Hill EOD Airmen honored
By Mitch Shaw, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 30, 2007
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
Three Hill Air Force Base Airmen were among 14 service members honored in a ceremony at the Navy's Kauffman Explosives Ordnance Disposal Training Complex on Eglin Air Force Base, Saturday.
More the 500 people looked on as Hill AFB EOD team members Tech. Sgt. Timothy Weiner, Senior Airman Daniel Miller and Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki had their names added to the memorial wall at the training complex.
The three Airmen were members of the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron's EOD Flight who were deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. The flight is responsible for diffusing military and improvised explosives and working with chemical and biological weapons.
They were killed in Iraq in January when they were trying to diffuse a car bomb and it exploded.
"Tim, Liz, and Dan were among an elite group of nearly 1,200 active duty EOD Airmen that the rest of the world looks too," said Lt. Col. Craig Biondo, 775th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "Simply put, they were the best in the world."
The Airmen's deaths marked the first time Iraqi insurgents killed three U.S. bomb technicians at once. Chief Master Sgt. Michael Riley, who supervised the team at Hill AFB, was devastated.
"I was always prepared to lose one, but it is really hard to put into words when you know that three of your team members lost their lives that day. It's really numbing," said Sergeant Riley, an Iraq veteran and graduate of Kauffman.
Rear Admiral Donald Bullard, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Norfolk, Va., said the memorial was a time to honor and remember the 14 service members who gave their lives for their country.
"We're here to honor those 14 individuals who've given their lives to the country and reflect on 67 years of EOD joint history," the admiral said during the ceremony. "We're here to grieve and console our families and to transition and carry on in their memory. While we will not forget, but always remember, there's still an important mission ahead of us."