Special Operations News

Fallen Pilot Returns Home

USAF ACADEMY, CO The pilot of a U-28A aircraft that crashed near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on Feb. 18 was laid to rest at the Air Force Academy Cemetery on March 12.

Capt. Ryan Hall, 30, was a native of Colorado Springs and the son of 1970 Academy graduate Dennis Hall.

“By the size of the turnout, you can see Ryan touched the lives of everyone he met,” the elder Hall said. “People here traveled from as far away as Guam and Afghanistan.”

Hall thanked Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the Academy superintendent, for approving the family’s request to lay Ryan to rest in the Hall family plot at the cemetery. He also thanked Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for directing all state agencies to fly their flags at half-staff in Ryan’s honor.

“Ryan has come home,” Hall said. “While there will be moments of sadness, today is a day of celebration, because we love him and we hope that we will see him again in Paradise.”

Hall was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. His deployment to Djibouti in support of Operation Enduring Freedom was his seventh since joining the Air Force in 2004.

“Hall’s skill as a pilot, leadership as an officer and compassion as a friend left an indelible mark on all of us,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Daley, the 319th SOS commander, during a memorial ceremony at Hurlburt Field on Feb. 28. “A true quiet professional, Ryan’s teaching groomed a whole generation of air commandos.”

Hall “knew the risks of what he was doing, but he was not afraid of failure. That’s what made him great,” said Rev. Philip Erlander, who conducted the ceremony along with Chaplain (Capt.) Kyle Hundley, one of the Academy’s chaplains.

He was also a devout Lutheran, Erlander said. The last text message he had sent to one of his brothers included a reference to Acts 20:24. His girlfriend, Marianne Vicente, found the same verse on a handwritten note between his bed and nightstand shortly after his death.

Hall is survived by his parents, Dennis and Kliffa Hall; his brothers, Brandon and Damon, and his grandmothers, Jean Hall and Nayda Nunn. He was one of four Airmen who died in the Feb. 18 U-28 accident. Also killed were Capt. Nicholas Whitlock, 1st Lt. Justin Wilkens and Senior Airman Julian Scholten. All four were assigned to Hurlburt Field’s 1st Special Operations Wing.

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