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Remembering Jeff

  • Published
  • By Bekah Clark
  • 12th Flying Training Wing
"He gave a damn," said Lt. Col. Chris Hall of co-worker and friend Maj. Jeff Ausborn. "He loved his wife and he loved to fly."

Major Ausborn, 41, was killed April 27 in Kabul, Afghanistan when a shooter opened fire at the Kabul International Airport killing eight U.S. service members and one American contractor. He was in a meeting when the attack occurred.

The major, a native of Gadsden, Ala., and a 99th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, was deployed to the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing where he served as a C-27 instructor pilot to new Afghan pilots.

Despite the distance, Major Ausborn found ways to remain in constant communication with his wife, Suzanna.

"He was a great communicator, we talked nearly every day - that's how I knew something was wrong, I didn't hear from him," she said. "I miss him so much."

Major Ausborn began his Air Force career in 1992 as a communications officer and later became a C-130 pilot according to his wife, Suzanna.

"Jeff loved to fly," said Lt. Col. James Fisher, 99th FTS commander, who also completed the first portion of initial pilot training with the major.

"He always tracked his flights hours - it was his goal to have the most out of anyone in the squadron," said Colonel Fisher. "There was no mission he wouldn't take. He just wanted to be in the air. Whether it was a cross-country mission on the weekend to help a student get the hours and skill training he needed, or a late night mission, he didn't care."

"He was happier behind the yoke of a plane than just about anywhere I saw him on the ground," said Colonel Hall.

According to Colonel Fisher, in addition to being an instructor pilot, Major Ausborn's role at the 99th FTS, which provides advanced instructor pilot training, was to make sure all of the squadron's students got the flight skills and hours they needed to accomplish their training so they could move onto become effective instructor pilots.

"That's what we do here at the 99th and Jeff was really good at it," said Colonel Fisher. "He knew how to make someone learn in a way that they felt good about it. And he made sure the day-to-day mission happened here everyday."

According to Mrs. Ausborn, her husband enjoyed being an instructor and has held multiple instructing positions during his career to include teaching basic communication officer training and flight instruction on multiple airframes.

"He was the most compassionate, kind, patient and understanding husband, father, pilot and supervisor," said Mrs. Ausborn, attributing those qualities to what made him a great instructor pilot. "He was calm and understanding and he knew how to alter his instructing methods to fit the student."

It was those same skills that Mrs. Ausborn says he used to teach her teenage daughter how to drive.

Colonels Fisher and Hall also noted Major Ausborn's calm, collected demeanor.

"When other people were stressed out about something, he was off to the side, calm, relaxed and getting the job done," said Colonel Hall.

Colonel Fisher added, "He was a person you wanted to be around."

According to Mrs. Ausborn, he volunteered last year to go to Afghanistan, and he felt good about the work he was doing there.

Just before his death he was chosen as the 438th AEW's Field Grade Officer of the Quarter.

According to the award announcement, "the best part of his deployment is working hand in hand with the Afghan pilots and loadmasters. His deployment goals are building C-27 current operations with Afghans who are able to run the shop autonomously. His greatest accomplishment since joining the military is meeting [his] wife and getting married to her."

Major Ausborn is survived by his wife, and five children, Emily, 15, Eric, 12, Shelby, 10, Mitchell Maloy, 21, and Summer Maloy, 17.