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Portland Air National Guard Base pays tribute to fallen Redhawk with street dedication

Street dedication ceremony

Carolyn Young, Maj. Gregory Young's mother (left), talks with Lt. Col. Aaron Mathena, 123rd Fighter Squadron commander (right), and other members of the 142nd Fighter Wing following the formal dedication to the street named after her son, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Oregon Air National Guard Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander, delivers opening remarks to those attending the street dedication for Maj. Greg Young, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Family and friends of Maj. Gregory 'Grumpy' Young listen to remarks by 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander Col. Adam Sitler during the street dedication in his memory, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Oregon Air National Guard Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander, delivers remarks to those attending the street dedication for Maj. Gregory Young, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Oregon Air National Guard Col. Sean Sullivan, 142nd Fighter Wing Operations Group commander (center), along with other members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, listen to remarks by Col. Adam Sitler during the formal street dedication for Maj. Greg 'Grumpy' Young, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Family and friends of Maj. Gregory 'Grumpy' Young listen to remarks by 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander Col. Adam Sitler during the street dedication in his memory, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Oregon Air National Guard Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander removes the cover of the newly named "Young Way" street sign during the formal road dedication making the 10 year anniversary of Maj. Gregory Young's passing, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Street dedication ceremony

Carolyn Young and David Young, pause for a photograph next to the street sign marking the newly dedicated roadway named after their son, Maj. Gregory Young, following the formal street naming ceremony in his memory, June 26, 2017, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. --

On a tranquil summer afternoon, nearly 100 members of the 142nd Fighter Wing gathered to commemorate a fellow fallen Redhawk, and dedicate a portion of the base here in his memory, on June 26, 2017.

Marking ten-years to the day when an Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagle, piloted by Maj. Gregory ‘Grumpy’ Young perished while training off the Oregon coastline; two separate ceremonies were held in his memory. Earlier in the morning, Young was honored with a wreath presentation ceremony over the Pacific Ocean from a helicopter provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Station Astoria. Later in the afternoon during a subsequent ceremony, a street was formally dedicated and named in Maj. Young’s honor.

The Presiding Officer for the event was Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander, who also reflected on the similarities of the day, likening to the tragedy ten-years before.  

“It was a warm, sunny, and beautiful day; much like today – in an instant our colleague was gone,” said Sitler, addressing those gather along the intersection of Carl Street and the newly designated street in Young’s honor.

On June 26, 2007, Young was killed during a complex training exercise over the Pacific Ocean off of the Oregon coastline, leaving behind family and friends that wanted to remember his commitment, and contributions to the unit and community.

“As we approached today, the men and women of the 142nd Fighter Wing wanted to permanently memorialize our friend and colleague, ‘Grumpy,’ said Sitler. “We also felt a need to honor his sacrifice, and remind ourselves that freedom isn’t free.”

The idea behind the street naming project was generated as a collective idea during a series of weekly meetings over the last year. Although it has been a decade since his passing, many co-workers who served with Young, wanted to honor him with a daily reminder of his sacrifice.

The roadway leading from Carl Street to the alert facility had no formal designation, so naming the road used on a regular basis and critical to the daily mission was a perfect choice.

During his senior year of college at Oregon State University, Col. Sean Sullivan, 142nd Fighter Wing Operations Group commander was a roommate and friend of Young’s.  Both finished Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) before joining the Air Force active duty ranks, and then eventually, returning to Oregon and flying with the Air National Guard.

“The roadway is a lasting way to remember a true American, a true Oregonian, and a friend,” said Sullivan. “It means a great deal to me that he will always be remembered on base, even after those of us who knew him well are gone.”

Joining the Airmen from the 142nd Fighter Wing for the street dedication were Maj. Young’s parents, David and Carolyn Young of St. Helens, Oregon. The roadway leading to the alert facility will now be known as “Young Way.”