U-2 pilot remembered at Beale memorial
Special to The Union
Words of remembrance echoed through an overflow crowd in Hangar I-8 on the flightline of Beale Air Force Base on Thursday. Family and friends said goodbye to Lt. Col. Steve “Shooter” Eadie.
The stories described a dedicated family man, loyal friend, elite flying instructor and notorious prankster during his memorial service — eight days after Eadie was killed when a two-seat U-2 trainer went down in the Sutter Buttes.
Eadie, 46, was one of six evaluator pilots who interviewed and trained new U-2 pilots and served as the assistant director of operations for the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during the ceremony.
Lt. Col. Paul Wurster, the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron commander, said Eadie held himself accountable for everything he did and took on significant responsibilities. He was in charge of running all of the squadron’s maintenance functional check flights and conducted interview flights with potential new pilots.
“He did our hardest duty, which is flying with interviewees who are trying to pledge our program, and this is where I last saw him, waiting at the desk for an airplane to get fueled, smiling,” Wurster said. “He was genuinely happy and excited to take somebody up on that first flight in the U-2.”
Speakers said Eadie was the instructor who signed off on the 1,000th pilot to solo the U-2. His legacy at Beale remains in the 23 pilots who graduated to fly the Dragon Lady under his tutelage and countless more he helped since he arrived in the U-2 program in 2009.
Eadie came to the program after spending 13 years in the Navy. He regularly deployed and flew missions overseas.
Barron is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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