Remembering Hill: Squadron creates memorial for fallen Airman

Staff Sgt. Alexena Simien, 56th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, and Senior Airman Samuel Bricker, 56th OSS air traffic controller, unveil Senior Airman Scott Hill’s memorial wall during a dedication ceremony at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 26, 2015. Hill lost his battle with cancer and passed away May 18, 2014. The ceremony also retired Hill’s air traffic controller initials: HI. The initials are a special identifier for controllers and HI will be Hill’s at Luke forever. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Staff Sgt. Alexena Simien, 56th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, and Senior Airman Samuel Bricker, 56th OSS air traffic controller, unveil Senior Airman Scott Hill’s memorial wall during a dedication ceremony at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 26, 2015. Hill lost his battle with cancer and passed away May 18, 2014. The ceremony also retired Hill’s air traffic controller initials: HI. The initials are a special identifier for controllers and HI will be Hill’s at Luke forever. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 56th Operations Support Squadron held a dedication ceremony Oct. 23, 2015, at Luke Air Force Base to honor the memory of their fallen comrade Senior Airman Scott Hill, who lost his battle with cancer May 18, 2014.

Airmen from the 56th OSS, who knew Hill, dedicated a wall to him. The wall is in the training room of the radar approach control. The wall has a shadowbox, placard and certificates for retiring Scott's air traffic controller initials HI.

"He was a tremendous asset and a great friend," said Staff Sgt. Alexena Simien, 56th OSS air traffic controller. "He was the hardest working trainee. He probably would have beaten me to staff sergeant."

Hill joined the Air Force January 2011 and not even a year and a half later was diagnosed with myxoid liposarcoma June 2012.

"Once he got cancer, it was his opportunity to medically retire but he didn't want to," said Carol Hill, Scott's mother, tears welling up in her eyes. "He begged them not to retire him saying he wanted to do his job. He said he was going to get well and come back here and get good at this job. He didn't get that chance, but he wanted to."

Hill was a highly motivated Airman who kept working even though he didn't have to.

"Even when he was on convalescent leave he came back here in uniform to train, run simulations, visit and not give up on training," Simien said. "It means everything to me to be able to dedicate our training room to him and to be able to retire his controller initials. He was like a brother to me."

Hill's unit was deeply impacted by his battle with cancer.

"Nobody spoke about it but it visibly affected everyone," Simien said. "Scott continued  living his life as though nothing was wrong."

Hill has always been dedicated to going above and beyond.

"He was a strong but kind person and a great kid," Hill's mother said. "I remember when he was five years old surfing in a water park being able to pull up the surf board and splash the crowd, which I took for granted then, but now I see kids at that age who are afraid to even go down a water slide. He did everything well. He was just an action-packed kid."

Hill's family, friends, and unit were in attendance for the dedication ceremony.

"Seeing so many people come out and knowing they loved him and cherished his friendship makes me grateful," said Scott Hill, Scott's father. "All I can say is thank you to those who put this dedication ceremony together. There aren't words to express our gratitude. I wasn't expecting this at all. I thought it'd just be Scott's close friends showing us a wall."

Everyone from Hill's unit was in attendance. Those who didn't know him could figure out what kind of person he was from those who did.

"He never complained about what he was going through and just looked forward to doing more things," Carol said. "He left this world a better place by showing people to not take life for granted. Enjoy your days while you are here. Get busy living right now and figure out why you're put on this planet. I think that's how Scotty lived his life and wanted others to do the same."