Lakenheath squadron leader touched by public sympathy after crash

A USAF Pave Hawk helicopter'Picture: USAF A1C Trevor T. McBride ANL-150801-114902001
A USAF Pave Hawk helicopter'Picture: USAF A1C Trevor T. McBride ANL-150801-114902001
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On the anniversary of the 2014 crash that killed four crew of an RAF Lakenheath rescue helicopter, the squadron commander has praised the ‘overwhelming support’ from the community.

The squadron, whose motto is ‘That Others May Live’, lost Capt Sean Ruane, Capt Christopher Stover, Tech Sgt Dale Mathews and Staff Sgt Afton Ponce after their Pave Hawk helicopter hit birds on January 7, 2014.

Speaking on the base’s website on Wednesday, Lt Col Jared Herbert, 56th Rescue Squadron’s commander, recalled the day tragedy struck over the north Norfolk coast, describing it as ‘a shock to the system’.

But he added: “It was an overwhelming and positive response from the community as they embraced the base and military members with an outpouring of support,

“Everything from greeting the military members and thanking them for their service and expressing condolences, to hundreds of hand-written letters of which I replied to.”

He said the close coordination with local authorities and the Ministry of Defence demonstrated the positive reassurance the 48th Fighter Wing receives from the UK.