Atkinson, David A. (P3, C1, L4)
Technical Sergeant David Alec Atkinson 31, of Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, was fatally injured at approximately 8 p.m. Monday, 22 July 1991 during an airborne training exercise at Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Atkinson was performing a High Altitude, High Opening (HALO) equipment parachute jump from 12,500 feet on the Eglin AFB range complex. Atkinson was a member of the 123rd Tactical Airlift Wing Combat Control Team (CCT) of the Kentucky Air National Guard and was participating in military freefall training with members of the 1723rd Special Tactics Squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fl. He was the only combat controller in his unit with previous active duty CCT experience.
The job of a combat controller is to deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance in the joint arena. Combat Controllers are Battlefield Airmen assigned to special tactics squadrons. They are trained special operations forces and certified Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers.
The mission of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron includes the Special Operations Aircraft mission, the Pararescue mission and the Combat Weather Mission.
Atkinson is buried in the Good Shepherd Section of Beal Memorial Cemetery at Fort Walton Beach, Florida.