Friends fondly recall Lakenheath airman killed on Illinois street
January 26, 2006
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — Friends of Airman 1st Class Asia Toney remembered the former member of the 48th Medical Group at a memorial service Wednesday at Lakenheath chapel as an approachable woman unafraid to speak her mind.
The 19-year-old mother of one was described as a small woman, sometimes called “little girl,” with an up-front personality who was quick to offer “put-you-in-your-place advice.”
Toney was killed on Dec. 24 near her parents’ home in a southern suburb of Chicago when she was struck by a van while crossing a street, according to local media reports. She was home on leave for the holidays at the time, according to local reports.
On Wednesday, more than 150 members of the Air Force community gathered to memorialize the former health services apprentice, who had served at RAF Lakenheath for just under a year when she passed away.
“Asia was such an amazing person,” said her friend Airman 1st Class Sheenica Giles. “The one thing about Asia is that she wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
Giles and another friend, Airman 1st Class Teresa Hastie, recounted several anecdotes from their friendship with Toney, recalling her fondness for cooking and no-nonsense attitude.
“I don’t feel like we have lost anything at all,” Giles said. “I feel like we have gained an angel.”
Others remembered the exuberance exhibited by a woman of such small stature.
Col. Matthew Wicklund, commander of the 48th Medical Operations Squadron, recalled that she packed “an enormous amount of energy into that very small frame.”
Also on hand for Wednesday’s memorial were Toney’s mother, Michelle Saunders, and Toney’s husband of just over a year, Airman 1st Class Aarion Toney Sr., flown back from a downrange deployment for the service. Toney also leaves a 5-month-old son, Aarion Toney Jr.