AW3 Daniel Richard Garber
Hometown: Perry, IA
AW1 Tim "Teach" Teichert:
Dan was a star wrestler and long distance runner at his high school in Perry, Iowa. A small town in the farm belt. Dan came to the Saberhawks of HSL-47 in 1997 and quickly established himself as a team member and friend to all. He brought unbelievable spirit and a unique brand of humor to "the shop". He was truly one of a kind. Dan's wit was matched only by his physical capabilities. He actually drew our shop closer together through group participation in numerous physical activities. He made coming to work fun. You never knew what was going to happen next.
Dan had a serious side too. A side that he kept to himself. Unknown to any of us until after his death, Dan had been sponsoring a child that has had leukemia for quite some time. He had been spending a great deal of his off duty time and effort consoling, motivating and simply being a friend to this child during a long battle with his terrible disease. Dan gained sponsorships and ran in marathons to raise money to help fight the child's disease. This is the sort of person that Dan was. Not looking for the spotlight. But feeling compelled to help others.
Dan's life was prematurely ended when Saberhawk 66 impacted a mountain top in the San Bernardino Mountains after experiencing icing conditions and declaring an emergency while on a routine cross country training mission from NAS North Island in the early afternoon of Friday, March 6th, 1998. We lost 5 fellow squadron members that day. One of whom was a great young AW, a wonderful person and an unforgettable friend.
Through the kindness and generosity of San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos, the entire HSL-47 AW shop, 18 in all, was able to fly out to Perry, Iowa to lend support to his family and be present at his wake and funeral. The shop had the honor of providing services as pallbearers and Honor Guard in remembrance of and in tribute to our fallen friend. Dan was laid to rest along with 18 sets of Aircrew Wings which were placed on top of the casket as each member of the shop paid their last respects at the grave site on that cold March day in Perry, Iowa.
Dan's memory is honored by a small memorial and photo in the HSL-47 AW shop. And by the stories told to new generations of AW's as they join the command. In addition, the annual National SAR Competition draws teams from all over the country to compete in a number of grueling events to test the stamina, determination and abilities of the best SAR crewmen this nation has to offer. The reward for finishing number 1 is earning an award that has been renamed to honor Dan Garber and is presented to the winners each year by his father, Mike.
Dan was an amazing individual and we miss him tremendously. To Dan and the other members of the Saberhawk 66 crew, "May you rest in peace. You are not forgotten."
Special Thanks to "Teach" for providing the memories and the additional pictures.