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Family, friends hold memorial for 388th FW Airman

Airman stand on the flightline and salute an F-35

Members of the 388th Fighter Wing salute an F-35 as it returns from flying a flag in honor of Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel Aug. 19, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

A pilot hands off sealed American flags to Airmen.

Lt. Col. Aaron Cavazos, 34th Fighter Squadron commander, hands off American flags that were flown in honor of fallen Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel Aug 19, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

Uniformed personnel stand in from an American flag while a U.S. Air Force color guard details marches on a stage.

Members of the 388th Fighter Wing stand for the presentation of the colors at a memorial service for fallen Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel Aug 20, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner)

Shadowed personnel sit in front of an F-35A Lightning II at a memorial service.

Members of the 388th Fighter Wing attend a memorial ceremony for fallen Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel Aug 20, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner)

A table sits in front of an American flag with photos, a medal, and a wreath for a fallen Airman.

A memorial table stands presented at a memorial service for fallen Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel Aug 20, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A picture of uniform personnel wearing a modified unit patch to commemorate a fallen Airman.

A member of the 388th Fighter Wing wears a modified 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit patch to honor fallen Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel Aug 19, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, -- The family and friends of Airman 1st Class Joseph D. Blattel gathered here today to remember his life. Blattel died Sunday following an off-base motorcycle accident. The 19-year-old, from Las Vegas, Nev., was an F-35 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. He had been assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing since February.

On Wednesday, an F-35 flown by Lt. Col. Aaron Cavazos, 34th Fighter Squadron commander, and launched by his fellow maintainers and closest friends, carried flags that were later presented to his family.

“We were all deeply saddened this week over the loss of Airman Blattel. We paused a portion of our operations for a day this week to give our Airmen space to grieve. Our thoughts and prayers have been with Joseph’s family and his teammates in the 34th AMU,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander.