Hill Air Force Base renames street in honor of fallen airman

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5 2012 6:59 a.m. MST

Lilia Solesbee, wife of Tech Sgt. Kristoffer M. Solesbee, unveils the street sign as 12th Street is renamed Solesbee Street at Hill Air Force Base on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. Tech Sgt. Solesbee, of Citrus Heights, Calif., was killed by an improvised explosive device May 26, 2011, in southern Afghanistan. At left are Solesbee's mother, Sandy Parker, and father, Larry Solesbee. At right is Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — His job was to clear bombs from the streets in Afghanistan. It’s a job he loved.

In May 2011, Tech Sgt. Kristoffer M. Solesbee was killed by an improvised explosive device. He was 32.

On Tuesday, 12th Street on Hill Air Force Base was renamed Solesbee Street during a ceremony to honor the fallen airman.

"He loved his work," said Larry Solesbee, Kristoffer's father and a retired airman. "He loved blowing things up and, of course, finding IEDs to protect other people."

Kristoffer Solesbee was assigned to Hill's 775th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

"Kris volunteered to go to the most dangerous area on the planet in southern Afghanistan, and he poured himself into his work," said Maj. Robert P. Baran Jr., Solesbee's flight commander. "You could tell he was dedicated with the way he prepared to deploy and ensured his teammates were also ready to go."

On May 26, 2011, Solesbee was one of two people killed by an IED.

"We lost a brother that day," Baran said, "and honoring him by naming a permanent, scenic drive on Hill AFB is an indelible way to ensure he is always with us and to remember the mark he left on us all."

Solesbee's mother, Sandy Parker, said her son loved life. He went skydiving and skiing. He enjoyed his family and loved his job. She called the renaming of the street a wonderful honor.

"A mother's biggest fear is that their children will be forgotten," Parker said. "And this is a way that the military community has shown us that they care and they'll remember."

Solesbee, from Citrus Heights, Calif., was in his 12th year of service in the Air Force, including two combat tours in Iraq and his current deployment to Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and second oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.

Solesbee was on his third war zone deployment, which included two deployments to Iraq, when he was killed.

Solesbee's father said the renaming of the street was a great honor for his son and for his family.

"It was good to learn that he was so well-respected," he said.

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