Whidbey News-Times


Aircrew remembered during Whidbey Island Naval Air Station ceremony

March 19, 2013 · Updated 4:17 PM

A memorial service took place Tuesday for Lt. Cmdr. Alan A. Patterson, Lt. Valerie Cappelaere Delaney (pictured with her husband, Sean) and Lt. j.g. William B. McIlvaine. They died when their plane crashed last week. / Photos courtesy of the U.S. Navy

A private memorial was held Tuesday at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station for the three people who were killed when an EA-6B Prowler crashed during training operations in Eastern Washington March 11.

Officials from NAS Whidbey released biographies and photos of the three crew members Tuesday.

Lt. Cmdr. Alan A. Patterson is survived by his wife, the former Denise Schabener of Warminster, Pa. and his two children.

Patterson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in French.

Following commissioning, Patterson reported to Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. for flight training. He completed primary and intermediate training with Training Squadron 4 and continued advanced strike training with Training Squadron 86.

Patterson was designated a naval flight officer in April 2002, and was selected for follow-on training in the EA-6B Prowler for VAQ-129 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. After completion of Fleet Replacement ECMO training, Patterson reported to the “Shadowhawks” of VAQ-141.  While aboard VAQ-141, Patterson was the first lieutenant, aircraft division officer and assistant operations officer.

In 2005 and 2006, Patterson deployed with VAQ-141 onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In August of 2006, he reported to VAQ-129 for his EA-6B Prowler Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor tour. During his instructor tour, Patterson was a carrier qualification ECMO, the crew resource management program coordinator, and NATOPS instructor in addition to EA-6B systems instructor, schedules officer, student control officer and fleet accessions officer.

In November of 2009, Patterson joined Carrier Air Wing 7 staff during workups for deployment operations. In January 2010, he deployed with Carrier Air Wing 7 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his tenure with the air wing, Patterson was the current operations officer and electronic warfare officer where he developed, coordinated, and oversaw the execution of operational tasking of the seven tenant squadrons.

In January of 2011, Patterson was selected to serve as flag secretary to Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8 where he managed the administrative responsibilities of more than twenty tenant commands in addition to duties directly for the commander.

Patterson then reported to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. where he earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic study.

In December of 2012 he once again checked into VAQ-129 for instructor duty in the EA-6B Prowler, serving as the operations officer.

Patterson achieved a highly successful flying career in the EA-6B Prowler community, with an impressive carrier and combat career in direct support of OIF/OEF ground units. His personal awards include the Strike/Flight Air Medal (4), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit awards.



Lt. Valerie Cappelaere Delaney was born Valerie Alice Cappelaere on May 14, 1986 in Rockville, Md. She was the second of three beautiful daughters born to Doreen and Patrice Cappelaere, each separated by two years in age.

The Cappelaere family made their home in Ellicott City, Md. in 1990 and Valerie attended public schools in Howard County, Md. She was always an enthusiastic and bright student and excelled in academics and athletics. She graduated from Centennial High School with high honors in 2002, having lettered in soccer and lacrosse.

Her goal through high school was to earn an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. After much hard work, she received a scholarship under the Naval Academy Foundation to Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Mass. While at the preparatory school, she excelled academically and athletically, earning an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, Class of 2009.

Valerie arrived at Annapolis as a member of 17th Company and immediately sought every opportunity to broaden her Naval Academy experience through a multitude of extracurricular activities. Pursuing her passions, she immediately got involved in lacrosse, the glee club and was selected to be a member of the women’s a capella group, the Stowaways. She was instrumental in Navy Women’s Lacrosse transitioning from a club program to an NCAA Division I competitive team. Her obvious love for the sport and her teammates resulted in lifelong friendships that continued after graduation. She was inspiration and mentor to many of her teammates to pursue aviation with her same fearlessness and determination.

Academically, Valerie continued to challenge herself and stood out among her peers as she excelled in all areas. She took on the daunting challenge of Aerospace Engineering, minoring in French as an honor to her father’s French heritage, while balancing the military curriculum in place at the Naval Academy. The most impressive aspect was how she was able to balance the academics, sports, extracurricular activities, visiting with her many friends, and managed to be in bed by 10 p.m. every night.

The summer between her freshman and sophomore years she met her future husband Sean while training in Australia. Sean was also part of the Class of 2009. They started dating the spring of 2007. The next fall semester, Valerie participated in the first-ever Naval Academy exchange program with the French Military Academy, Saint-Cyr. While there, she taught herself engineering classes required for the Naval Academy that were not offered in France, visited her French family whenever she could, and maintained a strong, long distance relationship with Sean.

Always competitive, Valerie ensured she bested her future husband by one point in the class ranking at the time of service selection. She was selected to be a Naval aviator, and pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. Upon graduation, she reported to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. for initial training. From there, she was assigned to VT-28 at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas where she flew the T-34C for primary flight training. Valerie was selected to continue her training at NAS Meridian, MS, flying the T-45 on the road to becoming a jet pilot. She earned her Wings of Gold in February of 2012, and was assigned to VAQ-129 of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, as one of the last EA-6B Prowler students to go through the pipeline. Sean was able to join her at every duty station along the way.

Sean and Valerie were married Feb. 18, 2012 at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Md., two days after Valerie received her wings and duty assignment.

Valerie will always be remembered as a person of great integrity, strong faith and an unyielding compassion for all those she met. She is survived by her husband Sean, parents Doreen and Patrice, and sisters Caroline and Allison.



Lt. j.g. William B. McIlvaine III was a true Renaissance man being equally at home with art, science and music, but his lifelong dream was to fly. The United States Naval Academy was his first and only choice to achieve his dream. McIlvaine was commissioned from the academy with merit in May 2010, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

In 2006, McIlvaine graduated from Deerfield Academy. There he served as a Proctor, a captain of the ski team and co-leader of the Mello-D’s, a men’s a cappella group. He was introduced to the bagpipes, an instrument that would frustrate and inspire him for the rest of his life. He played at most events at Deerfield including piping his class into their graduation. At graduation McIlvaine received the Music Prize, the Chemistry Prize and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, a fellow alumnus, awarded Will Deerfield’s inaugural Prize for International Studies.

McIlvaine shared his love of music through his involvement with the Pipes and Drums during all four years at Annapolis, the Protestant Choir during plebe summer and the Men’s Glee Club during his plebe year. He led the Pipes and Drums which toured the U.S.

Immediately after graduation from the Academy he was temporarily assigned duty at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I. where he was awarded the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal for excellence in leadership.

Although his eyesight kept him from being a pilot, McIlvaine was thrilled to serve as a naval flight officer, earning his wings at NAS Pensacola in May 2012. From there, he selected EA-6B Prowlers and joined VAQ-129 at NAS Whidbey Island in June 2012.

McIlvaine’s genuine kindness and true humility fostered respect and friendship in all who knew him. A loving son and brother, a faithful friend and a loyal comrade in arms, he is and shall be forever missed by his family and many friends. However, he would never ask us to mourn his death rather to celebrate his life.

He is survived by his parents William and Stephan, his siblings Julia McIlvaine, Elizabeth Hauptfuhrer, Jonathan Hauptfuhrer, his grandparents Mr. and Mrs, William B. McIlvaine of Chicago and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Fanning of Coatesville, PA. He also leaves behind Lt j.g. Kristen Keelor, who will always be part of our lives as she was central to his.

The family plans a personal memorial at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel at a date and time to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of  McIlvaine can be sent to the United States Naval Academy Foundation, 291 Wood Road, Beach Hall, Annapolis, MD 21402-1254.¬†Checks should be made payable to the U. S. Naval Academy Foundation and be noted ‚ÄúIn memory of LTJG William B. McIlvaine to the Class of 1961 Pipes and Drums Fund‚Äù in the memo line or on an accompanying note.¬†






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