Capt. Mark Voss' Gold Star Family Never Forgets
by U.S. Air Force Rachel Kersey, 502nd
Air Base Wing PA
October 23, 2020
The Gold Star is known as the military honor no one wants. It
commemorates the tragic death of a military member who has perished
while engaged in combat against a hostile enemy.
May 3, 2013, Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss (left) perished in a plane crash near
Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, while on his sixth deployment, making his
family a Gold Star Family who will be honored, along with many other
families, annually on the last Sunday of September.
“Marcy” Voss, Capt. Voss’ mother, celebrated his service and honored
his sacrifice with seven other local families at an event hosted in
a veteran-owned restaurant in Kerrville, Texas, the city she lives
in. Though it has been seven years since her son died, she still
finds ways to honor his memory and share his story.
Born on December 16, 1985, Tyler attended kindergarten in La
Grange, Texas, before moving to Kerrville, where he completed first
through eighth grades. When the family moved to Boerne, he attended
Boerne High School. He knew exactly where he was going to go after
“Tyler developed a love of flying at an early age,” Marcy
said. “As a young child, he often rode in the back seat of a small
airplane with his dad.
“When Dick Peck, a close family
friend and former Air Force F-100 pilot, asked Tyler what he wanted
to do when he grew up, Tyler said he wanted to fly,” she said,
adding that Peck said Tyler should go to the Air Force Academy. And
Tyler decided, while in elementary school, that was what he would
In preparation for the academy, he took advanced classes
in high school, participated in the Junior Reserve Officers'
Training Corps and earned his private pilot’s license. When he
graduated from high school in 2004, he had earned an appointment to
attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and
he graduated in 2008.
Tyler’s first duty station was
Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. He was promoted to
captain May 28, 2012, and became an aircraft commander March 14,
2013. According to his mother, he was referred to as “a pilot’s
pilot” for his success in the field.
Voss was all set for a
promising career when tragedy struck. His plane went down while on a
“He and his Shell 77 crew, co-pilot, Capt. Victoria
Pickney, and boom operator, Tech. Sgt. Herman Mackey III, were on a
refueling mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in
Afghanistan,” his mother said. “He was 27 at the time of his death
and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 60.”
U.S. Air Force Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss
in an aircraft at an undisclosed location and time period.
He perished in a plane crash near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, while on his sixth deployment. (Photo courtesy of Mark
Family, friends and the community in Boerne surrounded the Voss
family with love after Tyler’s death, Marcy said. The family
attended memorials there, in Spokane and at the Air Force Academy.
“Though Tyler lived a short life, he lived a full life,
following his passions and his dreams,” his mother said. “Capt. Voss
received numerous flight commendations while serving God, country,
and his fellow servicemen.”
“He loved life and made sure
everybody around him was loving life, too,” said friend and
classmate Capt. Zach Valdez. “Tyler was probably able to pack more
in his 27 years of life than most people do in a lifetime.”
With his death, Voss left behind his mother, who is vice president
of the Alamo Area Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers, and his
father, Wayne, an associate member of the organization, as well as
two siblings, Morgan and Forrest, both of whom serve in the Air
U.S. Air Force Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss, far right, with his family for Christmas
December 2012. On May 3, 2013, Voss perished in a plane crash near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, while on his sixth deployment, making his family a Gold Star Family who will be honored, along with many other families, annually on the last Sunday of September. (Photo courtesy of Mark
The entire family is in the Air Force Families
Forever program as a Gold Star Family.
According to Jennifer
Wagoner-Gates, AFFF is the Air Force’s long-term support program for
next of kin of deceased active-duty Air Force and Reserve Component
Airmen who died in an active duty, inactive duty for training, or
annual training status.
“The Military & Family Readiness
Center interacts with Gold Star and surviving family members through
the Air Force Families Forever program, which provides long-term
support for survivors by engaging with them at specific times during
the first 24 months following an Airman’s death,” Wagoner-Gates
“After the first 24 months, quarterly engagement
continues indefinitely via in-person, telephone, email or mail,” she
said. “AFFF supports survivors with information and referrals,
remembrances and connections, and installation access.”
Tyler’s mother said his legacy continues in the Boerne community in
A plaque honors him in the Boerne Veteran's
Plaza, the American Legion Capt. Mark Tyler Voss Post 313 was
chartered in Boerne in January 2019, and Boerne Independent School
District opened the Capt. Mark Tyler Voss Middle School in August of
the same year.
“We proudly wear our Gold Star pins and have
a Gold Star banner in our window,” Marcy said. “We have recently
purchased a flag pole to post a Gold Star flag.”
of her son also goes wherever she does by way of a gold star license
plate on her vehicle which reads, “SHL 77” in honor of his plane.
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