:

"The 2003 death of Kevin Adams (#655) brings back memories of the 1981 Michigan Wing and Great Lakes Region drill team, which might well be called "The Team The Diamonds Fell On". Kevin was a cadet 1st lieutenant when they marched in Alabama at the 1981 NCC. He would be the ninth and last team member to win the Spaatz Award, out of 16 members.

"When the team won the Michigan Wing competition in May of 1981, its only Spaatz winner was Alan Dickinson (#524) of Five Points Composite Sq, the 1979 National Cadet of the Year. But that would soon change. Team commander Bob Hazey (#586) and squadron-mate Robert Sunman (#585) of Independence Cadet Sq would follow just a few weeks later. Summer personnel changes would add Michael Dobies (#574) of Utica-Sterling Cadet Sq.

"In December, the team would put five cadet colonels on the field for Nationals. Julie Jankowski (#588) of the Bay City Composite Sq was notified when the team plane landed at Maxwell AFB that she had passed her exam. The team won the Special Team Award and the written examination event, and finished third overall.

"The team also included four future Spaatzen: Edith Disler (#590) from Five Points, Greg Hudas (#592) from Utica-Sterling, Paul Harris (#600) from Dearborn Cadet Sq, and finally the late Kevin Adams, also from Five Points. Paul would also go on to win the 1982 national Frank G. Brewer Award for aerospace education. Major Glenn Overby (#437), another future Brewer Award recipient, was the team's coach and male escort officer.

"Seven of those nine Spaatz Awards were earned within a year of each other. It was truly a case of good young men and women inspiring each other to excellence."


19?? - 19??

Lt Col Fred Swearingen, CAP, writes:

"Ivan was a Cadet in Florida Wing, attended several encampments and IACE. His family had escaped from Communist Cuba in the 1970's. He was a member of the Florida International Cadet Squadron in Miami."


1966 - 1995

Jim Powell was a member of Washington Wing's Green River Composite Squadron and had been reassigned to Group II headquarters just before his death. A transport mission pilot and survival instructor, Jim was training towards his SAR/DR mission pilot certification. During a proficiency flight from Auburn, WA to Yakima, WA, the CAP Cessna 182Q he was flying suffered an engine failure. Despite making a successful emergency landing near Nelson Butte in the Cascades, Jim found himself ill-equiped to face the sub-freezing temperatures, having left his survival kit in his car that fateful morning. Throughout the first day, Jim wrote notes documenting his plight, writing a final note to his family as darkness fell.

The search for Jim was a highly publicized political debacle wherein the state's aviation division initially barred CAP participation. Ultimately, though, it was a CAP aircrew which located the crash site—but not before Jim succumbed to the bitter cold and died of hypothermia. He was 29. Jim is survived by his wife, Patti, and two children.

Lee Chase, #1079, writes:

"I met Captain James M. Powell at the Washington Wing First Cadet Training Group (CTG) Encampment in August of 1991. As the Commandant of Cadets, Jim led a dynamic Cadet Staff, which included me and several others who went on to earn the Spaatz Award. This encampment was controversial from the start, due to the "too hard" training approach employed. Having served on a California Wing CTG Encampment Staff, Jim understood and advocated the CTG concept. Our mission was to provide challenging and quality training for the basic, advanced, and staff Cadets.

"During the encampment, our methodology was scrutinized. As the days passed, those in tune came to understand. In the end, all witnessed some of the best trained and motivated Cadets we had/have ever seen! Throughout the week, Jim Powell demonstrated the moral courage to stand by his staff and our mission, regardless of those who were not in tune. This was the kind of man and leader that Jim Powell was--somebody who understood that the mission does indeed come first and that one must take care of his troops in order to successfully accomplish the mission that is set before him.

"Unfortunately, leaders like Jim Powell are few and far between. Whether in Civil Air Patrol, military, or civilian life, it is paramount to have the support of our leaders in order to successfully accomplish our missions and goals. Jim Powell was one of those leaders! As a loving husband and father, leader, and mentor, Jim Powell was a man who will always be respected and admired."

1968 - 2007

Bob Mazzara was a very active cadet in Michigan Wing. He attended a number of encampments and served as the cadet commander of the 1988 Michigan Wing Summer Encampment. Bob joined CAP as a cadet in the Van Dyke Cadet Squadron, which has produced nine Spaatz cadets so far. He had a keen intellect and was a member of six winning Michigan Wing Academic Competition teams and two Michigan Wing Cadet Competition teams.

Bob passed away tragically, in August, 2007. He left behind a loving wife of less than a year, an 8 year old son (whom he adored), loving parents, a brother, grandmother and several aunts, uncles and nieces and nephews.

Maj David J. Mazzara, USAF writes:

Hello, I would like to post something about my brother Robert Mazzara Spaatz #876.

Bob was very enthusiastic member of Civil Air Patrol. He joined at the age of 13 and succeeded in every aspect of the program. After earning his Spaatz Award, Bob went on to command the Utica Sterling Cadet Squadron for several years, and that.s when he inspired me to join C.A.P. also. Thanks to Bob, I am now a career officer in the USAF. I owe much of my success in the USAF to him. Fortunately, before he passed away, he was able to attend my commissioning and the ceremony for my promotion to Major. I am grateful for all he taught me. He will be missed!


1971 - 1999

An active-duty Air Force captain and F-15E pilot at the time of his death, Chris graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994 and was a member of Texas Wing. He died in Lakenheath, England, of injuries sustained in an auto accident. He was 27, and leaves behind a wife and two children.

Chris was honored posthumously with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in a mission in support of operations in Kosovo. Squadron mates from the 492d Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing, held ceremonies awarding the medal after his death. His other decorations included the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Scott Lanis, #1179, writes:

"Chris was very much my senior at the Academy--he graduated the year I was a freshman. We had the opportunity to fly together to Leadville, Colorado, in a CAP airplane--with proper CFI supervision, of course--my friend and mentor, [CAP Major] Dailey Bugg. Leadville is the highest airport in the continental US, 9927 feet above sea level.

"I remember Chris as an outstanding pilot--he was one of the top cadet glider instructor pilots at the Academy. I believe he was selected to attend Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training. My guess is that he graduated very near, if not, the top--F-15Es are hard to come by, especially in those years when very few people got fighters, much less the top pick."


1973 - 1995

2LT Alexander Copeland, KYARNG, writes:

"I was his college roommate from 1993 until his death in 1995. Dave and I met at Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood in 1992. We both ended up in the 209th Supply Company in Lafayette, Indiana.

"Dave died of heart failure while on active duty at the 209th's annual training in Germersheim, Germany, August 1995. He was 22 years old. Dave was a loyal friend and is still dearly missed."


1977 - 2002

1LT Adam P. Kass, U.S. ArmyAdam Kass, a lieutenant in the United States Army, died in a vehicular accident while on duty in Germany with the 4th Cavalry Squadron of the 1st Infantry.

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, and a long-time resident of Downers Grove, Ill., where his family still resides, Lieutenant Kass graduated from Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., and from the University of Illinois at Champaign. Since the age of 14 , he demonstrated a sense of duty to his country, first through the Colonel Shorty Powers Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, where he eventually became the Cadet Commander. He got his pilot's license at age 17. His patriotism was clear as he won a national CAP competition with a speech advocating a constitutional amendment prohibiting desecration of the flag.

At the U of I, he was in the Army ROTC program and was commissioned an officer in the United States Army in December of 1999. He took his Officer Basic Course in armor at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and graduated first in his class. He completed Air Assault and Airborne training and Ranger school. He was among only 27 men of 289 that started and finished the 9-week Ranger training together. Especially remarkable since he broke a bone in his foot at the end of week 2, but kept quiet about it, laced up his boot and kept going to avoid getting washed out for medical reasons.

Eventually stationed at Schweinfurt, Germany, he was so deeply affected by the 9/11 terrorist attack that, upon hearing about it, he penned "A Message From a Soldier." His letter passionately describes how the persons responsible for ending the lives of thousands of innocents that he had sworn to defend would come to justice.

Lieutenant Kass also completed the Chicago Marathon and, just a few weeks before his death, the Prague International Marathon. Upon his death, his immediate superior began the A "Anvil" Troop Memorial Award to be awarded annually in Lt. Kass' name to the best man in the troop.

(Originally published in the Fall 2002 issue of TAPS magazine, ©2002, The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. Used with permission.)


1974(?) - 2005

1LT Christopher PlummerFirst Lieutenant Christopher Plummer, North Carolina Army National Guard, was killed on 5 May 2005 when his AH-64 Apache attack helicopter crashed into the Cape Fear River after colliding with power lines during a low-level training flight. Chris earned his Spaatz Award as a member of Florida Wing, where he later commanded the Tamiami Composite Squadron. He had plans to return to Florida this fall to pursue a law degree at the University of Miami.

Information concerning deceased Spaatz recipients is greatly appreciated. Please e-mail to: or use this form.