SARASOTA COUNTY – Family and friends say goodbye to a Suncoast hero who laid down his own life for the sake of others.
People gathered and paid their respects to 28-year-old navy Lieutenant Steven Combs of Lakewood Ranch Friday at Sarasota National Cemetery.
The Herald-Tribune says Combs served as a navy fighter pilot and while flying near Japan, the engine failed only miles from the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan. It forced him to make an emergency water landing, resulting in a crash in the Philippines Sea.
Combs, along with two others died. His actions saved the lives of eight people on board.
People who knew him walked up to the podium to share their experiences they had with Combs. Combs’ sister, Elizabeth Combs, says her brother lifted people’s spirits up.
“He would walk into a room and his smile would just light up. And if you were having a bad you couldn’t at that point. Huge grin, bright green eyes that just sparkled and just his laughter it was infectious.”
— Justin Robicheau (@pjrobicheau) January 12, 2018
Steve’s coworker, Lieutenant Andrew Dumm, says navigating an airplane was something Combs always wanted to do.
“I think he wanted to fly. It was his dream, and he loved it. He loved what we did. There was never a time when he wouldn’t be up for an extra flight or to get it up there in the air and be up in the clouds. He loved it.”
The Herald-Tribune says the Navy is considering a posthumous award for Combs’ actions.