David Hoffman was born Dec. 2, 1951, in San Angelo, Texas, and died Dec. 29, 2016, in College Station, Texas. His parents were Garlyn O. Hoffman and Mary Jo Webb Hoffman, who predeceased him. He grew up in College Station where his family moved in 1953, and he attended local schools, graduating from A&M Consolidated in 1970. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, graduating in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics. David completed the four-year ROTC program as a distinguished military graduate and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduation. He completed undergraduate helicopter pilot training as an honor graduate in 1975, at Fort Rucker, Alabama, David's first operational assignment was flying HH-3E rescue helicopters from 1976 to 1977 with Detachment 14, 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing, Keflavik Airport, Iceland. He was reassigned to the 71st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, where he continued to fly HH-3Es. In 1981, he separated from active duty and immediately joined the Alaska Army National Guard and served as aviation facility commander at the Bethel and Nome bases, flying UH-1H helicopters and UV-18 Twin Otters. In 1988, he transferred to Fort Richardson in Anchorage, where he was the supervisory flight instructor and aviation battalion executive officer. In 1989, he transferred to the 210th Air Rescue Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard at Kulis Air National Guard Base in Anchorage. He served as helicopter flight commander, HH-60G initial cadre instructor pilot, standardization/evaluation pilot, and Detachment 1 commander, and flew in the 210th's first rescue of an F-16 pilot in Alaska. David had more than 5,000 military and civilian flying hours and more than 50 lives saved to his credit. In 1991, he flew on the farthest-north rescue by an Air Force helicopter, feser than 400 nautical miles from the North Pole, where a Canadian C-130 had crashed. Flying night and day for more than three days, David's ability to persevere under the worst conditions resulted in saving 13 lives while managing to return all rescuers and assets unharmed; this mission earned him the Air Medal. In 1993, he flew in the first air exercise with the Russian Air Force since World War II, at Tiksi, Siberia, flying with such precision during an aerial refueling that Russian Gen. Kalugin was convinced an automated mechanism had performed the feat. When it was proved that David had, in fact, piloted the helicopter, the Russian general presented him with a medal for "superior airmanship." On March 11, 2013, Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska recognized David with a speech that was recorded in the Congressional Record of the 113th Congress, honoring him and thanking him for "his service to this country, to Alaska, and to so many who are lucky enough to know him." After retirement from the military in 2000, David lived on his property at Two Rivers near Fairbanks. He enjoyed the outdoor life, particularly hunting, fishing and indulging in his lifelong love of dogs. He always was respected by his colleagues in the military, and maintained friendships with many of those with whom he had served. In February 2013, because of his declining health, David moved from Fairbanks to College Station to be closer to his family. He is survived by his brother, Joe Jaros, and wife Carolyn, of College Station; his nephew, Michael Jaros, and wife Claudia Paraschiv, of Salem, Massachusetts; his aunts, Earlene Webb Anderson, of Houston; Juana Dea Hoffman and Lyvonda Hoffman Mebane, of San Marcos; and his uncle, Valton Hoffman, of Ballinger. In addition, he leaves behind his cousins, Carol Anderson Gregg, James Anderson, Wallace Mebane Jr., Mark Hoffman and Scharla Hoffman Chatterton. He also is survived by his former wife, Charleen Boberick, of Fairbanks; his dear friend, Vi Capell, of Fairbanks; his lifelong friend, Jack Madeley, of College Station; as well as many other friends and former flying comrades. The family expresses deep appreciation to the staff at Hudson Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center and to Hospice Brazos Valley for their care and love of David during his final years. David's funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Bryan, Texas, followed by a reception at the church. His ashes will be placed with his parents' remains in a private interment service at the College Station City Cemetery. The family asks that donations in David's memory be made to Hospice Brazos Valley, the Aggieland Humane Society, Wounded Warriors, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church or a charity of their choice.
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