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Air Force Senior Airman Michael J. Hinkle II

Died March 16, 2011 Serving During Operation New Dawn

24, of Corona, Calif., assigned to the 28th Communications Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.; died March 16 due to a non-combat incident at Ali al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

Ellsworth colleagues remember fallen airman

The Associated Press

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A memorial service has been held at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota for an airman who died in a non-combat incident in Southwest Asia.

Senior Airman Michael Hinkle II, 24, of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing died March 16 after being found unresponsive in his barracks room. His father told the Rapid City Journal that the family is awaiting the results of the military investigation into the cause of death.

Hinkle grew up in California and Michigan. He joined the Air Force in December 2005 and had been stationed at Ellsworth since November 2008. Those who gathered for the March 30 memorial service described him as a computer expert with an outgoing personality and a desire to see the world.

Hinkle was buried in Michigan earlier this week.

Father of fallen airman recalls son’s adaptability

The Associated Press

Michael J. Hinkle could find a niche for himself wherever he went, including the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he was stationed with the Air Force.

After three years in the military, he re-enlisted in 2008 and was sent to Ellsworth Air Force Base.

He was far from his Southern California home, and he took to hunting and shooting with friends and going on camping trips. He told his family he loved the area.

“Wherever Mike was, he did what the natives did,” his father told the Rapid City Journal.

Hinkle, 24, died March 16. Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base say he was found unresponsive in his barracks room in Southwest Asia and rushed to a medical center.

He did computer work, setting up secure networks for the military.

“He was trained for the Air Force by tinkering with my and his mom’s computers,” said his father, Michael Hinkle. “He could do a little of everything.”

The Rapid City Journal reported that Hinkle, who has a brother and five stepsiblings, grew up in Corona, Calif., with his father and stepmother, Cynna Hinkle.

He spent summers and vacations in Michigan with his mother and stepfather, Teena and Robert Jakowinicz.

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