News>N.C. Air National Guard Announces C-130 Crash Victims
Charlotte, N.C. -- MAFFS 7, a C-130 Hercules cargo plane assigned to the 145th Airlift Wing, N.C. Air National Guard, departs 30 June, 2012 for Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., to support fire fighting throughout the Rocky Mountain area using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen
One of two Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, lays down a blanket of flame-retardant liquid over a forested area in Southern California. The fires, stoked by 100 mph Santa Ana winds, were categorized as a major disaster. The results were more than 300,000 people driven from their homes and nearly 500,000 acres of woodlands consumed in 12 counties. Also deployed to Southern California were two MAFFS equipped C-130 s from the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard. The four Air National Guard C-130s, staged at Naval Air Station, Point Mugu, flew more than 40 missions in the first week of operations.
The MAFFS, owned by the U.S. Forest Service, is a fire-suppressant apparatus that is loaded into the C-130’s cargo area. Consisting of a series of five pressurized tanks, the MAFFS can hold 3,000 gallons of flame-retardant liquid that is dropped along the leading edge of a fire to block the spread of flames. Flown on Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130 aircraft, the aircrews require special training to fly these civil support missions. MAFFS crews are buffeted by thermal gusts, wind, and smoke as they drop their payload while flying between 150 and 200 feet above the ground.
Since 1974, the MAFFS has saved land, lives, and property from wildfires in the U.S. and abroad. Currently there are three Air National Guard C-130 units capable of operating MAFFS. In addition to the 145th AW and the 153rd AW, the 146th AW, California Air National Guard, also flies MAFFS-equipped C-130s. These units continue to stand at the ready to support civil emergencies.
This work of art “Quenching the Flames” was painted by renowned Aviation Artist, Gil Cohen.
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by Lt. Col. Robert Carver
NC National Guard Public Affairs
7/3/2012 - Charlotte, N.C. -- CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four airmen died and two others were seriously injured when a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130 belonging to the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, based here, crashed Sunday evening while fighting a woodland fire in Southwestern South Dakota.
Dead are Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal (pronounced like michael), 42, of Mooresville, N.C.; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont, N.C.; Maj. Ryan S. David (pronounced da-veed), 35, of Boone, N.C.; Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte.
"Words can't express how much we feel the loss of these Airmen," said Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan, 145 AW Commander. "Our prayers are with their families, as well as our injured brothers as they recover."
Mikeal was assigned to the 156th Airlift Squadron as an evaluator pilot and had more than 20 years of service. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
McCormick was an instructor pilot and chief of training for the 156th Airlift Squadron. He was married with four children.
David was an experienced navigator and was also assigned to the 156th. He joined the North Carolina Air National Guard in 2011 after prior service in the active-duty U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his wife and one child.
Cannon had more than 29 years with the Charlotte unit and was a flight engineer with the 145th Operations Support Flight. He was married with two children.
The names of the injured will not be released. Both of the injured airmen remain hospitalized.
The crew and its aircraft along with two other 145th C-130s and three dozen airmen flew from Charlotte to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday to assist with fighting forest fires in the Rocky Mountain region. They were due to move to a base in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Monday. The crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. mountain time near Edgemont, S.D., as the crew assisted with battling what is being called the White Draw fire. The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation.
North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue declared that flags be flown at half staff today and President Obama expressed condolences honoring the dead airmen.
"The support of civil authorities during natural disasters is a key and unique mission of the National Guard," said Army Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, the adjutant general of North Carolina National Guard "The MAFFS mission is probably one of the seminal missions of the Air National Guard, representing interagency coordination between the Guard and the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense organizations to suppress the fires."
MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.
MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Retardant is discharged along the leading edge of a fire while water can be dropped directly on the flames. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.
According to Forest Service records, the agency has been working with the North Carolina Air National Guard on fire suppression missions since the early 1970s.
7/10/2012 7:46:25 PM ET Rest in peace dear firefighters and THANK YOU so very much for saving us and our homes while fighting the Waldo Canyon Fire here in Colorado Springs. I am sure I took a photo of you flying over my home and I thank you for your selfless and committed service. My sincerest and deepest heart felt condolences to your families and friends. I cried upon hearing the devastating news of the crash. You will not be forgotten Ever. Terry and Marco Crystola CO
Terry Bitzel, Crystola or Colorado Springs CO
7/6/2012 4:10:49 AM ET Angels fly C130s
Becki, Hot Springs SD
7/5/2012 5:58:38 PM ET The firefighters of Joe Foss Field wish to extend their sympathy and condolences to the family members of MAFFS 7 and all the members of the 145AW.May God Bless you all as our prayers go out to you and the other members of the crew.
Charlie Kludt, Joe Foss Field South Dakota
7/3/2012 6:27:22 PM ET To the families of MAFFS 7 from the local area where the White Draw Fire and the crash occurred all our communities appreciate the service that the MAFFS crews provide nationwide and particularly the sacrifice that was made by the crew of MAFFS 7 while fighting the White Draw Fire. We may be far from North Carolina but we mourn alongside you. Fire fighters are a family no matter where they come from or how long we have known them. We lost part of that family last Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May God bless.
Jessica Gould, Black Hills South Dakota
7/3/2012 5:13:41 PM ET Our condolences to the families your guys were out here doing their duty FOR US to keep us safe. And such a tragedy happened. We are so sorry for your loss. Words can't do it justice but know that the talk here in SD is all about those people who were simply helping our state.
Jane, Sioux Falls SD
7/3/2012 3:59:06 PM ET My heartfelt condolences to the families of these outstanding Airmen. I had the privelege of serving with Major David at Little Rock he was an exceptional navigator instructor and person. They will all be missed.