The following is a statement from the family of Maj. Ryan S. David, one of the four members of the 145th Airlift Wing National Guard unit, killed in a plane crash while fighting a wildfire in South Dakota:
"The family of Maj. Ryan S. David gathered today to remember their husband, father, son and son-in-law, brother and brother-in-law and close friend.
They described him as happy and loving, a very humble individual and a family-oriented man who loved the outdoors, reading and playing with their newborn son.
An accomplished football player himself, Ryan was a diehard Nebraska Football fan. After graduating high school from Bellevue East School in Bellevue, NE, he declined an invitation to the United States Naval Academy. Instead he went on to attend the University of Nebraska – Omaha where he played football. Ryan also attended University of Maryland and Bowie State University. He received his Masters in Business Administration from TUI University in California.
His military career started in the ROTC Program there and upon graduation he joined United States Air Force, where he served for over 10 years.
While in ROTC, he met his wife Jenny. They loved hiking, biking, snowboarding and skiing together; and were overjoyed with the newest addition to their family, little "Rob" born six months ago.
Maj David left the Air Force in 2011 to join the North Carolina Air National Guard. He was assigned to the 156th Airlift Wing as a Master Navigator. Ryan was a veteran of multiple deployments to locations across the globe, including Southwest Asia.
"Ryan was my best friend, my husband, and loving father to our son. I am so proud of him for all that he has done, especially for helping other Americans in their time of need, combating wildfires in the Midwest.
"He did what he was so very passionate about, and that was to serve his Country in uniform. He had an infectious smile, and always inspired those with whom he interacted. He will be remembered as a perfect gentleman, his entire family loves him so very much. I will miss him terribly, we were a good team and equal partners," said Jenny.
Members of the David family stated: