Support pours in for airmen who died in plane crash
145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
CHARLOTTE — Community response has been unbelievable, both locally and nationally, to the deaths of four airmen and serious injury to two others when a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130 belonging to the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, based here, crashed Sunday while fighting a woodland fire in southwestern South Dakota.
Tributes received for the late Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal of Mooresville, Maj. Joseph M. McCormick of Belmont, Maj. Ryan S. David of Boone and Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon of Charlotte have been numerous and varied.
“We’re working hard to track all donations and calls wanting to help and assist,” according to Terry Henderson of the 145 AW’s Airmen & Family Readiness Center. Henderson continued, saying, “We’ve developed a ‘Resource Roster’ so that as we are informed of family needs or concerns we can respond quickly.
Henderson said donations have already been made to provide meals, keep up lawns, provide gift cards and memorial funds.
Information regarding donations or memorials is available through the 145th Airlift Wing, Airman & Family Readiness at 704-398-4949.
The crew and its aircraft, along with two other 145th C-130s and three dozen airmen, flew from Charlotte to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday to assist with fighting forest fires in the Rocky Mountain region. The crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time near Edgemont, S.D., as the crew assisted with battling what is being called the White Draw fire. The cause of the crash is unknown and under investigation.
MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the Forest Service.
According to Forest Service records, the agency has been working with the North Carolina Air National Guard on fire suppression missions since the early 1970s.
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