Pilot Airman honored, awarded wings posthumously

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Raeanna Elms
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
Just about every parent whose child is participating in one of the Air Force's undergraduate pilot training programs envisions the day they can witness their son or daughter walking the stage, shaking hands and earning their prize - their wings.

Such an event was hosted Nov. 7 for the graduation of Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program Class 08-08. But something was missing. Someone was missing.

Second Lt. Alec Littler was scheduled to graduate with Class 08-08 and hopefully move on to the sought after F-15 Eagle with dreams of upgrading to the F-22 Raptor. A fiery crash May 1 took those dreams from him, and took him away from his parents and classmates.

"We're here because we want to represent Alec," said Bob Littler, the lieutenant's father. Mr. Littler and Lieutenant Littler's mother, Penny Farquhar, attended the graduation ceremony to accept the posthumously awarded pilot's wings. "He would not have wished to be anywhere else," Mr. Littler said.

The still-grieving parents described their son's love for the Air Force and pilot training, proudly telling of the dedication he had not only to his training, but also to his fellow student pilots. Mr. Littler described his son as a "warrior" and said his desire was to see everyone around him succeed in their mission to become Air Force pilots.

This story is more than an unfortunate accident that claimed the lives of two dedicated Airmen, and eventually led to the ceremony honoring the young pilot. It's also about a mother and father taking on surrogate children - Lieutenant Littler's classmates - and their dreams.

"There's a certain amount of sadness, but we're close to other members of his class," Mrs. Farquhar said, adding that they've stayed in touch with other soon-to-be combat pilots via e-mail. "(We're) excited to see them again and meet their families."

Although this meeting was somewhat somber, it also allowed all in attendance to reflect on Alec Littler, the person. A 10-minute video captured his time at Sheppard as a student pilot, but also his fun-loving nature outside the classroom. It even captured his first solo flight and the traditional trip to "the tank."

"He was so happy in T-37s," his father said. "And then when he got to T-38s, he couldn't have been happier."

Lieutenant Littler attended high school in Glenwood Springs, Colo., before attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. He participated in the schools' Reserve Officer Training Corps program and was selected to participate in pilot training.

Although his life was cut short, Lieutenant Littler's dream of receiving his wings was reciprocated by his parents.