Media Advisory: Fallen Spooky Airman remembered with Hurlburt Memorial

  • Published
  • By Bridget Donovan
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

HURLBURT FIELD, Florida-- Hundreds of Air Commandos, family and friends gathered to commemorate a fallen teammate, husband, father, brother, son and friend during a memorial service, Jan. 31, 2020, on Hurlburt Field.


The service honored the life of U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rick A. DeMorgan Jr., the superintendent of the 4th Special Operations Squadron, who was killed Jan. 23, 2020, when a C-130 crashed in Australia while supporting firefighting efforts. 


“While on the surface, today could appear to be a day of mourning, a day of grief, and reflection of loss. I submit that it’s also a day of celebration,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Ventres, commander of the 4th SOS. “A celebration of a great life that touched many hearts, inspired so many minds and steered so many lives. A celebration of family, a celebration of friends, a celebration of brothers in arms.” 


DeMorgan enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1995 where he became an aero-repair maintenance apprentice on the C-141 Starlifter. In 2002, he cross trained to start his aircrew career as a C-130 flight engineer with the 50th Airlift Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. In 2005, DeMorgan reported to Hurlburt Field to join the gunship family as an AC-130H Spectre flight engineer where he was instrumental in moving the 16th SOS to Cannon AFB, New Mexico.


His combat experience, superior systems knowledge, and attention to detail led him to return to Hurlburt as the Operations Superintendent of the 14th Weapons Squadron in 2012. He instructed prospective weapons officers in the AC-130, MC-130, and U-28 aircraft while flying the AC-130U Spooky gunship.


“Rick was undeniably the best in this profession,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Buzga, senior enlisted leader with the 4th SOS. “His high standards of integrity and performance had an effect that inspired others to rise and achieve higher levels of performance themselves.”


In 2017, DeMorgan became the operations superintendent at the 19th SOS, mentoring Air Force Special Operations Command’s newest students in their largest formal training schoolhouse.


After 25 years of devoted service, DeMorgan was awaiting a March 1, 2020 retirement date.


“Rick was larger than life. He was loyal and he definitely had the utmost candor but he always got the mission done,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Corey Fossbender, senior enlisted leader with the 19th SOS. “He was funny, animated, brutally honest, and courageous. He loved his children dearly, he loved life, and he loved being an Air Commando.”


DeMorgan amassed over 4,000 total flight hours, nearly 2,000 of which were in combat during 13 deployments in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.


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For media queries and additional questions, please contact 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs at or (850) 884-6988.