Bridge dedicated to fallen airman Elizabeth Loncki

DOVER — Government and military leaders Friday gathered at Dover Air Force Base to dedicate the bridge over Del. 1, between Dover Air Force Base and base housing, to Elizabeth Loncki, the first Delaware woman killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This Sunday, Oct. 14, would be Senior Airman Loncki’s 35th birthday.

Senior Airman Loncki, 23, died on Jan. 7, 2007, after her explosive ordnance disposal team was targeted by a car bomber near Baghdad, Iraq. Loncki, a New Castle native, attended St. Peter the Apostle grade school and graduated from Padua Academy in Wilmington in 2001.

She briefly attended the University of Arizona before enlisting in the Air Force.

Gov. John Carney, Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan, Delaware’s congressional delegation, and military and veterans’ leaders attended the dedication.

“We are honored to share in dedicating the bridge, which most of us use on a daily basis, to the honor and memory of Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki,” said Colonel Joel Safranek, commander of the 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base.

Elizabeth Loncki

“She made the ultimate sacrifice for her country, and it is only fitting to have this memorial here at Dover where we return our fallen service members with dignity, honor and respect. I am grateful to be part of this and pleased to see the project come to completion.”

Delaware’s leaders echoed her service and sacrifice.

“Elizabeth Loncki was a brave young woman who sacrificed her life in service to her country, and DelDOT is grateful to have the opportunity to name this bridge in her honor,” said Secretary Cohan. “Elizabeth’s dedication to the greater good is something that we should all strive to emulate, and we hope that this bridge will serve as a lasting testimony to her values.”

“Today we are honoring Elizabeth Loncki—a Delaware hero who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving her country,” said Gov. Carney. “I am humbled by the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform who selflessly go into harm’s way to protect us here and abroad.

“We are proud of all those who have served, and for the many sacrifices made by our active duty and reserve members, our veterans, and their families, in order to preserve our freedoms.”

Sen. Carper, a 23-year veteran of the Navy, said, “I am honored to be a part of the naming of this bridge for Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“We owe our servicemen and women a debt of gratitude, and now the thousands of motorists who travel up and down Route 1 for work, school, and to reach their vacation destinations will have the important reminder that they are free to do all of those things because of the sacrifice of service members like Elizabeth Loncki.”

Staff Sgt. Johny Hargove, who proposed the idea for naming the bridge for Loncki, lauded the action.

“I can’t think of a better way to be reminded of her sacrifice than to see her name memorialized on this bridge. Thank you to all who made this possible. It gives me great privilege to be on the team that brought this to fruition.”

 

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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