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Interpretive Site for N.C. National Guard MAFFS-7 Airmen to be Dedicated





South Dakota National Guard

Public Affairs Office

 

Phone: 605-737-6721 Email: ng.sd.sdarng.list.pao@mail.mil Web: https://sdguard.ngb.army.mil www.facebook.com/SouthDakotaNationalGuard www.flickr.com/SouthDakotaNationalGuard https://twitter.com/SD_Guard

 

June 13, 2013

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Interpretive site for N.C. National Guard MAFFS-7 Airmen to be dedicated

 

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A memorial ceremony will be held to dedicate an interpretive site to honor the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Modular Airborne Firefighting System 7 (MAFFS-7) crew that crashed July 1, 2012, while supporting the White Draw Fire.

 

The ceremony will be held July 1 at 10 a.m. (MDT) – one year from the date of the fatal crash – along Hwy 18, approximately seven miles north of Edgemont, near the point of origin of the fire. Four members of the six-person air crew died when strong winds out of a thunderstorm caused the air tanker to impact the ground on a ridge top northeast of Edgemont.

 

The MAFFS-7 C-130 aircraft that crashed was from the NCANG’s145th Airlift Wing based at Charlotte- Douglas International Airport. Killed were Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville; Maj. Joseph McCormick, 36, of Belmont; Maj. Ryan David, 35, of Boone; and Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon, 50, of Charlotte. Two survived but were seriously injured — Chief Master Sgt. Andy Huneycutt and Sgt. Josh Marlowe of Boiling Springs.

 

For the past few months, South Dakota National Guard and Black Hills National Forest officials have been working together to construct a parking area and make room for interpretive signs that will tell the story of the fire and the fatal accident.

 

“It is a distinct honor for the South Dakota National Guard to play a role in memorializing the dedicated Airmen from North Carolina who lost their lives and were injured performing that critical mission,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG. “The citizens of this state are forever indebted to those Airmen and their family members.”

 

Visitors to the interpretive site will be able to see the ridge where the aircraft crashed while dropping fire retardant on the White Draw Fire.

 

“The site will be a permanent location for the public to visit, pause, honor and reflect on the selfless service of the brave Airmen from North Carolina that fought the White Draw Fire,” said Craig Bobzien, Black Hills National Forest supervisor.

 

Because of the site’s small area, the dedication ceremony will by invitation only for approximately 100 invitees, which includes state government officials, members of the North Carolina and South Dakota National Guard, Black Hills National Forest officials, family members of the MAFFS-7 crew, and local government and community leaders, as well as members of the news media.

 

Planned speakers for the ceremony include Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, adjutant general of the NCNG, Craig Bobzien, and Michael Ortner, Fall River County Commission.

 

The site will be open for public viewing following the dedication ceremony.

 

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FOR THE MEDIA: All media are encouraged to cover the interpretive site dedication ceremony. To announce your intention to cover the event, please notify Maj. Anthony Deiss at (605) 737-6721 or cell (605) 431-8753, or e-mail ng.sd.sdarng.list.pao@mail.mil