SAFB pilots remember fallen Airman Captain John Robertson

Editor's note: In the above video, Capt. James Connolly's name is misspelled. We apologize for the error.

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Pilots at Sheppard Air Force Base continue to mourn the loss of one of their own after a training accident.

"I never imagined it would be him," Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Roberson said.

A shock to many at Sheppard Air Force Base.

"Truly put others before himself and led others," Lt. Col. James Killian said.

Fellow pilots are mourning the loss of Captain John "Skins" Robertson. A man they say embodied the core values of the United States Air Force.

"'Service before self' has been his mantra. I've found out since as long as he's been around through civil air patrol, high school, through his education at the Air Force Academy," Roberson said. "He always focused on serving other people."

For a seasoned airman like Killian, there was always something to be learned from Robertson.

"Even an old guy like me can learn from a young captain," Killian said. "Just that selflessness, I think, is something that I will carry forward for the rest of my life, you know, focusing on who we are together as a team, focusing on what's the same. We have the same mission where we're all working toward a common goal."

On Captain Robertson's desk sits flowers with his Air Force jacket on his chair. A missing link for the 80th Flying Training Wing, and for Capt. James Connolly, it won't be the same without Robertson.

"There's always going to be a lingering sadness. I know that this is always... This thing, it'll calm down a bit. The memorial will happen, the flyovers will happen," Connolly said. "And then, after that, that's all. Everything's all said and done. But our friend is still gone."

Now, though, the airmen believe Robertson is flying high above the clouds.

"I'll see him again one day," Killian said.

"I believe that he's in a better place right now," Roberson said.

"There will always be a Skins-shaped hole in all of our hearts," Connolly said.

The investigation continues into the training incident. There is no word on whether memorial services on base will be open to the public.

Contact Us