In Memory

Don Hiebert - Class of 1972

Donald W. Hiebert, '76

On April 11, 1983, Captain Donald W. Hiebert, Class of 1976, died in a B-52G accident while on a training mission in southern Utah.  During a CBS Evening News national tribute to Capt.  Hiebert and his crew, we were all reminded of the leadership, dedication, and courage with which Donny served our country.  From the time he served as the First Cadet Group commander in 1976, until he was selected for assignment to the Pentagon in 1983, his Air Force career was a model of pure professionalism.  Yet those of us who knew Donny will remember him most for his clear establishment of priorities: priorities which blended sensitivity and compassion into a leadership style which touched many lives.

The following lines from a letter Donny wrote two years ago capture the essence of the creed by which he lived: "I only want to raise a family, serve my fellow man (mostly young people), give credence to the Gospels, strive for holiness, and be a gentle soul.  I'd rather teach philosophy than poli-sci, fly a kite than a B-52, lead my family in prayer than men into battle.  And yet, this profession means so much to me." You see, Donny's dedication and performance always marked him as a professional soldier, but his priorities were first to God and then to his family.

As a committed Christian, Donny's concern and love for others allowed him to deal effectively with any situation, while leaving a lasting impression on the individuals involved.  His commitment to others combined with boundless energy and unmatched selflessness allowed him to reach out to many people both within and outside the military community.  Whether his time was spent with Boy Scouts, the youth group at his church, as president of the parish council or singing with the chapel music group, he wanted to be involved with people.  He took time to say "I care" to the budding athletes on a Little League team, and to share the pains of growing up with searching teenagers on a church retreat.  Donny passionately believed that our hope for tomorrow lives in each of us today.

Donny was a complete man.  His leadership will be greatly missed by the Air Force, and his companionship sorely missed by his friends.  We treasure the memory of his quick boyish grin, admire his compassion for others, and marvel at the boundless energy and enthusiasm that touched every area of his life.  We are indeed fortunate to have shared in the glow of inspiration and hope that Donny brought to this world.

A loving and affectionate husband, Donny is survived by his wife, Pam, of Warner-Robins, Ga.; his parents, Col. and Mrs. Donald Hiebert, of Tampa, Fla.; and his brothers and sisters, Greg, Theresa, Tom, Tim and Julie.  The family asks that contributions in his memory; be made to the Donald W. Hiebert Memorial Fund, Association of Graduates, USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80840. (Jack Catton, Tom Bowie, Rich King, Dan Jordan,'76)