Lightning Force dedicates classroom to fallen Airman

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ted Nichols
  • HQ Pennsylvania National Guard
Pennsylvania National Guard leaders, Airmen, friends and family of Senior Master Sgt. Kevin H. Markel gathered on Jan. 25, 2014, at the Lightning Force Academy, located at Fort Indiantown Gap, to dedicate a classroom in his honor after unanimous approval from the State Armory Board.

Markel passed away on June 12, 2013, after suffering a heart attack at his home in Carlisle, Pa.

"This is a high honor and something very rarely done," said Pennsylvania adjutant general Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig. "Naming of facilities and classrooms is reserved for those who mean something very special to us."

"Those familiar with Fort Indiantown Gap know there are several tributes to individuals who served their nation proudly, today we add Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Markel's name to that list," said Col. Terrence Koudelka, 193rd Regional Support Group commander. "This classroom serves as an appropriate memorial to Kevin for two reasons: First, this is where Kevin trained countless airmen to accomplish the unique and challenging engineering installation mission. The knowledge and skills taught here have had a tremendous impact on the way our nation supports the warfighter both in a combat zone and in the garrison, but more broadly this classroom is symbolic of Kevin's dedication to education and training."

Markel completed basic training in 1982 and served in a variety of assignments before he was assigned to the Lightning Force Academy, 193rd Regional Support Group, in 1996, where he served as a master instructor and lead instructor for Team Chief Academy and Quality Assurance which provides training for Team Chief Nominees and Quality Assurance assigned personnel in the engineering installations community.

"We study and attempt to learn from history and look to numerous events throughout history and look to fellow members of our military to use as examples and take lessons from and take inspiration from," Craig explained to the Markel family. "Your father is indeed one of those examples."

"We all go through life wondering if we made a difference," said Craig. "Sgt. Markel conducted some 150 classes and influenced close to 2,000 team chiefs in this very small but important community in the United States Air Force," said Maj. Gen. Craig.

"May this classroom serve as a fitting tribute and inspire all Airman that pass through its door with the enthusiasm and confidence that Kevin spent so many years instilling in future team chiefs and his fellow airmen," said Koudelka.

The ceremony ended with a shadow box being presented to the Markel family that chronicled Markel's career and a plaque being installed in the classroom honoring his legacy.