In the Line of DutyUSAF Officer Sarah Small ’02 Killed in Egypt

September 20, 2005

United States Air Force First Lieutenant Sarah Small ‘02, a public affairs officer, was killed in the line of duty September 19 in Egypt. She is the first alumna of the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership and Mary Baldwin to be killed in the line of duty while serving in the military.

Lt. Small was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, and she had been in the Middle East for about two weeks supporting Exercise Bright Star, a training exercise. She was traveling in the northern part of the country with two other servicemen and an Egyptian driver. Lt. Small was ejected from the vehicle when it swerved off the road, reports indicate.

Sarah Small in AF HelicopterBrig. Gen. N. Michael Bissell, VWIL commandant of cadets, talked late Monday with Small’s parents shortly after they received the news from military officials. “She was a master at listening to people and saying the right thing to make them feel better,” he said.

Sarah Small was an active student at Mary Baldwin. She served for four years on the Student Government Association and worked as the VWIL S-2 publicity officer. She earned a BA in political science and minors in communication and in leadership studies. As a writer at Langley Air Force Base, articles by Lt. Small were featured in many military publications and online news sources, including Air Combat Command News Service and The Communicator, published by the Air Force Personnel Center.

Her parents, William (Bill) and Gloria Small of Herndon, Virginia, are likewise active with Mary Baldwin. They both served on the Mary Baldwin Parents Council while she was a student, and Mr. Small was the president of the Parents Council. He continues to serve Mary Baldwin University through our Advisory Board of Visitors.

In a message to the college community, President Pamela Fox said, “Many on campus remember Sarah with great respect and fondness. This is a tremendous loss for our community. We are considering how best we can commemorate Sarah’s contributions to Mary Baldwin and her service to our country.”

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. October 7 at First Presbyterian Church in Staunton. The non-denominational service will include an eight-gun salute. Lt. Small will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at 9 a.m. December 2. Her family has requested that memorial contributions be sent to the college in their daughter’s name. Funds could be used to establish an award or scholarship for a VWIL senior who is involved in community service.

The Mary Baldwin community will be notified when more information is available. In the meantime, reporters may contact Crista Cabe, associate vice president for communication, marketing, and public affairs, at her office [(540) 887-7380 or] or after office hours via mobile phone [(540) 255-4677].

Visit our remembrances site to read other’s memories about Sarah Small.

Downloadable Photos of Sarah Small