Air Force

May 24, 2012

Fallen Airman remembered on anniversary of death

Commentary by Master Sgt. John Neeley
755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant

Four years ago, following an honorable career as an Air Force Master Sergeant, the Davis-Monthan AFB and Air Force Communities lost one of its retired defenders.

On June 1, 2008 in Tucson, Ariz., an armed man fired a rifle into the homes of two of his neighbors and fled as the first responding Pima County Sherriff’s Department deputy arrived at the location. As the deputy pursued him, the suspect opened fire and wounded the officer.

Members of the Tucson Police Department, including Officer Erik Hite, a retired U.S. Air Force Security Forces member and First Sergeant, spotted the vehicle a short time later and continued pursuing it even as the suspect continued to fire at him. The suspect then turned off the main road onto a residential street where he stopped his vehicle and setup an ambush. As Officer Hite turned the corner onto the street, the suspect opened fire from a distance of approximately 80 yards, striking Officer Hite in the head.

The suspect continued to flee and wounded another deputy before finally surrendering.

On June 2, 2008, America lost a hero as Officer Erik Hite succumbed to the gunshot wound he sustained the previous day. He had served with the Tucson Police Department for four years and was survived by his wife, adult son, 1-year-old daughter and his parents.

In his memory, The Erik Hite Foundation, Inc. was formed. The vision of the organization is to remember the life and sacrifice of Officer Erik D. Hite and serve the families of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Personnel on a close and personal level. The mission of the Erik Hite Foundation is exclusively for charitable, childcare, educational and family outreach purposes. Moreover, the EHF has been established to solicit and re-distribute funds and/or goods to assist with the funding and undertaking of programs and activities designed to strengthen the services, organization, performance, competence, professionalism and morale of the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services employees of the City of Tucson, Pima County Government, the State of Arizona and the Federal Government.

To learn more about the Erik Hite Foundation, visit their website at www.erikhitefoundation.org or contact your unit First Sergeant.




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(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

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