12th FTW gathers to remember fallen Airman
By Bekah Clark, 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 04, 2011
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- It was standing room only in the Randolph Air Force Base Theater Tuesday as nearly 800 people came together to honor the life of Maj. Jeff Ausborn in a memorial ceremony.
The major, a 99th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan last week when a shooter opened fire at the Kabul airport killing eight Airmen and one American contractor.
"Jeff wasn't fighting to serve a king. Jeff wasn't fighting for money. Jeff wasn't fighting to occupy or gain anybody else's territory. As Lincoln said, Jeff gave the last full measure of devotion protecting our freedom," said Col. Richard Murphy, 12th Flying Training Wing commander.
"Although taken away by a senseless act, Jeff did not die in vain," he said. "His memory will live on through all of us and through his family, and it will also live on through all of those that he instructed to fly. That is the gift of being an instructor."
During the ceremony, squadron members shared stories of the major all of whom mentioned his love of flight, family and instructing.
"Jeff loved instructing so much that he volunteered to go to Afghanistan to instruct in the Afghan Air Corps in their new C-27 aircraft," said Lt. Col. James Fisher, 99th FTS commander. "He planned to take the skills that he had been honing his entire career and put them to work helping this fledgling air force in a country far away."
"His legacy as an instructor will remain always with the Panthers," said Colonel Fisher. The panther is the 99th FTS mascot.
The major also received four posthumous decorations during the ceremony, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Force Combat Action Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
All decorations were presented to his wife, Suzanna, as well as his parents, Clifford and Faye Ausborn.
"Jeff, he would have been so amazed to see so many of you here. I miss Jeff so much," said Mrs. Ausborn. "Jeff was such a wonderful husband; and it's not about me, it's about him and how he did die doing what he wanted to do. He was so happy talking about what he was doing while he was there."
Major Ausborn was a Senior Pilot, having logged more than 2,300 hours in airlift and trainer aircraft to include the T-37B, T-44, C-130E, T-6A, T-1A and C-27. He is survived by his wife, his sons Mitchell and Eric, his daughters Emily and Shelby, his stepdaughter Summer, and his parents.