Air force captain's gift to U.A. student arrives after his death - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Air force pilot's gift to UA student arrives after his tragic death

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This undated photo released by the U.S. Air Force shows Air Force Captain Mark "Tyler" Voss, 27, from Boerne, Texas, who died on May 3, 2013, when his aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. This undated photo released by the U.S. Air Force shows Air Force Captain Mark "Tyler" Voss, 27, from Boerne, Texas, who died on May 3, 2013, when his aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
TUSCALOOSA - AL -

At just 27 years old, Captain Mark Voss had already gained rank and earned a bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Academy.

He was stationed in Kyrgyzstan, near Afghanistan, last Summer when he began taking an online engineering math class for a master's degree at the University of Alabama.

"He was part of a group of four students who were working over there taking the course at the same time." says Sarah Chamberlain, who was just a work-study student for Voss' professor... "I interacted with him via email throughout the whole course," she added.

Tragically, Captain Voss died in a military plane crash in May, but months prior to his death he had asked Chamberlain for an address so he could send a gift expressing his appreciation.

"I didn't know what it was sending. Nothing ever came. I just thought it would be small thank you card. And when it didn't come, I just didn't think anything of it. And then this summer we get the call."

That call was Voss's father, who had found a packaged battle flag with a letter his son had written Sarah before becoming lost in the mail. 

Voss's father made sure Sarah got the flag his late son desired for her to have.

Administrators have been touched by the two's interaction.

"I think the reason is captain Voss was touched by the way professor Jones and Sarah interacted with him. They bent over back backwards to accommodate his schedule. With him being in military its not always easy to do your homework," said John Baker, current head of the U.A. Dept. of Engineering

Now, Sarah won't let go of what could be symbolic of Captain Voss' last mission-accomplished.

"It definitely adds a greater meaning to it that they took the time to say this is the flag that we want to fly this on our mission and send it to this random person in Alabama. It just means so much to me."

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