East TN airman killed in crash honored by hometown

11:56 PM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
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An East Tennessee airman killed while fighting a wildfire in South Dakota was honored by his hometown Friday night.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Mikeal was one of four airmen who died in a "C-130" crash this summer.

He grew up in East Tennessee and graduated from Clinton High School, where school officials and members of the ROTC program recognized his service at Friday night's football game against Hardin Valley.

"That's the good thing about living in a small town, where everybody knows everybody," said Mikeal's sister, Angela Younce.
"When something like this happens they all come together and become one, and Paul Mikeal will always be remembered in more than one way."

At halftime, Principal Eric Snider, along with two members of the ROTC program presented a plaque to Mikeal's mother and two sisters who still live in East Tennessee. The school also plans to name the new ROTC classroom after the airman.

"For him to be a part of this at Clinton High School is just amazing," said Younce. "He would have been honored and proud to have these young kids go into the Air Force that he loved. He was very proud of being in the Air Force and being a pilot."

The official room dedication and ribbon cutting is planned for later in September.

Lieutenant Colonel Mikeal was assigned to the 156th airlift squadron out of North Carolina. He was an evaluator pilot with more than 20 years of service.

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