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Hill unveils new memorial honoring fallen airmen


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Jed Boal reportingAs our nation remembers our fallen servicemen and women, Hill Air Force Base today unveiled special honors for four airmen killed in Iraq. Family members gathered at the base for a first-of-its-kind memorial.

The newly-dedicated monument in the new Hill Air Force Base Memorial Park honors four Hill Airmen who sacrificed their lives in the war in Iraq last year. Rep. Rob Bishop said, "These four individuals chose not only to live their lives for themselves, but to live their lives dedicated to serving others."

Three members of the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Flight died in January 2007 while trying to diffuse a car bomb near Baghdad. Tech. Sgt. Timothy Weiner, Senior Airman Daniel Miller, Jr., and Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki will forever be memorialized as part of team Hill.

Loncki's mother, Anne Roberts, feels great pride for her daughter's service. She said, "She was tough, she had a great sense of humor, she loved her job, and she loved playing with the boys."

Special Agent Ryan Balmer died last June in Kirkuk while working on special investigations. His family was preparing for his homecoming. His mother-in-law, Leeann Armstrong, said, "Such tragic deaths, I think that's what bothers me the most and such young people."

The base also named a street after each of the airmen and presented a memorial sign to each of the families. And while they are honored for their sacrifice, the airmen's families and comrades will always miss them.

Major Gen. Kathie Close, Commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, said, "Nothing can replace the husband, the son, the brother, the sister, the wife or the mother, who is now gone from our midst, or who bears the scars of personal sacrifice."

The memorial in the new park has space to honor other airmen from Hill in the event they too are killed in the line of duty.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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