airman dies in crash

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a 20-year-old airman who died following a collision with a car driven by a fellow serviceman.

Airman 1st Class Tyler Patton was a pedestrian outside the main gate to RAF Mildenhall, on the A1101, on Monday night, when he was involved in a collision with a blue Rover.

Airman Patton, who was a security forces apprentice with the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The vehicle involved in the incident was driven by an airman from the 352nd Special Operations Group at RAF Mildenhall.

A section of the road was closed for about five hours for forensic enquiries and Suffolk Police is investigating the cause of the accident, which was shortly before 11pm.

Tributes have poured in for Airman Patton, who had been based at Lakenheath since last spring and served in Afghanistan.

In a message on the base’s website, Thomas J Patton said: “Airman Son Brother My life has forever been changed. Until I again hold you in my arms Rest in peace my son. Love Dad.”

On the Bury Free Press website, a friend said: “We grew up in the same hometown and went from boot camp to tech school to being stationed in Europe and England together. He inspires me to be a better person and was always there for me.

“A man of true humility and honor. Will never be forgotten. RIP.”

In a statement from RAF Lakenheath, Col William Lewis, 48th Fighter Wing vice- commander, said: “Tyler was a combat veteran, a true patriot and a friend to all. He will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.”

He also thanked Liberty Wing, which has offered comfort and support to the Patton family and the 48th Security Forces Squadron.

Col Lewis added: “It is heartwarming to see the selfless response of airmen across the wing whenever we have a family in need.”

Airman Patton joined the airforce in November 2009 and attended basic military and technical school training at Lackland Airforce Base, Texas.

Witnesses should contact Suffolk Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Team on 01473 613500.