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ODU Student Killed By Terrorist Remembered by USAF

The passenger terminal in Scott Air Force Base in Illinois has been dedicated to the memory of a former ODU student who was killed by a terrorist in Germany in 2011.

Airman 1st Class Zachary "Cudde" Cuddeback, a vehicle operator assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, was mortally wounded by a terrorist while transporting security forces to Frankfurt International Airport, Germany, March 2, 2011.

On July 6 at the Air Force base in St. Clair County, Ill., Cuddeback's parents, Robert Cuddeback and Celia Loyet, unveiled a bronze plaque dedicating the base's passenger terminal to their son's memory. The ceremony was attended by base staff, Cuddeback's former unit-mates and members of the local community.

"Cuddeback was merely performing his duties as a vehicle operator on the day he was killed," Master Sgt. Brent Severns, the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron small air terminal section chief, said, in a release published by the United States Air Force. "Naming the terminal after our fallen comrade allows us to pay tribute to him."

Cuddeback was born July 6, 1989, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. His military family frequently moved, but always claimed St. Louis and the surrounding communities as home. He was laid to rest in O'Fallon, Ill. The bronze plaque was unveiled on what would have been his 23rd birthday.

Cuddeback graduated from William Monroe High School in Stanardsville, Va., in 2008. In the year following his graduation, he played ice hockey at Old Dominion University on the Monarch ice hockey team and was a member of the Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity until he joined the Air Force in 2009.

Last fall, his former teammates hosted the Zach Cuddeback Memorial Game at Norfolk Scope arena, retiring his ODU No. 16 jersey.

Robert Cuddeback spoke at the dedication ceremony and talked about his family's long line of military service, including his own 21 years in the Army and relatives who served in World War II, Korea and Afghanistan.

"So, it was no surprise to us that Zac enlisted in the Air Force," the elder Cuddeback said. "The Air Force is an enlisted person's service -- even though you have 39 general officers here. Scott AFB was named after an enlisted person who was out doing his job on a training flight and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Just like Corporal Scott, Zac was there just doing his job."

Staff Sgt. Ashley Rivera, an 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron vehicle operator and close friend to Cuddeback, also spoke at the ceremony. She and many other friends traveled from Germany, Japan, South Dakota and Washington, D.C., to attend the event. "(Cuddeback) always lit up the room when he came to work," Rivera said. "He always brought a smile and a story to tell."

This article was posted on: July 16, 2012

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