The life of David Leland Yockey ended on June 3, 2010. He was born Aug. 9, 1965, in Ft. Wayne, Ind., to Judith King Yockey and Leland K. Yockey.
David’s family moved to Williamsport, Pa. when he entered second grade. There, even in grade school and junior high, his accomplishments began to exhibit the leadership qualities that would develop throughout his life. He played basketball, golf, and baseball, competing in Little League and playing at Lamade Stadium, the home of the Little League World Series games.
David’s family moved to Moab, Utah, and he began eighth grade. He was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society that year. At Grand County High School in Moab he excelled academically, played basketball, golf, baseball, and pitched for his team, which won the state tournament. He was inducted into the National Honor Society, held class offices, and was elected student body president.
During two summers, David went to Hamilton, Mont. to live with his grandfather and grandmother, Elizabeth and Hersch King. He played with the Bitterroot Bucks one summer and worked in the pro shop at the Hamilton Golf Course the other.
Prior to graduation, Sen. Orrin Hatch nominated David to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Rep. Howard Nielson nominated him to the United States Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Sen. Jake Garn nominated him to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
After high school, David spent his freshman year in college at Utah State University, where he pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and was selected as a member of the President’s Leadership Council. After his freshman year his family moved to Hamilton, Mont., and Dave transferred to University of Montana to complete his B.S. in business administration.
He held the office of president of his fraternity and was one of three students in the United States to be elected to hold a position on its national board of directors. David was a Montana University Peer Advisor and was invited to membership in Silent Sentinel, the only honor society selecting from the university at large. Since the U of M was founded in 1893, only 742 men and women had been nominated for Silent Sentinel. He was also a University of Montana Advocate.
David and Tamara Frey were married on Sept. 2, 1989, in Hamilton, just prior to his entrance into the United States Air Force. His military career began at Officers’ Candidate School at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, and then began his first assignment as officer in charge at Norton AFB in California.
Within two years he was competitively selected for a 15-month master’s degree program at AFIT, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. After completion of the degree he remained there as logistics support manager for the C-17 System Program Office, was directly responsible for the logistics support elements of the C-17 mission systems, and analyzed and validated logistics requirements for the Department of Defense’s acquisition program – the largest at the time. He then went to Rota, Spain where, as squadron maintenance office and director of operations, he led 120 assigned personnel to perform quality maintenance on Air Mobility Command weapon systems for global mobility mission.
At his next assignment at Scott AFB, Ill., he began as the C-17 weapon system manager responsible for monitoring and managing the C-17 Globemaster III fleet, and later becoming the executive officer, directorate of logistics, HQ Air Mobility Command. At Scott AFB he was selected for position as the general’s right hand, above 114 majors of all logistics disciplines in Air Mobility Command.
David then went back to school, having been one of the top 15 percent in his peer group selected to attend the 42-week professional military masters program at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Ala. From there, he was assigned as squadron commander of 281 personnel maintaining systems on the 41 KC-135 aircraft, Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Wash. Also at Fairchild AFB, he was selected to command the largest squadron on base, leading 400 personnel and providing fleet management, mission configuration, launch and recovery of 41 KC-135 aircraft. He was hand-picked as the wing’s deployed maintenance group commander during Expeditionary Operational Readiness Inspection. At Hill AFB, his next assignment, he was deputy director, Electronics Maintenance Group, and he assisted the director in leading 900 personnel.
During this assignment he deployed to the Middle East as the deputy director of logistics for Air Force Forward, in support of Operation IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. After his deployment he became the military deputy, hand-picked by the wing commander to initiate aerospace maintenance throughout an 8,500-person wing.
David retired in January, 2010, after 20 years of service and dedication to his country. He received the following awards and decorations:
Meritorious Service Medal, (three awarded), Air Force Commendation Medal (three awarded), Air Force Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (two awarded), Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (with device), Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon, and many Office and Professional of the Year Awards.
During his time at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio, Dave and Tammy’s son Kyle was born, and while they were in Rota, Spain, son Ryan was born.
The pride of service to his country was paramount to David and was superseded only by his devotion to his family. David was an amazing, bright, accomplished, humorous, thoughtful, loyal, and loving person. Life will never be the same without him.
He is survived by his wife, Tamara; sons, Kyle and Ryan; parents, Lee and Judy Yockey; brother, Greg, his wife, Amy, and their children, Megan, Kellen, and Quinn; grandmother, Elizabeth King; aunt, Marlene Blankenship, her son, Jeff, and daughter, Kris Heckaman; uncle, Tom King, his wife, Diane, and their children, Chris King, wife, Kristin, and their, daughter, Claire, and Kelly King, and her husband, Jon Zogg; and numerous other aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The Yockey family would also like to acknowledge its “third son,” Terry Frey. David loved you like a brother, Terry.
The Malmstrom Air Force Honor Guard honored David at a memorial service that took place on June 14 at Daly Leach Chapel. June 14 had significance as it was Flag Day, and the birthday of his late grandfather, Herschell King. A reception immediately followed at the Elks Club.
The family has asked that donations in David’s name be made to the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Hoffman and his staff have shown great professionalism and caring throughout this family tragedy.