ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Senior Airman Kcey Elena Ruiz, 21, died Oct. 2, 2015 when the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft she was on board crashed at Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan.
Ruiz, a Georgia native, was in Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel as a member of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. Ruiz’s home station at the time was Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.
Ruiz was a 2012 graduate of Dutchtown High School, located north of Hampton, Georgia, in Henry County.
“She's just the type of person who always did the right thing,” her father, Michael Ruiz, said. “She had a high level of integrity, and she was just good to people.”
Kcey Ruiz started her adult life in service of her country, expecting she would eventually serve people as a nurse.
Michael Ruiz said she joined the Air Force expecting to cross-train in health sciences, before pursuing a career in nursing when she got out of the military.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t get that opportunity,” her father said. “She was a giver. After she passed, the number of stories I got from all kinds of different people on how she talked with them and defended them was amazing.”
Her mother, Kyhia, said Kcey Ruiz was distinctively special.
“She was so uniquely special in so many ways,” said Kyhia. “She was an intelligent, beautiful, kind, witty, generous, thoughtful, and loving spirit that was a blessing to everyone she brought into her life.”
Kyhia added “ …when she was to be deployed to Afghanistan, she was so excited to be going over to serve our country. We would communicate often about how she felt so proud and privileged to be entrusted with such an important task.”
In honor and remembrance of Senior Airman Kcey Elena Ruiz, friends, family and local residents gathered Oct. 17, 2015 at the Veteran’s Wall of Honor in McDonough, Georgia, for a candlelight vigil, to share memories and to celebrate her life.