BYU adds fallen airman to Wall of Honor

2013-02-23T00:35:00Z 2013-10-03T06:46:08Z BYU adds fallen airman to Wall of HonorBarbara Christiansen - Daily Herald Daily Herald
February 23, 2013 12:35 am  • 

The name of former BYU student Scott Patrick Pace was added to the university's Wall of Honor Friday in a memorial service commemorating his death in combat in Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Landy Dunham and Elder Lance B. Wickman, emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke at the service. Scott Pace's father, Pat Pace, presented a life sketch.

Following the services, family members and friends watched while a plaque with his name was unveiled. Members of the BYU ROTC and others watched the ceremony via closed circuit television.

Pat Pace said his son loved sports, especially basketball. When he came to BYU, he participated in open tryouts for the team, but was not accepted. While he was serving an LDS mission in Argentina, his brother, Rick, received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Rick wrote Pace and told him he would probably be able to play basketball at West Point.

After Pace returned from his mission, he began a physical fitness program to help him qualify for the military academy and transferred there from BYU. Rick returned from his mission and the two graduated from West Point together.

Pace studied nuclear engineering, then attended flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he earned his wings and flew the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter. He served as an aviation platoon leader, battalion battle captain, brigade aviation planner and battalion operations officer.

He did two deployments to Iraq and spent 20 months in the country.

He then returned to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where he attended the Captain's Career Course in military intelligence.

In December 2010 he took command of Fox Troop, and as an aviation troop commander he deployed to Afghanistan in September 2011.

During his military career, he received two Purple Hearts, the Army Air Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Global War On Terror Service Medal, NATO Medal, Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons, Army Aviation Badge and Combat Action Badge.

He had been accepted into the BYU MBA program and would have entered in September.

That all changed on June 6. He was flying on patrol when his helicopter was riddled with machine gun fire and he became what his comrades called a "fallen angel."

Dunham said Pace was a hero in every sense of the word.

"He was the epitome of a compassionate leader," he said. "He never ceased to amaze me with his 'we can do it' attitude. Scotty and his team found a way to make it happen. I know that Scotty is smiling down on us right now. We today do not just remember him, but honor him."

He made a pledge in his memory.

"We will continue to make him proud," he said. "He effectively saved the lives of U.S. forces and civilians on the ground. Scott laid down his life for his nation and his friends."

Scott Pace was 33 years old -- he died three days after his birthday.

Wickman said he did not know him, but he cited ways he felt a connection to him. Wickman served in the military during the Vietnam War. He cited examples of other heroes and said he felt a connection with them.

"I knew them in the ways that mattered most," he said. "Each was a man of youth, filled with hopes and dreams. They left behind families. Life was as precious to each of them as it is to you and me."

He said it was not insignificant that Pace died on June 6, noting the Allied invasion of Normandy happened that same day in 1944.

"Their emotions were likewise a tumble and a tangle," he said. That event became the base of the book "The Longest Day." He said Pace's last day was a long one. He did not see the sun set, but was able to see the sun rise in heaven.

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