|A Local Hero Remembered 20
by Lt. Col. Chris Belli and Master
Sgt. Beth Holliker
180th Fighter Wing
12/7/2011 - Swanton, Ohio -- This
is the time of year when we traditionally give thanks and
celebrate our many blessings while preparing and planning
holiday gatherings with family and friends. For the members of
the 180th Fighter Wing and the family and friends of Lt. Michael
Young, this is also a time of remembrance and reflection.
Young, 28, a pilot from Perrysburg, Ohio who returned from pilot
training in April 1991, was killed during a routine training
mission over northern Lake Huron coast, Michigan, Nov. 30, 1991.
He was assigned to the 112th Fighter Squadron, part of what was
once known as the 180th Tactical Fighter Group. He had been a
member of the Ohio Air National Guard since 1982.
It was a typical early winter day in Northwest Ohio, cold and
windy when Young stepped out for a regularly scheduled day of
training in an A-7 Corsair II. During the routine mission, the
aircraft became disabled, causing Young to eject. The aircraft
impacted into a wooded area near Port Hope, Michigan, but Young,
swept by 50 mph winds, landed in the frigid 38 degree waters of
Multiple rescue attempts including aircraft and boats failed as
a result of the treacherous weather conditions. His body was
never found and he was presumed drowned. Lt. Young was survived
by his wife and daughter, who was just two months old at the
time of the crash.
Twenty years later, Nov. 30, 2011, members of the 180th Fighter
Wing, past and present along with friends and family of Lt.
Young gathered at the 180th in Swanton, Ohio, to honor and
remember this fallen hero. In attendance were Young's parents,
sister, brother in-law, nephews and several friends.
The group spent the day sharing stories and memories of Young's
life growing up and his love of flying. They were treated to a
tour of the base before heading out to the flightline to watch
the unit's F-16 pilots perform the same daily pre-flight
procedures and rituals similar to those Young performed himself
prior to taking to the skies for training missions. The mission
on this day was not just for training, it was for Lt. Michael
Young and his family.
To mark the 20th anniversary of Lt. Young's passing, Lt. Col.
Tim Moses, 180th FW Operations Support Squadron Commander,
carried with him an American flag and a United States Air Force
flag and flew up the coast of Lake Huron and over the crash
site, where a memorial in Lt. Young's name now stands. The Air
Force flag was presented to the Young family in honor of their
sacrifice all of those years ago.
The American flag will be presented to the members of Amvet Post
115 on behalf of the 180th FW for their unwavering support of
the Young family and for keeping the memory of Lt. Young alive
for the last 20 years. The Amvets maintain the modest memorial
in Young's honor and conduct a small ceremony each Memorial Day,
near Port Hope, MI., ensuring that he is a hero not to be
remembered every 20 years, but every day, forever.