Robins reserve unit recalls life of wingman, friend

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
The 622nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron is celebrating the life of one of their own, Lt. Col. Glade Felix, who died of apparent natural causes while deployed to Southwest Asia June 11.

Members of the 622nd ASTS, a reserve unit located at Robins, where he served for the last 15 years were shocked to hear their fellow Airman and friend had passed away.

"It was really, really unexpected. It wasn't so much that it happened to someone you knew, but who it happened to," said Maj. Terri Millwood, the 622nd ASTS unit administrator. "Someone so full of life and in such good shape we kind of thought he was invincible."

Members of the 622nd ASTS, which is part of the 22nd Air Force, agreed Colonel Felix could put a smile on the face of everyone he encountered.

"You couldn't be around him and not enjoy life," said Diane Darden, a retired major, who served with Colonel Felix in the 622nd ASTS.

Along with his joyful outlook on life, members of the unit said he was a great motivator.

"It was just his attitude and his passion for doing things. He made you want to do things, whether it was an order or just something you needed to do," said Senior Master Sgt. George Graham, the first sergeant of the 622nd ASTS.

Sergeant Graham added, Colonel Felix epitomized the term awesome and anytime someone hears that word from his unit they'll think of Colonel Felix. "There is going to be a big hole in our unit for a very long time," Major Millwood said.

Other members of the 622nd ASTS agreed he was a gung ho Airman and always willing to go the extra mile for those he served beside.

"He always tried to lighten the atmosphere and help others feel good about what they were doing," said Lt. Col. Ricky Stewart, commander of the 622nd ASTS. "He was a true asset, a leader. He would bring fun and smiles to everything he did."

His leadership abilities were evident in all that he did and Colonel Felix even served as interim commander of the 622nd ASTS, during his time with the squadron.

"He was handpicked for that and he provided excellent leadership during that time," Colonel Stewart said.

Though, Colonel Felix was described by those who served with him as "witty and unpredictable" there was one thing he took very seriously -- his unit's physical fitness program.

"It was like having a personal trainer in your unit," Major Millwood said.

Major Millwood credits Colonel Felix with helping her get back into shape after she injured her back during her last pregnancy.

It was his leadership in the physical training program that helped the unit attain the highest fitness compliance level of any medical unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

"He always gave us total support and encouraged us to get involved in different sports. I played my first soccer game ever with Colonel Felix," Major Millwood said.

His love of fitness and sports was evident both when in his military service and at home in Lake Park, Ga.

He was instrumental in starting the Lowndes County soccer league, Major Millwood said.

A father of a blended family, together he and wife had six children.

"They were kind of like the Brady Bunch," Major Millwood added.

He was also involved in the Church of Latter-day Saints and a Boy Scout leader in his community.

When Colonel Felix passed away he was deployed on his second deployment in the past 18 months.

The first deployment was to Afghanistan where he was responsible for the physical training and rehabilitation of troops and of Taliban prisoners.

During his second deployment to Southwest Asia, Colonel Felix provided rehabilitation services to the members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group.

"He was promoted to lieutenant colonel and he didn't have to deploy," Ms. Darden said.

She added once he saw an opening posted he immediately volunteered to serve.

"He just cared so much about his fellow troops and caring for those who were injured," Ms. Darden added.

Sergeant Graham said one of the most impressive things about Colonel Felix was his ability to level the playing field when it came to patient care.

"He treated everybody the same whether you were a pauper or a king," said Sergeant Graham. "He gave the same status of care no matter who you were."

Memorial Service
According to members of the 622nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron a special memorial service is planned for Lt. Col. Glade Felix at Robins. The service to remember their fellow unit member and friend will take place when all of the unit returns to Robins for their monthly drill weekend committment.