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Memorial held for fallen battlefield Airman

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland participated in a 1-mile log march during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland participated in a 1-mile log march during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron prepare to land on the newly renamed Schroeder drop zone during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016 Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron prepare to land on the newly renamed Schroeder drop zone during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland perform “memorial push-ups” during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder while his two sons observe April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland perform “memorial push-ups” during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder while his two sons observe April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Col. Roy Collins, 37th Training Wing commander, prepares to address the crowd during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Col. Roy Collins, 37th Training Wing commander, prepares to address the crowd during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Col. Ronald Stenger, Battlefield Airmen Training Group commander, addresses the crowd during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march.  On April 8th, 2016 Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Col. Ronald Stenger, Battlefield Airmen Training Group commander, addresses the crowd during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland accomplish pull ups during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8th, 2016 Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland accomplish pull ups during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8, 2016, Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and Airmen from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland complete a run during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8th, 2016 Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Members of the 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron and Airmen from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland complete a run during a memorial remembrance ceremony honoring Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder April 7, 2017, at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Medina Annex. Schroeder’s unit honored his legacy by renaming a drop zone as Schroeder DZ and participated in a "Monster Mash" fitness competition, remembrance ceremony and log march. On April 8th, 2016 Schroeder recognized a perilous situation developing and reacted swiftly by putting himself between an armed individual and his first sergeant. In the process, he saved lives of other squadron members while being fatally wounded. Schroeder was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, given to those that distinguish themselves by a heroic act – usually at the volunteer risk of their lives but not involving combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Starting out as dots on the horizon, five Airmen glided under parachutes, through the crisp morning sky toward a landing zone, banking sharply as their boots planted on the grassy field beneath at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Medina Base Annex April 7.

It’s a common sight at JBSA-Lackland, where Airmen training for special operations careers dive out of planes on a weekly basis. But this landing was anything but routine. Hundreds of Airmen, families and onlookers gathered at a ceremony to remember Lt. Col. William Schroeder, a combat weather operator and former commander of the 342nd Training Squadron who was killed while defending a member of his staff from a gunman in 2016.

The sixth and last Airman – transported by an American flag parachute and streaming a second American flag below his harness – touched down behind first five. Shortly after, the crowd watched as Abby Schroeder, Lt. Col. Schroeder's widow, and the couple’s two young sons approached the drop zone to nail down a plaque bearing her husband’s name.

“This past year has been tough on our family,” said Abby, who used most of her brief speech to thank the dozens of Airmen and officials who supported her family through a year’s worth of grief and recovery. “Thanks to all of you, we have survived.”

Col. Roy Collins, 37th Training Wing commander, embraced Abby after she spoke.

“We’re here to remember as a wing, as a family, and as Airmen,” Collins said. “We remember Bill as a son, husband, father, friend, wingman, commander, a battlefield Airman, and a warrior.”

Col. Ronald Stenger, Battlefield Airman Training Group commander, said he is honored to carry on Schroeder’s legacy.

“Schroeder died … courageously defending members of his command,” Stenger said. “It’s important that we never forget that Bill’s immediate, aggressive, and selfless response reflects the very essence of what warriors aspire to be.”

Schroeder’s decision to fight the gunman ended up saving the life of a non-commissioned officer, according to official reports.

Commissioned as second lieutenant in 1999, Schroeder served in the Air Force’s special operations command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and oversaw the Tactical Air Control Party school’s transition to San Antonio, Texas in 2015. As part of the 24th Special Operations Wing, Schroeder also led the Air Force’s only combat weather squadron from June 2013 to May 2014.

Stenger noted his group plans to honor Schroeder every year with a remembrance memorial.

“As long as we continue to remember him, to speak his name and honor his legacy,” Stenger added, “we can keep from really losing him.”