Four airmen assigned to 23rd WG die in aircraft crash

Press Release:

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA. – Four Airmen were killed and three were wounded when their aircraft, a HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter, assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., crashed June 9 in southeastern Afghanistan.

The Airmen were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and were responsible for casualty evacuation.

The Airmen killed are:

Tech. Sgt. Michael P. Flores, 31, of San Antonio, Texas, assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, of Grass Lake, Mich., assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala., assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB.

Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, 24, of Erwin, Tenn., assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB.

The wounded Airmen are assigned to the 66th RQS from Nellis AFB.

"Our hearts go out to the families of these brave Americans, and we express our deepest condolences to them," said Col. Gary Henderson, 23rd Wing commander.  "All seven Airmen involved in this incident embody the rescue motto 'These things we do, that others may live,' and were on a life-saving mission. These Airmen and their other rescue teammates are highly trained to perform life-saving missions in various situations. Protecting our nation's sons and daughters is a sacred trust and we take that responsibility seriously."

The Airmen and aircraft involved are assigned to the 563rd Rescue Group a geographically-separated unit of the 23rd Wing.

Nellis, Davis-Monthan and Moody Air Force Bases will hold separate memorial services next week.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Source: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Office of Public Affairs