SOG, Kadena Airmen pay final respects to one of their own

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
Hundreds of 353rd Special Operations Group and Team Kadena members gathered to remember and mourn the loss of Airman 1st Class Michael Reio at Chapel One here Sept. 15.

The 20-year-old Knowledge Operations Manager assigned to the 353rd SOG staff died from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle accident here about 7 p.m. on Sept. 9.

During the ceremony, coworkers and leaders spoke about the maturity and drive that set Airman Reio apart from his peers and his ability to brighten the day of those around him.

Tech. Sgt. Danielle Myers, Airman Reio's supervisor, knew her time working with him would be special from the beginning -- starting with conversations with his family before his arrival and the way they laughed together after getting lost returning to base from the airport in Naha when he arrived on the island in July 2009.

Sergeant Myers also praised Airman Reio for the joy, maturity and knowledge he possessed and shared with the office before passing one final task to him.

"As your supervisor, I have one last task for you," she said fighting back tears. "I know you're looking down on us right now. As you watch over me, please take care of me because you are now my guardian angel. I love you. You will never be forgotten."

In his short fourteen months with the 353rd SOG, Airman Reio completed his upgrade training ahead of schedule, enrolled in classes in an effort earn his Community College of the Air Force degree, and earned a reputation as a model Airman.

"In my eyes, Mike Reio was a role-model Airman, and he accomplished an amazing number of things in his time as a Knowledge Operations Manager with the 353rd Special Operations Group," said Lt. Col. Leslie Babich, the 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron Commander.

Colonel Robert Toth, the 353rd SOG commander, also described Airman Reio as a role model and offered his thoughts to friends and family as they honor and remember his life.

"Airman Reio strived for excellence every step of the way and demonstrated selfless service daily. He loved life and his family; was a man of faith; and a friend to all. To his mother Gloria, his father Frederick and his brothers Damon and Jordan. I thank you for the honor of serving with your son and brother. Your family produced an outstanding young man who faithfully served his nation. He was an inspiration to all who served with him and his legacy will ensure the strength of our nation. You can be very proud of your son and brother."