SUISUN CITY — Rickie T. Hazzard started a new chapter in his life Thursday by closing a chapter in his father’s life – ensuring that his father got the final military honors that the Air Force veteran did not get 25 years ago when he died.
“All we remember of him are childhood memories and the times that we had together are special to me,” Hazzard said. “We are having my wedding on his birthday in honor of him.”
Travis Honor Guard members Tech. Sgt. Sofia Ronquillio and Airman 1st Class Logan Allensworth respectfully folded and presented a flag to Annie Hazzard, Rickie L. Hazzard’s widow. Master Sgt. Nelson Almenzor played taps while members of the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery Honor Guard rendered a rifle salute.
“I am happy that this is finally happening,” Annie Hazzard said. “He deserves this and I am happy that the Air Force has consented to do this.”
Rickie L. Hazzard was serving in the Air Force as an airman 1st class at March Air Force Base in Southern California when he met and married Annie in 1972. Not long after they married, the elder Hazzard got out of the military with an honorable discharge as part of an early separation program.
After moving up to the Richmond area, Rickie L. Hazzard died in 1989 and was buried in Martinez.
The former Air Force service member didn’t get the military honors he was due at the time because the funeral home that handled his internment later said they never got a copy of his DD214, which was proof of his military service and required to have military honors conducted.
The matter of Rickie L. Hazzard’s final military honors came up again last year when son Rickie T. Hazzard decided to get married at the Fairfield-Suisun Christian Center in Suisun City on his father’s birthday, and wanted to honor his father.
“The kids always wondered why Dad didn’t get military honors,” said Annie Hazzard, who started researching what she could do to correct the situation.
She called the Travis Air Force Base Mortuary Affairs Office and “they told me that they would be happy to give my husband military honors,” Annie Hazzard said.
It was Rickie T. Hazzard’s wife’s idea to have a picture of his father at the wedding. He and the family readily agreed “because he had done a lot for us and we had lost him at such a young age,” Rickie T. Hazzard said.
The memorial took place just before the wedding vows. The family lighted candles and then displayed a photo of their father taken when he was still in the Air Force.
Annie Hazzard said she will look into getting her husband moved to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.