On behalf of all the men and women of the Department of Defense, I extend my
deepest sympathies to the families of those on board the Air Force C-21
aircraft which crashed last night in Alabama.
Next of kin notifications are continuing, so I am unable to mention all of
those killed in this tragic accident individually. They were dedicated public
servants and military officers, serving the United States Air Force and Army
with great distinction.
One of the passengers was Clark G. Fiester, Assistant Secretary of the Air
Force for Aquisition. Clark has been a colleague and friend for 38 years, when
I first hired him in private industry. When I became Deputy Secretary, I
recruited Clark to come out of personal retirement and return to public
service. His vast experience, working in and around defense industry and
government for four decades, helped us build a truly outstanding acquisition
team in the Department of Defense. We will miss him.
The Air Force has already appointed an investigation board to determine the
cause of this tragic accident. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are
with the families of all those lost during this time of grief.