Robert Cannon 145th Airlift Wing plane crash National Guard C130 - | WBTV Charlotte

EXCLUSIVE: Family talks about airman killed in crash

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Melanie Cannon opened her front door at 2 o'clock Monday morning and saw military officers on her door step, she knew something was wrong.

"I was scared, I knew that it was not good news, I knew that something had happened," said Cannon.

The shock of her husband's death is still surreal.

Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon,50, had traveled all over the world in his 29 year career with the Air National Guard.

His mission to help fight the wildfires in the Midwest was routine.

Melanie had no reason to doubt his safe return.

"Did you worry at all?" asked WBTV reporter Sarah Batista. "Not all. I said, "bye, I love you. We'll see you when you get back, see you Friday'," said Cannon.

It would be their last conversation.

Cannon and three other guardsmen died Sunday evening when their C-130 plane crashed in South Dakota.

Two officers survived.

For 15-year-old Madeline and 17-year-old Alex , their father's death hasn't yet sunk in.

"He was always smiling, he really cared about us," said Madeline.

"He was fun loving, generous and kind," said Cannon.

Each family member says they're trying to hold it together for the other two.

"It's tough on me, but I to kind of be the man of the house now, I don't really break down as much, I try to be the strong one," said Alex.

They're a close family, and although the man they love won't be coming home this time, he will always be their hero.

"We will go on and do our best to keep Robbie's memories alive and to keep him as part of our family," said Cannon.

Sidebar: C130 National Guard crash

Photos of the 145th Airlift Wing crew on Saturday More>>

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