N.C. Air Guard Identifies Airmen Killed in C-130 Crash
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 3, 2012 North Carolina Air National Guard officials today released the names of four crew members killed when their C-130 cargo plane equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire-Fighting System crashed July 1 as they fought South Dakota's White Draw Fire.
Two other crew members were seriously injured and remain hospitalized, and their names will not be released, officials said.
“Words can't express how much we feel the loss of these airmen,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan, commander of the 145th Airlift Wing. “Our prayers are with their families, as well as our injured brothers as they recover."
Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Mikael, Air Force Maj. Joseph McCormick, Air Force Maj. Ryan David, and Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon died in the crash.
An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the crash.
The crew and its aircraft, along with two other 145th Airlift Wing C-130s and three dozen airmen had flown from Charlotte, N.C., to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 30 to assist wildfire fighting efforts in the Rocky Mountain region.
At a news conference at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, today, where the 145th Airlift Wing is based, the North Carolina Air National Guard’s state public affairs officer said the wing’s two remaining MAFFS-equipped C-130 aircraft are scheduled to return home.
“The MAFFS operations are ongoing,” Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver said. “Our aircraft are scheduled to come back home. It’s a small community that does the MAFFS mission, a community within the Air Guard community, so these people all knew each other very well, and they’re going through a tough time.”
Carver praised the service of the fallen airmen and noted their names would be added to a memorial at the unit’s headquarters.
“Our people come here out of a sense of patriotism and out of a sense of wanting to be public servants,” Carver said. “They enjoy the excitement of doing this kind of work. They were [ready] to go on Saturday … when they left.”
“You can’t say enough about people who are willing to go in harm’s way when we need it as Americans,” he said.