Families, colleagues and officials have paid tribute to the four aircrew killed in last week’s helicopter crash during a memorial service at RAF Lakenheath.
Col Kyle Robinson, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, told the 2,000 people assembled this afternoon that they were there to pay tribute to ‘four of the finest airmen of our airforce and the best and brightest our great nation has to offer’.
Captains Christopher Stover and Sean Ruane, Technical Sergeant Dale Mathews and Staff Sergeant Afton Ponce were killed when their Pave Hawk HH-60G helicopter came down on Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes Nature Reserve at around 7pm on January 7.
Col Robinson said: “They were performing their assigned duties honing their craft and preparing for future operations, that others may live, but this time tragically they lost their own lives in the process.”
The crew of the 56th rescue squadron were on a low-level training mission when their helicopter crashed.
During the service prayers were said and awards presented to the families of the four aircrew before being pinned to memorial displays comprised of their field kit.
Colleagues shared their memories and paid tribute to their work, which those assembled heard had saved hundreds of lives.
As the service came to a close family and colleagues from the 56th rescue squadron and 48th Fighter Wing took a moment to address the display memorials and pay a personal tribute to the airmen.
See next week’s Bury Free Press for full report.