Poirier remembered as consummate guardsman

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Master Sgt. David Poirier, an aircrew life support journeyman for the 157th Operations Support Squadron, is being remembered this week by fellow airmen for his leadership and genuine selflessness.

Poirier, 52, of Salem, died Feb. 28 from a noncombat-related incident at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar shortly after beginning a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Dave was a long-time traditional member of the 157th Operations Group," said Col. Paul Hutchinson, commander of the 157th Air Refueling Wing, who attended the Dignified Transfer with Poirier's family at Dover Air Base on March 4. "We are deeply saddened by his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Kim and their family."

An Honorable Transfer is scheduled for Saturday, March 8 at Pease. A wake is scheduled Sunday, March 9 at Douglas Johnson Funeral Home in Salem. A private service is scheduled at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery March 10 at 12:30 p.m.

Poirier enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1979. His first assignment was in England as a fire protection specialist. After completing a four-year enlistment, he separated from active duty and later joined the Rhode Island Air National Guard to become an aircrew life support journeyman on C-130s. He transferred to the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 1995 where for the next 19 years he continued his work maintaining critical aircrew flight equipment and life support systems on KC-135 air refueling tankers.

"Here he trained to the level of aircrew life support craftsman serving as the NCOIC of every section where he was instrumental in leading, teaching and mentoring airmen in the shop," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Bascom, Life Support superintendent.

Poirier was a veteran of multiple overseas deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guam and Qatar, as well as four state activations. He also volunteered his time and expertise on several State Partnership Exchanges with El Salvador.

"He was an incredible role model for junior NCOs," said Tech. Sgt. John Bober, a crew chief with the 157th Maintenance Group who deployed with Poirier last year in support of a Pacific Command mission.

Poirier was the consummate guardsman, said his commander Lt. Col. Paul Kell. "He was a technical expert in his career field, he had a gift for teaching others, he volunteered for every deployment, and he was the first one through the door during state activation in time of crisis."

Among his awards and decorations, Poirier has received two Air Force Commendation Medals, the Air Force Reserve Service Medal, the Air Reserve Force Meritorious Service Medal, both the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, the Armed Forces Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the New Hampshire National Guard State Activation Service Award, as well as the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award five time.

In his civilian career, Poirier was the postmaster general for the town of Atkinson. Off-duty, he enjoyed camping, fishing and spending time with his family and grandchildren. He was also an avid NASCAR fan.

He leaves behind his wife Kim, daughter Nichole and sons Andrew and Bradley. Poirier is also survived by two stepsons, Kevin Forzese and Dillon Forzese, and three grandchildren.

For those who may need to, the 157th Air Refueling Wing Director of Psychological Health, Dr. Michael Jarzombek, will be available for airmen at 603-430- 3373.