Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
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The community is responding after four airmen with the North Carolina National Guard died in a C-130 crash in South Dakota last weekend.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Rose Dunlap with the 145th Airlift Wing, people locally and nationally have made offers to honor the four fallen airmen monetarily and with physical labor.
"We're working hard to track all donations and calls wanting to help and assist," according to Terry Henderson of the 145 AW's Airmen & Family Readiness Center. Henderson continued, saying, "We've developed a 'Resource Roster' so that as we are informed of family needs or concerns we can respond quickly."
Henderson said donations have already been made of offers to provide meals, keep up lawns, provide gift cards, and donations to memorial funds.
Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, Maj. Ryan S. David, and Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon were all killed in the crash on Sunday evening.
"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."
Lieutenant Colonel 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.
Major McCormick was an instructor pilot and chief of training for the 156th Airlift Squadron. He was married with four children.
Major 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.
Senior Master Sergeant 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.
WBTV has learned that all four will be added to the North Carolina Air National Guard Memorial in October.
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.
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 under investigation.
Two other airmen were also injured when a C-130 Hercules belonging to the 145th Airlift Wing based out of Charlotte crashed on Sunday night. The spokesperson says it is against policy for them to release the name of injured airmen.
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.
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.
Information regarding donations or memorials is available through the 145th Airlift Wing, Airman & Family Readiness at (704) 398-4949.