EDIT NUSS: On this Veterans Day, here's one story of a Coug who gave his full measure. For stories of WSU athletics veterans, you can go here. Those of you reading this who are either in active service or a veteran, thank you for your service to our country.
As you all know, today is Veteran’s Day, a day set aside for all to remember those who defended this great country, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I want to bring your attention to just one of many Cougs who have served, one in particular who gave his life--Lt. Eric Hedeen, USAF.
Eric was two years ahead of me in Air Force ROTC at WSU, graduating in 1987. Eric went on to Undergraduate Navigator Training at now-closed Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento. Eric went through the Electronic Warfare Officer track of nav school, and after graduation, became a B-52 EWO.
Eric went to war not long later, flying B-52s out of the base on the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia in Operation Desert Storm. One night, as he and his crew were returning to Diego from striking targets in the Iraq/Kuwait theater of operations, his aircraft developed electrical problems. Multiple generators failed, eventually leading to complete electrical failure and loss of aircraft control. At this point, they were on final approach into Diego, but as the aircraft became uncontrollable, the crew had to eject. Three of the six crew members, including Eric, lost their lives that night in the Indian Ocean.
As Eric was two years ahead of me, I did not know him closely, but I knew him well enough to know that he was an outstanding person, student, cadet, Coug, and was bound for a great career. I think of Eric every now and then, particularly on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. I ask that you do the same—not just of Eric, but also other Cougs who have given all, and that the next time you’re in Pullman (or if you’re still there), go by the WSU Veteran’s Memorial, located across the street from Thompson Hall (where the AFROTC Detachment was when Eric and I were there), on the north side of Murrow.