Pease to dedicate auditorium to fallen aviator

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kayla Rorick
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

The auditorium within the Operations building 264 at Pease is scheduled to be dedicated at 1 p.m. on August 25, 2017, to the only New Hampshire Air National Guard aviator to die while flying an Air Force mission.

The Loy Auditorium will honor the memory Staff Sgt. Desiree Loy, who, at 26-years-old, along with six other military aviators, died on August 27, 1985, when their Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker crashed during routine touch and go training at Beale Air Force Base, California.

“The Boom Operator core believes that Staff Sgt. Loy’s dedication to duty and supreme sacrifice make her the best candidate for this dedication,” said Master Sgt. Glen E. Starkweather, a coronet planner with the Tanker Task Force assigned to the 157th Operations Group here. “Many roads and buildings on Pease Air National Guard Base have been dedicated to past great New Hampshire Air National Guard members and leaders, but none have given as much as Desiree.”

There will be a new sign outside the auditorium, and a bronze commemorative plaque and photographs of Loy will be on display, illuminated just through the double doors.

Starkweather began the application process for the dedication in 2013 when the Operations building was first built.

“There was a lot of paperwork at first,” said Starkweather. “But a lot of it was just reminding people of who she was.”

Loy, a native of Hampton, New Hampshire, enlisted into the NHANG on December 12, 1978, as a Personal Affairs Specialist assigned to the 157th Combat Support Squadron, later serving as an Airfield Management Specialist with the 157th Air Refueling Group.

She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1984  She was assigned to Castle AFB, California, for retraining as an Inflight Refueling Craftsman at the time of the crash.

Loy was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her service to the United States while assigned to the 157th Air Refueling Group at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire.

“After people and leadership here heard about who she was, they all got on board and we’ve been working ever since,” said Starkweather.

Master Sgt. Lisa A. Ouellette, Chief Master Sgt. Michael P. George, both assigned to the 157th OG, and many others have also pushed this dream forward to the reality it will soon become.

Among them is Loy’s childhood music teacher, Sheila A. Nudd. Nudd taught at the Hampton Academy in Hampton, New Hampshire, for 36 years and retired in 2006.

Loy and Nudd remained in contact over the years, exchanging phone calls and meeting for lunch dates.

“This is just wonderful,” said Nudd. “Desiree was such a wonderful person, a truly beautiful soul. I’m glad she is being recognized in this way.”