By Chalmarie Bridges, 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
/ Published April 06, 2007
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The morning of Feb. 26, 2004 brought sad news of a heart-breaking incident from the night prior--an aircraft crash at Eielson Air Force Base.
Details would be sketchy at work later that day; except for one fact--the Iceman family had lost one of its own. Later, it would become clear what had happened. Maj. Jonathan Scheer, flying A-10 78-700, had been leading a four-ship night vision goggle upgrade mission the night of Feb. 25 in preparation for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Just after leaving Eielson, at 8:31 p.m., Major Jonathan "Cosmo" Scheer gave his last full measure before his aircraft would impact the earth rendering him fatally wounded. Our Iceman family had lost a greatly respected and admired teacher, friend, Airman, and warrior who had immeasurably touched our family.
Major Scheer entered the Air Force in 1995 after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy with an Aeronautical Engineering degree. He later graduated from EURO-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, with orders in hand to fly the A-10 THUNDERBOLT II.
Major Scheer's relentless and first-class performance earned his selection as one of only three A-10 pilots in the world to attend the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course. Upon graduating pilot training in 1996 from Sheppard AFB, Major Scheer was assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron at Osan AB, Korea, where he served as an "Assam Draggin."
In 1998, he was reassigned to the 75th Fighter Squadron at Pope AFB, North Carolina, as a "Tiger Shark" A-10 instructor pilot.
In 2001, Major Scheer was reassigned back to Osan AB, Korea, this time as the 25th Fighter Squadron's Weapons Officer. In February of 2003, he was assigned as an "Arctic Hawg" weapons officer with the 355th Fighter Squadron at Eielson AFB, and in 2004, he joined the 354th Operations Support Squadron as the Wing Weapons Officer.
Major Scheer was a senior pilot with 1,882 flying hours in the A-10; having flown 23 combat and 18 combat support sorties during Operations ALLIED FORCE and SOUTHERN WATCH.
He earned and received recognition as the 355th Fighter Squadron's Flight Commander of the Quarter, 354th Operations Group's Instructor Pilot of the Quarter, 354th Operations Group's Flight Commander of the Year, and was the Squadron Officer School's Ritchey Leadership Excellence Award recipient.
Major Scheer's decorations include the Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Aerial Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
On April 23, 2007, Maj. Jonathan P. Scheer's parents will be part of a memorialization ceremony fitting for our Iceman family's aviator.
The idea for naming the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's conference room in honor of Major Scheer was born within the mind of then-354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, Maj. Timothy Kirk, close friend to Major Scheer and later built upon by the current commander, Lt. Col. Rick Petito.
A specially framed photo of Major Scheer was originally placed in the squadron's conference room along with an above-the-door sign unofficially designating it as the Scheer Conference Room. From there, the idea has grown into an official Air Force Memorialization of the room. After the ceremony, the room will additionally adorn a hand-painted canvas of Major Scheer's jet and a 3-D model of his A-10 to accompany his photo, along with specially arranged fixed lighting to brighten the wall 24/7/365.
Outside of the doorway to the conference room will be a specially-cast bronze plaque with the following inscription:
MAJOR JONATHAN "COSMO" SCHEER
Dedicated in Memory of
Maj. Jonathan "Cosmo" Scheer
Sept. 18, 1972 -Feb. 25, 2004
Major Scheer was a native of Michigan and 1995 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He attended EURO-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB, TX, and selected the A-10 THUNDERBOLT II upon graduation. A graduate of the United States Air Force Weapons School, he served as an "Assam Draggin" with the 25th Fighter Squadron at Osan AB, Korea, a "Tiger Shark" with the 75th FS at Pope AFB, N.C., and an "Arctic Hawg" with the 355th FS at Eielson AFB. Alaska.
On Feb. 25, 2004, Major Scheer was flying an A-10 78-700, call sign Warthawg 01. While leading a four-ship night vision goggle upgrade mission in preparation for OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, at 8:31 p.m., Major Scheer gave his last full measure and was fatally wounded when his aircraft impacted the ground.
This conference room is dedicated to a lost son, brother, teacher, friend, Airman, and warrior.
"Throw a nickel on the grass..."
The phrase, "Throw a nickel on the grass ..." is familiar amongst fighter pilots and is used to both show respect and impart good luck amongst fellow warriors, its words taken from a song popular during the Korean War. These words were built upon further by an unknown author's Tribute to the Fighter Pilot, "So here's a nickel on the grass to you, my friend, and your spirit, enthusiasm, sacrifice and courage--but most of all to your friendship. Yours is a dying breed and when you are gone, the world will be a lesser place."
Maj. Jonathan "Cosmo" Scheer touched the lives of many. He will be forever remembered by those who had the opportunity to meet him, befriend him and be family to him. For those other people who did not have the chance to meet "Cosmo," they at least will get to know of the awesome aviator who brightened the world for a time with his presence. Major Scheer made the ultimate sacrifice to his country, and the 354th AMXS takes great pride in memorializing a room in his honor.