Air Force Academy cadet will be buried on Wednesday

Cadet First Class Cole Kilty, 22 - Source : Air Force Academy

Mary Shinn
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Cole Kilty, who died last week of a self-inflicted injury in Park County, will be buried Wednesday in his hometown of Elk Grove Village in suburban Chicago, according to his obituary.

Kilty, 22, was planning to graduate this spring and become a second lieutenant. The behavioral sciences and leadership major also expected to start undergraduate pilot training this year, a news release from the academy said.

He was remembered in an obituary published by the Chicago Tribune as a kind and compassionate man who excelled in school and sports, including football, baseball and skiing. He was survived by his father, an Air Force Academy graduate, and two brothers. He was preceded in death by his mom.

Among many online tributes, a friend, Laura Howey remembered him as a genuine and loving person.

“He put everyone else before himself,” she wrote.

When Kilty’s body was returned to the Chicago area, the Air Force held an arrival ceremony at O’Hare International Airport. On Wednesday, the funeral will feature full military honors, including the firing of rifles, playing of taps and the folding and presentation of the flag, spokesman Dean Miller said.

The school will also hold a closed on-campus taps vigil, a solemn evening ceremony for the 4,000 cadets, staff and faculty to memorialize Kilty.

A full report on the cadet’s death will be released in eight to 10 weeks, Park County Coroner David A. Kintz said in a release. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will also participate in the investigation, according to an academy news release. The cadet died in Park County, but a more precise location was not provided in news releases.

The coroner encouraged those in crisis to seek help from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or by texting VT to 741741.

This is the second death of a cadet at the academy this school year.

Air Force sophomore cadet Hunter Brown died in January of a blood clot in his lungs, the result of clotting that developed in his legs following an injury suffered in football practice.

The most recent death by suicide at the academy was in 2020. A second suicide the same year was later reclassified as an accidental death, Miller said.


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