U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Tristen Burton, left, and Chong Hirthler, right, a longtime food-service worker.

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Tristen Burton, left, and Chong Hirthler, right, a longtime food-service worker. (U.S. Air Force Academy)

The U.S. Air Force Academy is mourning the loss of a 21-year-old cadet and a beloved, longtime food-service worker who died within hours of each other in separate incidents.

Cadet 2nd Class Tristen Burton of Granger, Texas, was killed in an off-base motorcycle crash Thursday, the academy announced Saturday on its Facebook page.

“Tristen was studying mechanical engineering and hoped to be a special warfare officer,” superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark said in the statement. “He will be remembered as a trusted peer and respected wingman, who excelled in the classroom and in the gym as an avid weightlifter.”

Colorado State Patrol said the crash happened on Highway 24 near Manitou Springs, according to a Saturday report by KRDO 13 News. “It appears Burton was taking a curve and ventured out of the lane, colliding with a guardrail,” it said.

A second rider stopped to help, but Burton died at the scene, FOX 21 reported Saturday.

Chong Hirthler, a 23-year member of the Mitchell Hall Cadet Dining Facility, was found dead in her parked car Wednesday, according to the same academy statement. A family member had contacted school officials after she failed to return home from work.

“She was well-known and loved across the 10th Air Base Wing, the Preparatory School, and throughout the Cadet Area,” Col. Dan Werner, 10th Air Base deputy commander, said in the statement. “Cadets, faculty and staff enjoyed her thoughtfulness and mentorship. She will be missed by everyone.”

Clark ordered academy flags at half-staff Friday, the statement said. Chaplains, mental health professionals and other support services were available to everyone over the weekend.

Colorado State Patrol continues to investigate the motorcycle accident, the statement said. In both incidents, official cause and manner of death will be determined by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends, and loved ones of both Cadet Burton and Mrs. Chong,” the academy’s statement said. “May you find blue skies and tailwinds as you rest forever in peace.”

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