News>Scott AFB Passenger Terminal dedicated to fallen Airman
Robert Cuddeback and Celia Loyet, the father and mother of Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback, unveil a bronze plaque dedicating the Scott Air Force Base, Ill., passenger terminal to their son’s service July 6, 2012. Zachary was a vehicle operator assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, when he was mortally wounded March 2, 2011, by a terrorist while transporting Air Force security forces members to the airport. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
Celia Loyet hugs Staff Sgt. Ashley Rivera after Scott Air Force Base, Ill., dedicated the passenger terminal to Loyet’s son Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback on July 6, 2012. Rivera was a friend of Cuddeback when they were stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, together. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
Members of Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and guests view the display of information about Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback on July 9, 2012. Base leaders dedicated the terminal to Cuddeback, who was killed in a terrorist attack March 2, 2011, while transporting Air Force security forces members to an airport. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
by Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
7/8/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Members of Scott Air Force Base and the local community gathered here today to dedicate the base's newly renovated air passenger terminal in honor of Airman 1st Class Zachary "Cudde" Cuddeback.
Cuddeback was a vehicle operator assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, when he was mortally wounded by a terrorist while transporting security forces passengers to Frankfurt International Airport, Germany, March 2, 2011.
"Cuddeback was merely performing his duties as a vehicle operator on the day he was killed," said Master Sgt. Brent Severns, the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron small air terminal section chief. "Naming the terminal after our fallen comrade allows us to pay tribute to him."
Severns came up with the idea of naming the terminal after Cuddeback following an 18 month, $1.9 million renovation.
Cuddeback was born July 6, 1989, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. As an Army child, he frequently moved but always claimed St. Louis and the surrounding communities as his home. He was laid to rest in O'Fallon, Ill.
He graduated from William Monroe High School in Stanardsville, Va., in 2008. In the year following his graduation, he played ice hockey at Old Dominion University on the Monarch Ice Hockey Team and the Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity until he joined the Air Force in 2009. After basic training, he went to technical training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. , and was then assigned to Ramstein AB.
Robert Cuddeback, his father, spoke at the dedication ceremony and talked about his family's long line of military service, including his own 21 years in the Army and relatives who served in World War II, Korea and Afghanistan.
"So, it was no surprise to us that Zac enlisted in the Air Force," the elder Cuddeback said. "The Air Force is an enlisted person's service -- even though you have 39 general officers here. Scott AFB was named after an enlisted person who was out doing his job on a training flight and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Just like Corporal Scott, Zac was there just doing his job."
Staff Sgt. Ashley Rivera, an 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron vehicle operator and close friend to Cuddeback, also spoke at the ceremony. She and many other friends traveled from Germany, Japan, South Dakota and Washington D.C.
"(Cuddeback) always lit up the room when he came to work," Rivera said. "He always brought a smile and a story to tell."
Col. David Almand, the 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, spoke on behalf of Scott AFB. He welcomed the Cuddebacks as "part of our family."
"Airman 1st Class Cuddeback embraced the Airman's Creed and represented all the best of today's Airmen," Almand said. "When the question was asked, 'Who will defend and protect us,' he said, 'Send me.' He lived the Air Force values of service before self, integrity first and excellence in all we do. He's a son, friend, leader, Airman ... hero. We just hope that your grief is diminished and replaced by pride in his legacy."
Cuddeback's father echoed those words, saying, "Zac was all about 'honor above all things,' which was the code he lived by in college and in the Air Force.
"While in the Air Force we saw him become a man who embraced duty, honor and our country, and was just one of the many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines who fought the good fight against insurgents and terrorists and tyrannical governments," he said. "Happy birthday, Zac."