914 ARW mourns the loss of a Defender

  • Published
  • By Peter Borys
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 914th Air Refueling Wing recently suffered a loss of one of its members. Tech. Sgt. Nicholas A. Vogler was assigned to the 914th Security Forces Squadron as an assistant flight sergeant based out of NFARS.  He died March 29, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas while on temporary duty training for a month-long Air Education and Training Command instructor course.

“Although there was no indication that Covid-19 had anything to do with his death, they did test for it as part of the investigation, and the results were negative,” said Maj. Kurt Schmitt, 914 SFS Operations Officer.  “We are still devastated by this loss and will help each other through these trying times.”

The Western N.Y. native, was two weeks into the month-long Basic Instructor Course (BIC) which would have certified him to formally train other 914 SFS members.  Personnel were shocked by this sudden loss.

“This is incredibly difficult for the 914th Air Refueling Wing family as we mourn the death of one of our own,” said 914th ARW commander Col. Mark Larson. “Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Tech. Sgt. Vogler.”

Maj. Schmitt added, “Tech. Sergeant Vogler was on track to be a key part of the future of the Security Forces Squadron. He was attending a course that would have made him one of our lead instructors and he was already a natural leader in the squadron. He will be missed by each and every member of the squadron.”

Master Sergeant Sean Chessman, the First Sergeant for the Security Forces Squadron echoed some of these sentiments.

“The loss of any unit member is always tough but this one, in particular, is really devastating because it was so unexpected. An extremely popular defender within the unit, he embodied the qualities expected out of wingman, leader, and warrior,” said Chessman.

Chessman recalled a special moment that demonstrated Vogler’s character. Just two days prior to his passing, Vogler called him to offer assistance to a new 914 SFS member who was having trouble adjusting to the Air Force. This Airman was also at JBSA-Lackland for training but in a different course.

“Instead of just focusing on his own training, he offered to counsel the Airman and help assuage their anxiety from being separated from family,” said Chessman.  “I was extremely grateful for his offer because you can only help so much over the phone. Together we helped that Airman out and it wouldn’t have been possible without Sergeant Vogler’s servant leader mindset and exceptional mentoring abilities.  Additionally, I had asked him how his BIC training was going and he proudly revealed it was going great and he had earned a 99% average. I could hear the excitement in his voice as he couldn’t wait to return to the unit and hit the ground running.”

Most recently the 914th Security Forces Squadron received an honorary graduation certificate and Instructor Badge for Vogler’s outstanding academics in the course. The squadron will be presenting it to the family.

Vogler served at NFARS for over a decade and deployed to Kuwait in 2016 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Due to the current nation-wide health crisis, funeral arrangements have yet to be determined.