More than 1,000 people gathered at Aviano Air Base for a memorial service for Maj. Lucas Gruenther, an Air Force pilot from Twain Harte whose plan crashed into the Adriatic Sea last week during a nighttime training flight Jan. 28.
Gruenther, 32, leaves behind a wife, Cassy, who is due to give birth to their first child, a girl to be named Serene, in a couple of weeks.
"He lived a live full of adventure and full of love," his wife said, according to a military news release. "If he were here, he would challenge each and every one of you to go climb that mountain you've been waiting to climb, he would tell you to plan that trip you haven't planned, he would tell you to call that friend you've been thinking about, and he would tell you to be sure to tell your loved ones you love them every day."
Gruenther was posthumously promoted from captain to major; his insignia was given to his family Wednesday, along with medals for his service.
Video from the memorial for Lucas Gruenther.