The Oklahoma National Guard has announced the loss of a great leader and pilot due to natural causes.
Lt. Col. Eric Jauquet, of Claremore, Oklahoma, lost his life on March 20, at the age of 48. At the time of his passing, Jauquet served as the Commander of the 138th Operations Support Squadron for the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
Eric was born on October 31, 1972 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The proud son of an Air Force pilot, Eric grew up in Texas, Iowa and Idaho, where his father was stationed. He attended East High School in Sioux City, Iowa, where he was a championship winning wrestler and football player.
Jauquet enlisted in the Oklahoma Air National Guard in December 1994, as an F-16C/D Crew Chief with the 138th Maintenance Group.
In February of 1999, Jauquet was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. Nearly a year and a half later, in June 2000, he graduated from pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Texas.
Since completing F-16 Initial Qualification Training at Luke AFB, Arizona, in May 2001, Jauquet had accumulated more than 2,900 flight hours in the F-16.
He participated in multiple combat deployments to include Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve. During these deployments, Jauquet flew 125 combat missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the Gulf region.
“Lt. Col. Eric Jauquet, or “Smokin” as we called him, was a great friend, an outstanding fighter pilot, and a gifted story teller who will be deeply missed,” said Col. Michael Meason, commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th Fighter Wing. “Throughout his years of service to our state, nation as a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, the warrior heart of this seasoned combat veteran was evidenced by the way he lived and served with such passion, patriotism, strength and honor.”
Jauquet held his current position as commander of the 138th Operations Support Squadron since October, 2018, and planned on retiring in July after 26 years of service. Prior to his current assignment, Jauquet served as the 138th Fighter Wing Chief of Safety.
Jauquet held a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Tulsa and became a First Officer with American Airlines in July, 2014. He planned to continue his American Airlines career after his Air National Guard retirement.
Some of Jauquet’s hobbies included keeping up with his daughter Reagan’s many scholastic and cheer achievements. He enjoyed traveling with Melissa, Reagan and their extended family as well as boating with close friends at Grand Lake during the summer.
Jauquet’s awards and decorations included - Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, AF Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with device, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two devices, Iraq Campaign Medal with device, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border and seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Longevity Service with five devices, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass, 'M' Device with the numeral ‘3’, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon with oak leaf cluster, NATO Medal with two devices.
“Eric was among the very best F-16 pilots in the Air Force and used his flight skills, time and again, to keep American and allied forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan safe from enemy forces,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, adjutant general for Oklahoma. “His premature passing will leave a hole in the hearts of all who knew and loved him for many years to come.”
Jauquet is survived by his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Reagan, as well as his parents, Rebecca and David Jauquet, sister, Jennifer McQuet and mother-in-law, Sandra Walker.
Jauquet’s funeral will be at First Baptist Church of Claremore, Oklahoma, at 11:00 on Saturday, March 27, 2021.
NOTE: Jauquet’s death was NOT COVID-19 related.