Sailors honor shipmate killed in Rota car crash
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Sailors in Rota on Friday honored a shipmate killed in a traffic accident this past weekend as an outstanding sailor, a top-notch technician and a loyal friend.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Sporleder deployed on a 10-month sea cruise participating in both the war on terror and the war in Iraq in 2002 before arriving in Rota last summer. He was attached to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Unit Rota and served as the Support Equipment Division standardization manager and the unit central technical publications librarian.
He was 25.
“Personally and professionally, he was one of the best,” said Lt. Rex Burkett, the unit’s officer in charge.
Sporleder, an aviation maintenance administration man from Climax Springs, Mo., died June 19 when the car he was driving ran off the road and rolled. Spanish authorities are investigating the incident.
His passenger, Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Hays, of Vancouver, Wash., survived the accident. He attended the memorial service at the base chapel with a neck brace.
Petty Officer 1st Class Danny Blumer and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Marx talked about how Sporleder was a loyal friend.
“He will be missed greatly,” Marx said.
A table near the chapel’s altar displayed his uniform and a framed photograph of Sporleder. Two large wreaths were set on each side of the table.
Sporleder joined the Navy in 1999 and quickly climbed up the ranks to first-class petty officer. Burkett said Sporleder was one of the finest technicians he has ever worked with in his career.
“Although we will carry on, we will never be the same,” he added.
After the ceremony, sailors escorted his flag-draped coffin to a waiting airplane. Sporleder will be buried in the United States. He is survived by his parents, Howard and Carolyn Sporleder.