The North Carolina Air National Guard announced that four if its airmen from the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte died on July 1 when their Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 crashed while fighting a woodland fire in southwestern South Dakota. Two other crew members were injured in the crash and remain hospitalized, according to the wing’s release. The deceased are: Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville, N.C.; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont, N.C.; Maj. Ryan S. David, 35, of Boone, N.C.; and SMSgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte. “Words can’t express how much we feel the loss of these airmen,” said Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan, 145th AW commander. “Our prayers are with their families, as well as our injured brothers as they recover.” Mikeal was an evaluator pilot with the 156th Airlift Squadron. McCormick was an instructor pilot and chief of training for the squadron. David was a navigator assigned to the squadron. Cannon was a flight engineer with the 145th Operations Support Flight. Air Guard officials are not releasing the names of the injured. The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.