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News > Commentary - Thank you for the wonderful community support in honor of A1C Cuddeback
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Community comes out to support fallen Airman
Hundreds of people lined the streets of a procession line for Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback to show respect for a fallen hero March 12, 2011, in O’Fallon, Ill. Airman Cuddeback and another Airman were killed March 2, 2011, when a man opened fire on a bus of U.S. Airmen at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Airman Cuddeback was laid to rest next to his grandfather at a cemetery in O'Fallon, Ill. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Brian J. Valencia)
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Thank you for the wonderful community support in honor of A1C Cuddeback

Posted 3/13/2011   Updated 3/13/2011 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Michael Hornitschek
375th Air Mobility Wing commander

3/13/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- On behalf of Brig Gen Dillon, 86th Airlift Wing Commander, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the men and women of Team Scott, and the U.S. Air Force, I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for the amazing outpouring of support last week and this weekend as we returned and laid to rest A1C Zachary Cuddeback in his hometown, the great city of O'Fallon, Ill.

The news of Zac's death was a tragic shock, a senseless act of misguided religion as Monsignor Hitpas so eloquently stated at Zac's funeral Mass. Once the word reached home though, the local community instantly embraced each other for support and then embraced the task of preparing for a fallen hero's return.

From the Friday procession into O'Fallon, to the presence of Patriot Guard, law enforcement, and fire department escorts, to the thousands of flags and citizens lining his farewell route, and the effort to ensure Zac had an unforgettable and befitting funeral and burial, every aspect was truly showcase.

It inspires those of us in military service to redouble our efforts to defend the ideals and lives of the citizens we are sworn to protect, knowing that those same people understand the sacrifice their sons and daughters are prepared to and sometimes must make.

For those of us at Scott AFB, we know everyday how truly blessed we are to have such great neighbors and to be a part of the rich community fabric of southwestern Illinois. Thank you--we are at your service.

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