More than 1,000 Airmen, family and friends gathered to say their final goodbyes and honor the life of Capt. Mark Weber during a memorial service, March 21, here.
Weber, a Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) with the 38th Rescue Squadron (RQS), was killed in helicopter crash in Anbar Province, Iraq, March 15.
“It’s apparent to everyone that you cannot replace someone of the caliber of Mark Weber,” said Maj. Jason Egger, 38th RQS commander “Instead, it is now left to us to carry his memory forward and pay tribute to him and live up to his truly exceptional example.”
As a CRO, Weber was trained to direct combatant command and control of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) operations and to plan, manage and execute CSAR tasks. Weber was hand-selected to fulfill these duties while augmenting the 308th RQS from Patrick AFB, Fla., for his first deployment.
“Mark has become part of the storied legacy of combat rescue officers and pararescuemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Egger. “It is now up to us who continue to wear the beret, to honor that sacrifice and to understand that our words and our actions carry the full weight of our fallen comrades. We should strive to ensure that we never fall short of the standard of excellence and honor defined by those who have gone before us.”
Throughout the memorial, fellow Guardian Angels reflected on the character, service and outstanding leadership of the Bartonville, Texas native.
“Capt. Weber was forever focused on the men under his command,” said Senior Airman Daniel, a 38th RQS pararescueman who worked closely with Weber. “In the pool, he would help the last team member across before surfacing for his own breath. On a ruck, I watched him carry a teammate whose body had quit. When the team screwed up, it was Capt. Weber who shouldered the responsibility. I never saw him tired and I never saw him afraid – not because he didn’t feel pain or experience fear, but he placed his duty before his own personal desires and comforts.”
Weber graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2011 as a contracting officer, but felt a strong calling to do more. Upon entering the CRO training pipeline, he met fellow 38th RQS CRO and close personal friend, Capt. Ryan, who thanked him and gave him a promise to continue the mission of saving lives.
“I would like to thank Mark for all that he has taught me in the past four years … thank you for your hard work and dedication,” Ryan said. “I’m sorry it was you this time. We will do everything we can to continue with the mission of saving lives, I promise you that.”
The ceremony ended in the George W. Bush airpark where Rescue Airmen from the 347th and 563d Rescue Groups completed a round of memorial pushups to honor their fallen teammate.
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