Phyllis Pelky, 45, was killed in the line of duty in Kabul, Afghanistan in support of NATO-led Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Phyllis was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois on February 13, 1970 to Mr. and Mrs. George and Dale Berlin.

Prior to joining the United States Air Force, Phyllis graduated with distinction from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and taught German and Humanities at Rio Rancho High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. After 9/11, Phyllis wanted to serve her country as an Air Force officer and enrolled in the Officer Training School (OTS). She was commissioned as second lieutenant on June 25, 2004 and began her service in Force Support. Her commitment to help others led to her serving and leading the Equal Opportunity Office at Kadena Air Base. She subsequently pursued her Master’s degree at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, which led to a follow-on tour at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) as an assistant professor of German. Her integrity and service were noticed and admired by all and led to her selection as Aide-de-Camp to the Superintendent of USAFA.

Phyllis loved her career as an officer, which was only matched by her love for her family and friends.

She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Dave, and sons, Zach and Alex and his wife, Brandi, as well as her six siblings: Cathy, Meg, Mary Jo, Janet, Susan, and George.

For all who had the privilege of knowing Phyllis, she was an inspiration, a sacrificial leader always looking for opportunities to serve, and a moral compass by which we all could guide our lives. To her family, she was this and so much more—a nurturing mother, a patient and devoted friend, and a companion whose joy for life will always be remembered and honored.