Freedom Wing mourns loss of beloved Chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ruben Rios & the 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing

This story contains quotes from a previous public affairs interview with Chief Master Sgt. Corinne Aimable.

Chief Master Sgt. Corinne Aimable was laid to rest at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery on July 18, 2023, after battling with cancer. Aimable, a 23-year veteran of the Air Force, served as the 514th Air Mobility Wing’s wing staff agency senior enlisted leader at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Hundreds of friends, family, and Airmen came to render a final salute during the chief’s funeral service.

“The line was out the door and down the street for about three hours,” said Senior Master Sgt. Rebekah Spedaliere, 459th Air Refueling Wing operations superintendent and close friend of Aimable. “She was my wingman, a warrior, a friend, and a devoted wife and mother. She was my military big sister who always had my back.”

Aimable was open about her cancer diagnosis, and like the true wingman, leader, and warrior she was, she fought her illness with courage and dignity.

In a previous interview about her journey, Aimable said it was on the Saturday night of the March Unit Training Assembly in 2022 that she felt something strange—a lump that had not been there previously.

“Believe it or not, my initial reaction was intrigue; I thought, ‘that’s odd.’”

Concerned, Aimable sought council from her wingmen.

“I ran it by my peers and was encouraged to look into it,” Aimable said. “By Monday morning, I began the process of getting a diagnostic mammogram.”

Following the check-up, the chief was diagnosed with breast cancer and quickly began treatment.

“Chemo makes you feel fatigued and it’s progressive,” Aimable said. “Depending on the drugs you’re given, your body hurts in different ways. But from the beginning, I knew there was a reason there were 3.8 million survivors in the United States. I knew it was just something I had to get through so I could move forward.”

The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and wingmen across the Air Force was extraordinary.

“You’d be surprised, I know I was!” Aimable recalled. “I was humbled and surprised by the amount of support I received unexpectedly when people heard my story. We’ve all seen the slogan, ‘no one fights alone.’ Those words are 100 percent true. Humbled and blessed is the only way to describe the unwavering and ceaseless support.”

One of her biggest champions was her loving husband, Michael.

“Although so many people offered to help, my husband wouldn’t let anyone else take me to my treatments,” Aimable said. “He was always there for me; it was really cool. He always did his thing. He had everything packed for us including an iPad and magazines and even snacks.”

Throughout the course of her treatment, Aimable never wavered in her commitment and dedication to her brothers and sisters in arms. Despite her own difficult circumstances, Aimable continued to prioritize the mission, as well as the morale, health and welfare of all 514 AMW members.

“Her presence was so noticeable and always brightened the feel of the office,” said Col. Erik Brine, Deputy Commander, 514th Air Mobility Wing. “Her positivity, sense of humor and smile made this a better place to work, not just for me, but for everyone. She was a trusted advisor who I knew, 100 percent, would give me her honest opinion and effective feedback.”

Never missing an opportunity to mentor and guide others, Aimable often referenced her own experience with cancer as a lesson.

“I think it’s important for everyone, male and female alike, to know their body,” Aimable said. “Knowing what normal feels like is important, so it is apparent when something out of the ordinary is happening with your body.”

Life can be unpredictable and unfair. Despite putting up a valiant and honorable fight, Chief Aimable succumbed to her illness on July 10, 2023. After her passing, the wing and the base community came together to celebrate her life and honor her legacy.

514th Air Mobility Wing Command Chief Leonard Werner served alongside Aimable for nearly her entire career. He was a long-time wingman, but more than that, he was a close family friend and confidant. Early in their careers, Aimable and Werner served on the Base Honor Guard together.

“We experienced everything from parades to funerals, so the American Flag was always something that truly bonded us,” Werner said. “The last time I saw her was at the hospital the Thursday before she passed. I pulled the flag off my OCP blouse and left it with her as symbol of our bond.” 

Given their history and friendship, Werner felt privileged to support Aimable’s family throughout the burial process. It was deeply important to him that they be able to see a representation of the lasting impact she has had on the Freedom Wing and on the Air Force as a whole.

“Being able to coordinate the military honors for her services, including a C-17 flyover, was a culmination of our bond and history together,” Werner said. “It was extremely poignant for me.”

Wing leadership was among the hundreds of Airmen who paid their respects as Chief Aimable was laid to rest.

“My uniform is probably wrong right now,” Brine joked as he spoke at her service. “She had a keen eye for details and always made sure my uniform was right.”

Although the Freedom Wing will forever miss Chief Aimable, we will heal, and her legacy will live on through all the lives she touched. There is comfort in hearing it in her own words:

“It’s ok to feel whatever emotions you’re feeling, especially if they are negative emotions. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be angry. But don’t stay there long. Feel what you’re feeling, then move forward, because you need to focus your energy on healing and getting healthy.” –Chief Master Sergeant Corinne Aimable

Chief Master Sgt. Corinne Aimable is survived by her husband Michael; three children, Christian, Giana, and Evalise; mother Wanda Chase and her husband Fred Chase; brother Raphael Rios; and countless family and friends.