Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, an Air Force weapons loader known to her comrades as "the mom of the flight line," died Wednesday, March 22, during noncombat operations in the Middle East, the U.S. Defense Department reported.
Staff Sgt. Morrow was loading or unloading a bomb near a jet when the device slipped off its track, hitting her on the head. The Air Force is investigating the incident.
A seven-year veteran and the mother of two young daughters, she had been deployed for five months to Jordan with the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron, although she was assigned to the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
She has family in West Chester, where she will be buried on Saturday, April 8, following a funeral with full military honors. Her husband, Brandon J., is a native of western Chester County.
During a March 23 memorial service in Jordan, "Mother Alex," as she was called, was eulogized as someone not only proficient but passionate about her job. When the leader of the U.S. General Command came to tour the weapons loading operation, she was chosen to brief him.
Her love for her comrades was limitless, wrote Capt. Wesley Sheppard, expeditionary aircraft maintenance unit officer in charge, on an Air Forces Command website. "We can see how much she loved others by the emotions, the looks on everyone's faces, as we processed that we lost the mom of the flight line," he said during the overseas service.
Born in Geneva, N.Y., and raised in upstate Dansville, she was the daughter of Stephanie Gleason. She graduated from Dansville Senior High School in 2009. Later that summer, she enlisted in the Air Force and completed basic training and Aircraft Armament Technical School.
She reported to her first duty station at Mountain Home on June 4, 2010, with a cheery, "Hi, I'm Airman Gleason, what do I need to do?" Master Sgt. Jeffrey Passut, a 332nd weapons crew chief, said on the Air Force website.
She progressed to the position of weapons load crew chief for the 389th "Thunderbolts" Aircraft Maintenance Unit of the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the Idaho air base. "She was our first pick to lead that team," Passut was quoted as saying.
In 2012, she married Morrow. The couple had two daughters, Elysa Mae, 4 and Abigail Shae, 2, and settled in Mountain Home. The family enjoyed the outdoors and often went bike riding, off-roading, camping, and hiking.
Staff Sgt. Morrow also had a flair for home decorating, her family said. She had hoped to pursue a career as a dental hygienist following her military service.
In addition to her husband, daughters and mother, she is survived by three siblings; grandparents Ken and Deborah Herrmann; four nieces; and two nephews.
The visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 10 W. Pleasant Grove Rd., West Chester, will be followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service at the church. Interment will be private.