USAFE Fallen Airman
Killed in Action/Wounded in Action FlagFolded US Flag
Senior Airman Nicholas Alden

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden

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Stationed: RAF Lakenheath, UK
Unit Assigned: 48th Security Forces Squadron
Date Fell: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
SrA Nick Alden Memorial

A flag detail, consisting of three 48th Security Forces Squadron Airmen, lower the flag during a ceremony, held in honor of Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, on March 4, 2011

SrA Nick Alden Memorial made by the Patriot Guard

A memorial that the Patriot Guard made for Senior Airman Nick Alden

SrA Nick Alden Funny Face

Senior Airman Nick Alden making a funny face

Purple Heart MedalAir Force Commendation Medal

SrA Nicholas Alden was killed as the result of gunshot wounds by an attacker at Frankfurt Airport, Germany.

More than 500 Airmen and family members gathered in Hangar 7 in RAF Lakenheath on March 11, 2011 to honor the memory of him.

The service painted a picture of a devoted man who deeply loved his family and his unit. The first eulogy was given by Elder Craig Wright of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I am humbled to know that we are gathered here as a family seeking to reach out to an individual and his family. What a powerful principle you are demonstrating here today," said Elder Wright.

The elder went on to tell the audience about Airman Alden's upbringing and family life. "He was dependable, he took on a lot at a young age to help his single mother."

"He loved life and was a loyal son, husband and brother," Elder Wright concluded.

The next speaker was 48th Mission Support Group Commander Col. Cassie Barlow, who said to Airman Alden's children, 3 year-old Lilly and 1-year old Will, "I'm going to tell you about your awesome dad."

Airman Alden was a stellar security forces Airman, said Colonel Barlow, both at his previous assignment at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and RAF Lakenheath. After he mastered his specialties, he helped other Airmen learn theirs.

"(Airman Alden) was a professional who knew his job inside and out," said Colonel Barlow. "He was always looking for a problem to solve and making our Air Force a better place."

A testament to the far-reaching effects of Airman Alden's death, Louis Susman, the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, brought with him a message from President Barack Obama.

"(President Obama) said, and I quote, 'his death stands as a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices all of our men and women in uniform are making all around the world,'" said Ambassador Susman.

Col. John T. Quintas, 48th Fighter Wing commander, spoke directly to Airman Alden's wife, Trish.

"I hope you feel like you are surrounded by family, because you are," he said, telling the audience of the unique place security forces holds within the Air Force

SrA Nicholas Alden was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and it was presented to Trish.

"Their mission is to protect and defend, to rush to the sound of gunfire and stand in harm's way," Colonel Quintas continued before lauding the amount of support that has appeared from across the Lakenheath community and the world.

After such glowing words from clergy, military and civilian leadership, a few of Airman Alden's fellow security forces Airmen came forward to offer their thoughts. One was Staff Sgt. Trevor Brewer, who survived the shooting that took Airman Alden's life.

"He wasn't just a subordinate, he was a brother," said Sergeant Brewer. "Every time he walked into a room, it lit up. It was an honor and a privilege to know him."

As eulogies concluded, Airman Alden was also posthumously awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal as a 21-gun salute sounded, and a "missing man" formation of F-15 aircraft roared overhead.

The gathered Airmen and families were then allowed to come forward to pay their last respects to Airman Alden.

"I'm extremely proud of Nick Alden and all the other defenders who were worthy to stand at his side, behind him, in front of him, and will now stand in his place," said Lt. Col. Michael Ross, 48th SFS commander. "He will always be part of our lives."