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Fighter pilot remembered for humor, love of family
Question of the Day
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - A fighter-jet pilot and "TopGun" student from Illinois was remembered Saturday by hundreds of friends and loved ones for his sense of humor, love of family and service to country.
The sister of U.S. Marine Corps Major Reid "Eeyore" Nannen said her brother was the only person she knew who got his dream job, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported (http://bit.ly/1jncYjz ).
"I was blessed to know Reid," said Briana Nannen of Peoria, Ill. "I am a better person for having known him."
The 32-year-old Nannen, of Hopedale, Ill., was killed March 1 when an F/A-18C Hornet crashed on the Fallen Range Training Complex, about 70 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev.
The 2004 graduate of the University of Illinois was permanently stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. But he was on temporary duty at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon as a TopGun student.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah, and their four young children.
Nannen was remembered as a good singer, for his pranks, fun-loving personality, and as a leader, mentor and friend.
"I didn't recognize the effect he had on me until recently," said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Bruce Gordon. "Eeyore inspired me to do better. He inspired all of us to do better, and he did this without trying."
Kevin Kennedy went through Naval ROTC with Nannen at the University of Illinois. He remembered his classmate as "the guy you wanted to have at your side."
"Reid meant a lot to a lot of people, but he meant the most to his family. He was a phenomenal father and family man," said Capt. Eli Keller, who fought back tears. He said he considered Nannen a mentor while they trained in Australia.
A military recessional was followed by a military burial at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, Ill.
Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com
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