WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — A memorial dedicated to the fallen from the now-deactivated 603rd Air Control Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, will be installed at the National Museum of the Air Force 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22.
The memorial has a new home in large part due to the efforts of Maj. Thomas Wingard, F-135 Supply Chain Manager for the Defense Contracting Management Agency.
Wingard was stationed with the 603rd ACS Scorpions at Aviano from 2001-2004. In 2003, the squadron dedicated a memorial to honor three members who died between 1994 and 2000. Those members were Senior Airman Christopher Croft who died in a bicycle accident June 1994, Airman 1st Class Shaun Anderson, killed in a car accident in January 2000, and 1st Lt. Michael Lacy, who died in a vehicle accident in March 2000.
Two additional Scorpion’s names not included in the original memorial are Airman 1st Class Antoine Holt, who died in a mortar attack at Balad Air Base in April 2004 and Staff Sgt. Ricardo Duran, who died from complications of an asthma attack in November 2005.
Wingard worked with the NMUSAF to have the memorial installed there with all five names of the Scorpions. In March 2019, he received the letter of acceptance, agreeing to permanently display the 603rd ACS Fallen Scorpions memorial in the outdoor Memorial Park.
Maj. Dan Davis, Ohio Air National Guard, who managed State Partnership relations between the United States, Hungary and the 179th Airlift Wing, transported the memorial to Ohio, where Mike Ivey, a retired Air Force chief master sgt., picked up the memorial and had the names of the two additional Scorpions added.