By Julie McCay Turner
“This is a devastating day,” began Hanscom Air Force Base commander Col. Michael A. Vogel in Friday’s press briefing to address the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft where six Airmen lost their lives. Two of the Airmen were deployed from Hanscom Field and the others were deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The crash occurred shortly after take-off from Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan.
Members of the 66th Security Forces Squadron at Hanscom, the deceased Airmen were deployed to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan and were acting in their capacity as security forces on the flight. Members of Hanscom’s 130-person security squadron are routinely deployed to assist with security operations around the globe.
Both Airmen were known to Col. Vogel and were on six-month deployments. “They were incredible Airmen,” said Vogel. “They served their country voluntarily, and lost their lives protecting this great nation.” The casualties are the first among deployed troops during Vogel’s tenure as base commander. Ceremonies honoring the Airmen will be announced later.
Both State Senator Michael Barrett and State Representative Ken Gordon offered condolences. “War in the Middle East has touched down in our small part of the world more than once,” said Sen. Barrett. “My thoughts are with the families. Their loved ones stood on the front lines so that the rest of us wouldn’t have to.” Rep. Gordon added, “This reminds us that every time our brave men and women in the military put on that uniform, they risk the ultimate sacrifice to so that we can remain free. Our hearts and thought go out to the families of the Airmen of Hanscom who lost their lives this morning. Their lives exemplified valor and heroism.”
The names of the deceased will be withheld for 24 hours after the families of the Airmen are notified in accordance with Department of Defense policy. Any additional information about the crash will be released, as it becomes available, either by the Pentagon or by the unit in Afghanistan responsible for that area of operations.