July 10, 2012 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The U.S. Departments of the Interior and Agriculture is honoring the four North Carolina-based MAFFS 7 crewmembers killed during wildfire fighting operations July 1 by flying flags at half-staff today at all DoI and DoA locations, including all national parks and national forests.
Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal , Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, Maj. Ryan S. David and Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon, all from the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, N.C., were killed when their Mobile Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 crashed July 1 while battling the White Draw Fire in South Dakota. Two other crewmembers survived the crash and remain hospitalized.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
In honor of their sacrifice, DoI and DoA have ordered their agencies, including the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, to fly their U.S. and department flags at half-staff.
“We hope this brings some small measure of comfort to the families, friends and colleagues of the four courageous Airmen who lost their lives … to know that their service is being venerated in this way,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Jennifer Jones.