Four Hurlburt Airmen Killed in Plane Crash

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email

Four airmen stationed at Hurlburt Field died on Saturday in a crash in Djibouti, located in the horn of Africa. The airmen were all aboard a U-28A returning from a mission in support of "Operation Enduring Freedom".

In a press conference on Monday, base personnel announced this is the first fatal crash in the U-28 fleet. Capt. Ryan P. Hall, Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, Lt. Justin J. Wilkens and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten were all killed Saturday during an unspecified reconnaissance operation flight. No other personnel were on board the aircraft.

The men were returning to Camp Lemonnier when their U-28 crashed for unknown reasons. The Air Force's Interim Safety Investigation Board has taken control of the crash site and is preserving the wreckage while a formal investigation is being conducted. News of the crash is hitting home hard for the Hurlburt community.

"Our motto in the Special Operations Wing Command is that we are the quiet professionals. I would say the men who died in this crash exemplified that. They probably didn't stand out for any particular habits or behaviors, but they quietly went about their work providing quality air intelligence to our forces on the ground" said Col. Jim Slife, Commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing.

All four men were age thirty or under and had been deployed several times before and considered very experienced. Hurlburt Field is planning a special memorial service. We'll bring you those details as soon as they become available.


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  • by Bec Location: PC on Feb 21, 2012 at 06:22 PM
    My heart is so sad. This kind of reality really touches the core. Their families and friends are in our prayers...thank you a thousand times for your service and sacrifices. God Bless you.
  • by Brenda Location: Florida on Feb 21, 2012 at 06:05 AM
    My thoughts and prayers are with their famlies and friends...
  • by Jo Ann Location: Crestview, Fl on Feb 21, 2012 at 05:58 AM
    Again we are remind how lucky we are and what these men and women do for us and our freedom giving up their lives for us and their families also. God Bless the families and God Bless them and rest in peace. God Bless our country USA
  • by Carol Gillette on Feb 21, 2012 at 05:52 AM
    God bless these men and all that serve our nation. God be with their families. We love you and your courage!
    • reply
      by caswellclare on Feb 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM in reply to Carol Gillette
      Our prayers are with the families of these brave men.
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