LAS VEGAS — Catujita and Thomas Baker, parents of Staff Sgt. Antonio Tucker, received confirmation their son was recovered from Lake Mead, Nev., April 18, nearly 10 months after they found out he was missing.
The previous search for Tucker, a remotely piloted aircraft crew chief from the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., ended after an unsuccessful, five-day search in June 2012.
After officials presumed the Airman to be a drowning victim and were unable to recover the body, the Bakers were contacted by the Earth Resource Group, which has special technology, and offered their services to them.
“The first email we received explained what the group did and gave us information about their special equipment,” Catujita Baker said. “In early March, they received permission from the park rangers to look for Antonio. We felt as if our prayers were being answered by God.”
With the help of specialized technology, Tucker’s body was recovered in less than two days.
Baker said she felt a sense of relief when she received confirmation her son’s body was recovered from the lake, and she credits the support the Air Force gave her as helping to put her mind at ease.
“When they found him it was a mix between relief and joy,” she said. “We have a feeling of closure now that we physically have him; now we can take him home.”
After receiving news of her son’s recovery, it was time to make final plans and preparations. The Air Force stood by them every step of the way.
“We received a lot of emotional support from the Air Force members. The commanders sent us letters, and his best friend Jamie gave us an album as a memento,” she said. “The services the Air Force members provided us with and the members who have given us everything we needed from rides to phone calls and appointments, it all helped us tremendously.”
Thomas Baker said with the combined efforts of several Air Force members, he and his wife felt part of the Air Force family.
“The whole time they made us feel like family, and I consider them a part of ours,” he said. “They made all the arrangements to get him home. They set up the honor guard, and it really took a large load off of our shoulders. I would depend on them for anything.”
Tucker’s body was flown home to Pennsylvania where final arrangements will be made according to his family’s request.