BOERNE, Texas -- A name and legacy to inspire students – this is how family, friends, educators, and the community paid tribute to U.S. Air Force Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss during an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-opened Capt. Mark Tyler Voss Middle School Sept. 14.
Boerne Independent School District honored Tyler, a 2004 Boerne High School graduate, who tragically lost his life in service to his country May 3, 2013, in a KC-135 Stratotanker crash near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
“I think today is not just about my brother and his service, I think it’s about the Boerne community and our Air Force community coming together,” said Voss’ younger sister, 2nd Lt. Morgan Voss, 90th Cyber Operations Squadron cyber officer, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. “It’s been a huge part of our experience as a family to have so much support and outreach from everyone around us.”
During the dedication, middle school educators and students proudly displayed the school’s motto: SOAR - Service, Ownership, Achievement and Resilience, characteristics Tyler embodied during life. It was in Boerne ISD where Tyler worked hard to achieve his dream of becoming a pilot by enrolling in their first JROTC class.
“I was shaped by my time here in Boerne, and I think it’s amazing that students in my hometown get to grow up, attend this school, get to see some of the experiences my brother had and hopefully embody some of the characteristics that the school is hoping to carry on by his legacy,” said Morgan.
Tyler then graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2008 with a degree in aeronautical engineering and later commissioned as a second lieutenant. He received his wings March 2010, having graduated from pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, where he received a training award for having the highest score in his class on flight check rides. He eventually became an aircraft commander when he was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, where he flew KC-135s.
“He’s always been someone I’ve looked up to. When we received the news about the plane crash, it was hard because, not only was I losing a family member, but I was losing a role model,” recalled Mark Voss’ younger brother, Senior Airman Forrest Voss, a paramedic at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. “It’s been really powerful just knowing we have this representation of him and of the family. I think it's cool because he left [his home] to protect this community and now that he’s gone, he’s still able to [inspire] kids.”
The ceremony concluded with a four-ship F-16 flyover by the Colorado Air National Guard, conducted by Voss’ roommate at the Academy.