Honoring Gold Star Families: Capt. Nicholas Schade Whitlock

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  • Robins Public Affairs

Capt. Nicholas Schade Whitlock, 29, died Feb. 18, 2012, while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Africa. Whitlock and three comrades died in an accident near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. He was serving on his fifth deployment, and the accident occurred while the aircraft was returning from a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

He was born Dec. 10, 1982, in Newnan, Georgia. He graduated from Newnan High School in 2001 as an honor graduate. He was a recognized athlete in football and baseball.

He attended Mercer University and earned a bachelor’s degree, then later earned his master’s from the University of Florida.

He earned his private pilot’s license and was accepted into the Air Force in 2006. After graduating from pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, he was stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida, as a member of the 34th Special Operations Squadron flying the U-28A Draco aircraft. He was promoted to the rank of captain in November 2010.

While growing up in Georgia, Whitlock was an Eagle Scout and was active with Alaska’s Healing Hearts, a non-profit organization that enables disabled military veterans to participate in outdoor adventures.

He married Ashley Oddi Nov. 20, 2010, in Jacksonville, Florida.   

“Nick knew a career in the Air Force would be both challenging and rewarding, but he was not deterred by the challenges and only worked harder in the face of obstacles,” Ashley said. “A skilled and respected pilot, Nick believed deeply in the missions he was a part of and studied constantly so that he could be the best pilot possible.”

“Nicholas was a man of integrity who always put others before himself,” said his mother, Clare Whitlock.

“Nick was mature beyond his years, remarkable, and absolutely determined to succeed,” said his father, Jimmy Whitlock. “Everything he tackled he did with excellence, and he gave all he had from the talent he was given.

“If you personally knew Nick, then you knew his heart, his character, his determination and the many reasons to celebrate his life,” his father said. “He made a difference in this world. There is no finer son that a man could have.”