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Birch Bay Public Market

Friday, May 10 through the end of summer, Cathy and I will be selling her hand-made soaps, lotions, and toiletries, along with my photography, note cards, calenders, books, etc.

Come see us!

Across the street from the C Shop

4825 Alderson Road, Birch Bay, Washington 98230


I had an automated blogroll here, powered by Google Reader, but Google, in its near-infinite lack of wisdom, killed Google Reader. Prior to this murder, all I had to do to put a blog on my blogroll (or to take it off) was to place it in a Reader folder called, appropriately enough, "blogroll" (or, of course, to remove it). I use The Old Reader now for following blogs, but it seems to have no way to something similar regarding the blogroll. If you know of a way to do this, please let me know.

Anne Maureen Rockeman “Rockie” Montgomery 1986–2011

It has been hard to sit on this since I first learned of it on Tuesday afternoon.

But now the names have been released, and now I can write this.

On Monday, 12 December 2011, a helicopter crash near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Olympia, Washington, claimed the lives of four United States Army aviators:

  • Captain Anne M. Montgomery, a native of North Dakota
  • Chief Warrant Officer Frank A. Buoniconti, a native of Colorado
  • Chief Warrant Officer Joseph S. Satterfield, a native of Alaska
  • Chief Warrant Officer Lucas Daniel Sigfrid, a native of Alabama.

Captain Anne Maureen Rockeman “Rocky” Montgomery was my daughter-in-law, married to my second son, Chief Warrant Officer Aaron “Monty” Montgomery. There is much I do not know about Rocky, as they had only been married since May of 2010, and they had spent that time in many, many places, serving the needs of the country. What I know about her is that she was the perfect other half of my son. She was what made him whole, in a way that so few people can truly enrich and be enriched by others. She lit his face in a way that I had never seen before.

Aaron "pinning" Rockie upon her graduation from US Army flight training.

Rocky leaves a family whose size and extent I still do not know in whole. I know her parents are missionaries in Kenya, and that she has at least one sister and one brother, and I will pray for them in this time of need.

Aaron, of course, personally knew all four of the people who were snatched away by this tragedy, knew their wives and families, and spent time with them as members of a close-knit and loving second family. I can only imagine what he’s going through now, and I pray that he will find the strength he needs.


PLEASE NOTE (added 12 Jan 2012):

Comments on this blog are turned off automatically when a post is 21 days old, and there seems to be no way to turn them on for one post, without turning them on for all old posts. (I tried that, actually — the spam began to bury me in hours.)

If you wish to add a note to Rocky’s “Memorial Wall,” email me, and I will make it happen.

50 comments to Anne Maureen Rockeman “Rocky” Montgomery 1986–2011

  • Bob Branom

    I’m a producer with KIRO-TV News in Seattle. I’m sorry for the loss of your daughter-in-law. You write a very moving memorial to her.

  • CJ

    I’m an Army helicopter pilot as well, and I agree wholeheartedly with Bob, very moving.

  • Debbonnaire Montgomery Kovacs

    I didn’t know Rockie, either, and have to admit I haven’t known my nephew, Aaron, as well in adulthood as I did when he was a child, but my prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident. I know what it is to lose a beloved mate, and you are never completely whole in the same way, but I can’t even imagine it happening at the beginning of life, like this. God bless you all.
    Aunt Debbie

  • Grace

    I was Anne’s roommate at west point F2 Go Zoo. We shared so many good and bad times together. She was such a beautiful, intelligent, and worldly woman.We will all miss her very much. I am so sorry for your loss. God Bless you and yours.

  • Jim, USMA 2010

    I am shocked by this. Ann and I lived next door to each other during our training detail the summer of 2008 at West Point. we worked out together every night. I cannot believe she is gone. I am so sorry for your son. I haven’t had a lot of contact with her for the last couple years but I know how excited she was to get married. God be with all of you right now.

  • Lisa, USMA 2009

    Anne and I were really good friends at West Point. She took me in and befriended me right off the bat when I was a freshman. Anne had an infectious personality and an amazing smile. One thing I will never forget about her is her unique sense of style. My prayers go out to her family and friends.

  • Thoughts and strength to you tonight, Levi, particularly Aaron, and all family and friends of Anne.

  • Just a quick note:

    I will be out of touch for fairly extensive periods during the next few days. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, and rest assured that I will approve each and every comment left by any actual person, but given the nature and the number of spam comments I am receiving, I cannot, in good conscience, turn moderation off at this time.

    Please feel free to quote this post, and to repost the picture, and yes, that includes the media.


  • Kim

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and for that of your son. I knew Anne in her Ethiopia days and knew her to be so full of life and fun. You are all in our prayers at this horrible time.

  • Lewis

    Anne was one of my best friends at West Point. I am so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful soul who brought joy to the people in her life. Those who knew her will have a whole in their hearts that can never be filled.

  • I’m so sorry.


  • James

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I knew Anne from my time both in the West Point Glee Club and in her class 100th Night Show. I appreciated ever so much her vitality – and the fervor of a fellow red head at war with the world. Bless you all in your time of need.

  • Annette

    Anne is my cousin. She was a vibrant young woman with a wonderful twinkle in her eye. She leaves behind her parents & 2 brothers who currently live in Kenya, Africa and a sister who attends college in Missouri. They are a wonderful family. I am blessed to have married into the Rockeman family. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Monty. Please let him know the Rockeman family at Donnybrook is praying for him and the families of the other three soldiers.

  • Teresa

    My heart breaks for you and all the families who lost their loved ones in this tragic accident. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Teresa

    I also wanted to share this poem with you that has brought me peace in great times of loss and times of need, I hope you find it does the same for you.
    For those who suffer,
    and those who cry this night,
    give them repose, Lord;
    a pause in their burdens.
    Let there be minutes
    where they experience peace,
    not of man
    but of angels.
    Love them, Lord,
    when others cannot.
    Hold them, Lord,
    when we fail with human arms.
    Hear their prayers
    and give them the ability to hear You back
    in whatever language they best understand.

    By Margaret Davidson

  • Thank you all for your comments, and please keep them coming. Make this Rockie-Anne’s page. I’m terribly sorry I do not have time for individual replies.


  • I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute, and your daughter-in-law seemed like an amazing and beautiful person. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  • Melissa

    Sir, I am an Army Wife of 20 years, and I just wanted to let you know how deeply sorry I am for your loss.

    Please know that many, many members of Anne’s Army family are thinking about you and your family right now.

    May you and your son find strength in the coming weeks, months and years to help you both find your way through this loss, and may God wrap his arms tightly around you and comfort you in your time of sorrow.

    Be Thou At Peace, Anne.

  • Trudy Johnson

    We are an Army family – West Point 1962 and 2007. Our deepest sympathy to your family, Anne’s family and most of all to Aaron. We will pray for all of you. May God give you strength.

  • Aaron Montgomery

    Thank you all for your comments, it is amazing how one person can touch so many lives. I know she will be missed by all of you, and by many more. She was a very vibrant, colorful, personality.

    Thanks you all.

  • I don’t know your daughter in law…but please know I prayed and still pray each and everynight our men and women come home safely to their families..this saddens me and my heart goes out to each and everyone of you..I will think of her in my prayers tonight and your family..Make sure you know your son is in my prayers religously…thinking of you all..God Bless You Always..R.I.P. Dear Anne.

  • bill prokopyk

    I met Anne when she was applying to West Point. I remember also, meeting her mom & brother. Even though I only spent a few hours with her & her family, I could easily see that they were great people. I remember that she wanted to fly & was very enthusiastic about serving her country. She is one in a million! May God Bless Anne & Monty. All us North Dakotans are praying for her, her husband & family.

  • Thank you all for your comments. I’m sorry I have been unable to respond separately, but we have been driving pretty much all evening. We have arrived at Aaron’s place, and will be here for a few days.

  • Kurt Rockeman

    I’m Anne’s father, and want to say thanks to all of you. Thanks to Levi, who I met at our children’s graduation from flight school last October, for the tribute. I am still unable to write one. What I will say is that her brothers and sisters simply adored her, and that she absolutely treasured them (and they knew it). Her big-hearted affection and generosity extended to our nieces and nephews as well, with innumerable examples over the years. She was the big sister every kid should have.

    • Kurt,

      Thank you. I’m sorry beyond any words.

    • Anne Dix

      I know Annie occupied a special place in her father’s heart and her family loved her very much and was enormously proud of her. Her sense of adventure and spirit touched many lives around the world from Africa to Central America. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. It is truly heartbreaking for this to someone so young and with so much to give.

  • Mike Jensen

    Dropped in to check to see what you had to say today and found your sad but incredibly well written memorial to your Daughter in law.
    My heart goes out to you, my friend. Please take care and god bless you and your family.

  • Carolyn Neumann

    I am Anne’s Aunt. I loved to refer to her as my spunky niece. I had the pleasure of having her and Monty stay overnight with us in Texas while they were moving to Fort Lewis. They were simply adorable together and certainly did compliment each other. Monty, we love you and grieve with you for your special “girl” and for the loss of you friends.

  • Mark Absher

    I don’t know that there are words that can express the hurt or the unfairness of what happened, but I take some comfort in the obvious impact that she has had on those who’ve known her. I feel honored to call Anne my cousin. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to meet her husband Aaron, I hope he knows that he is in all of our prayers.

  • Dian Welle


    I am deeply saddened to receive this news.

    I will be creating a eulogy page for CPT Montgomery this evening for WP-ORG. WP-ORG is an online community of West Point graduates and families. May I have permission to use the photograph provided in your story?

    Please accept our deepest condolences,
    Dian Welle

  • Dian Welle

    I will post the eulogy page here as soon as it is complete. I am waiting for her Academy Photo. With the holidays, I may not get that photo until everyone comes back to work. Thank you for the use of the photo. I did not want to post the page without a photo of her.

    With respect and sadness,
    Dian Welle

  • Dian Welle

    Sir, her eulogy page can be found here:

    Thank you for the photo.

    Dian Welle

  • Sir, I had the honor of knowing Captain Montgomery from her time at Ft.Benning and I can honestly tell you that the world feels this loss. I had never seen a frown on her face through the entire time I knew her, pretty much lit up the room when she walked in. We will miss anne.

  • Andrea

    I went to high school with Annie in Guatemala, she was full of life, so smart and always had a smile on her face, had an . Always sweet and optimistic. She will be missed, i still can´t believe it.

  • Joan

    I knew Anne for only a brief time when she stayed with me following a West Point Glee Club concert. She was a delight to meet. I wish I had known her better. I am sorry for your loss.

  • James

    I met Rockie at a party this summer and again at a party this past weekend that my friends Lucy and Liz threw at their house. We didn’t know each other very well but some close friends of mine had held long conversations with her and said she came off as a really amazing person. I wish we had gotten to know her better. I wish she could have attended our craft nights and beer outings. I can’t even imagine what you and her family must be going through. I don’t know you and I barely knew her but you all have my deepest sympathies.

  • Anne was in my graduating class in Guatemala and this news has me utterly speechless. She was a dear friend to me in high school. I never knew anyone like her, and never will. She had a wealth of experiences, a wild imagination, and was a fantastic writer. I remember when she got her appointment to West Point…If anyone I’ve ever known deserved it, it was her – She worked hard for it. I remember her for her beautiful smile, unique wit, her fearless determine, and her great courage. My condolences and prayers are with both the Rockemans and the Montgomerys.
    Angela´s last blog post: Thanksgivings Past

  • Alison

    Our family knew Annie and her family in Malawi and Mozambique. The whole family were so much fun to be with and we grieve with all of you. She was intelligent, fun and obviously went on to live life to the full…a real Rockeman characteristic. Our prayers are with you. May God comfort you all.

  • Melissa

    I am Anne’s cousin. I haven’t seen her in a few years because of her responsibilities with the military and also due to me being all over the country and out of the country for a good part of that time.

    Though it’s been a while since we were last together, I have a hard time believing that it will be much longer before I get to see her smiling face again.

    Thank you for writing this.

    She will be deeply missed.

  • I want to take one more opportunity to thank you all for your comments and memories. The internet, everyone is so fond of saying, is forever, and it is fitting that this small memorial to Rocky will be here for whatever it is that we mortals see as “forever”.

  • Chris

    My deepest sympathy for your loss. Its really hard to to accept it but life is going forward. Hoping the best of you.

  • I’m sorry for your loss, Levi, and for the loss so many others have experienced. It’s wonderful to see people expressing such fondness for her here. I hope your son finds peace in time.