Space Force Guardian Identified as Missing Hiker Who Died in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park
A view in Rocky Mountain National Park Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Grand Lake, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The remains of a hiker who went missing in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado were identified as a 23-year-old Space Force Guardian who was stationed at Schriever Space Force Base.

Space Force Sgt. Lucas Macaj was found Thursday on Mills Glacier, near the base of Lamb's Slide within the national park. He had been attempting to summit Longs Peak -- a 14,259-foot-tall mountain -- and was reported overdue on May 12, the National Park Service said in a news release.

"Initial investigations indicate he took a significant fall. Rocky Mountain National Park rangers completed an on-scene investigation, and recovery operations took place by helicopter," the parks service said. "His body was flown to a landing zone in Rocky Mountain National Park and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner's Office."

Read Next: Clarence Sasser, Vietnam Medic Awarded Medal of Honor for Treating Troops Under Fire, Dies at 76

Macaj was a space operator for the 8th Combat Training Squadron, part of Delta 8, stationed at Schriever. He transferred into the Space Force from the Marine Corps in August, Delta 8 said in a news release.

Schriever Space Force Base is located in Colorado Springs, roughly 160 miles away from Rocky Mountain National Park.

    "Space Delta 8 is a family, and we have lost one of our own," Col. David Pheasant, Space Delta 8 commander, said Friday. "I extend my deepest personal condolences to family, friends and teammates who will be grieving through their loss. We will make every effort to ensure those within our team grieving this loss have full access to the trained helping agencies available."

    Past accolades Macaj received included the Air and Space Longevity Award.

    Multiple local, park and state agencies were involved with locating Macaj's remains, including the Colorado Army National Guard, which assisted in air reconnaissance missions.

    There are three major Space Force bases located in Colorado: Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora outside of Denver and Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, as well as Schriever. Many Guardians get out into the surrounding national parks, trails and mountains to hike on their time off.

    In November 2022, off-duty U.S. Space Force Guardians assigned to Space Delta 6 helped put out a wildfire on the Manitou Springs Incline trail near Colorado Springs, the service said in a news release at the time.

    The group of Guardians contained the wildfire for an hour until firefighters could arrive on scene.

    Related: Colorado Officials Fight Military's Attempt to Move Air National Guard Members to US Space Force

    Story Continues