Air Force officer never took her life for granted


POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009

A Hawaii-based Air Force officer killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan was the first female graduate of the Air Force Academy to die in the current U.S. military action in the Middle East, according to the Air Force.

; Friends and colleagues described Air Force 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte, 25, as a born leader.

Schulte was assigned to the 13th Air Force's 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam Air Force Base. She was stationed since February with the Combined Security Transition Command in Kabul. Her father told reporters in her hometown of St. Louis that she was working with Afghan military officials. She was a 2006 honors graduate of the Air Force Academy.

“;She was great at what she did. She was so confident. She had no fear,”; said Air Force 1st Lt. Erin Caylor, of Hickam. Caylor said her friend volunteered for the Afghanistan assignment.

Schulte was stationed in Hawaii for two years, and “;she went surfing all the time, and hiking all the time. She motivated people to go out with her,”; Caylor said. “;She didn't take a second of her life for granted.”; Caylor recalled Schulte dressed as a clown when they shared a narrator job at the base Halloween Boo Fest for children, and remembered her making matzo ball soup for sick friends.

“;Losing Lt. Schulte has been a tragedy felt by everyone here and across the Air Force. The airmen of the 613th Air and Space Operations Center will forever be proud of her,”; said Col. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, 613th commander, in a written statement.

Robert Schulte told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that his daughter showed signs of being a leader from childhood. In answer to his question about what she wanted to be when she grew up, the 2-year-old said, “;Chairman of the board,”; Schulte said. “;She would call me and say, 'Dad, all these guys might fly the planes, but they follow me.'”;

Military memorial services will be held, but Caylor said Schulte's friends are preparing a memorial of their own, gathering photographs “;to create a time line of her life. We will send it to her parents to show them who she was in Hawaii and how she touched so many people.”;

Hickam Senior Airman Andrew Norton posted a comment on the St. Louis Post Dispatch Web page saying, “;I can speak for several airmen by saying that we all respected her and would follow her anywhere. Her passing was not only a loss to the Air Force but to this country.”;

Schulte is survived by parents Robert and Suzie, and brother Todd.