Shorewood, Wisconsin, US
U.S. Air Force
Major, US Air National Guard
3/3/2011, Milwaukee, US
Even before his first airplane ride at age 5, Eric had developed a fascination with airplanes, and an interest in becoming a pilot. That first airplane ride fueled his interests even more.
In 1986, when Eric was 16, he applied for, and was accepted into, the Experimental Aircraft Association Academy in Oshkosh, a two-week program for adolescents to learn more about aviation. The students lived at the EAA, attended classes, and had hands-on experiences with designing and building aeronautical projects. Eric loved it.
In December 1988, when Eric was 18 years old, he joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard as an Avionics Electronics Technician. In 1994 he earned the degree of Associate in Applied Science Avionic Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. In 1995 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Business Administration and Aviation Management from Averett College in Danville, Virginia.
Eric went to Officer’s Candidate School in Knoxville, Tennessee and graduated in September 1996. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, and was proud to be sworn in by his Grandfather, Harry Loftus, who was a former Army officer. Then, Eric went to military flight school, graduated, and received his “wings” in 1998 in Del Rio, Texas. For awhile, Eric worked at the Outer Banks as a tour plane pilot—which he really enjoyed. Later, he went on to be a top-notch pilot with the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he flew KC135 aircraft refuelers. As such, he was one of the pilots who flew missions to refuel Air Force One and the planes that accompanied it around the nation and the world. Eric enjoyed being a pilot in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, and he especially enjoyed the teamwork and time spent with his military friends. He had a great smile and a kind word for everyone. He was smart, friendly, adventurous, loving, compassionate, and fun to be with.
Eric was in the military for 18 years, and eventually earned the rank of Major in the United States Air Force. During his time in the military, Eric was involved in several wars, and consequently suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He passed away unexpectedly on March 3, 2011, from complications of PTSD.