Special Operations News

Hurlburt Pays Tribute to Fallen Ghostrider

HURLBURT FIELD, FL – Hundreds of Air Commandos, families and close friends gathered during a memorial ceremony at the Commando Hangar at Hurlburt Field Oct. 25 to mourn the loss of a 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airman.

Airman 1st Class Colby Graham Siegel, an aerospace propulsion apprentice with 1st SOAMXS, 20, passed away Oct. 21 during a boating mishap in the Santa Rosa Sound, Fla.

In front of an AC-130U Spooky Gunship Siegel and his fellow Airmen maintained, 1st SOAMXS leadership remarked on the life and legacy he left behind.

“We’re lucky to have met and to have known Colby,” said Lt. Col. Matt Gamblin, commander of 1st SOAMXS. “In his passing, we lost a brother-in-arms, a son, a friend and a husband, but we will continue to celebrate his life as he lived it – taking care of each other and enjoying each moment.”

Siegel, a native of Winter Haven, Fla., became an Eagle Scout at 13 and served in Junior ROTC in high school before enlisting in the Air Force Aug. 2, 2011.

“Colby Siegel is an inspiration,” Gamblin said. “He didn’t meet strangers– he made friends. He not only knew your name, he’d help you in some way. He was a role model for his fellow Airmen–all of us–just as he was for the younger kids in his neighborhood.”

After completing technical school training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Siegel arrived at Hurlburt Field in January 2012, soon coming under the watch of Tech. Sgt. Brandi Cole, a flight chief of 1st SOAMXS.

“He had so much energy and so much dedication,” Cole said. “He was one of those Airmen who kept us focused and kept us entertained at all times, and we will miss him a lot. I want all of you guys to remember this time and this moment to think about Siegel and remember his old fallback response: ‘It’ll be all right. We’ll get through it.’ Always remember: Siegel will always be a Ghostrider. He will never be forgotten.”

Siegel’s funeral service took place Oct. 29 in Dundee, Fla. He is survived by his wife, his mother and his father.


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