ABILENE, TX (KCBD) - Four airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Group at Dyess Air Force base outside of Abilene died just after midnight on October 2nd when their C-130J crashed during initial take-off from Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan.
Six U.S. service members and five civilians died in that crash. The Department of Defense has identified the airmen.
Killed in the crash were Capt. Jordan Pierson, Capt. Jonathan Golden, Staff Sgt. Ryan Hammond, Senior Airman Quinn Johnson-Harris, Senior Airman Nathan Sartain and Airman 1st Class Kcey Ruiz. Pierson, Golden, Hammond and Johnson-Harris were deployed from 317th Airlift Group at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, while Sartain and Ruiz were deployed from the 66th Security Forces Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.
Captain Pierson, 28, was from Abilene and leaves behind his wife, Jaime.
"This is a deeply emotional time for everyone in the 317th Airlift Group," said Col. Stephen Hodge, 317th AG commander. "The friendship and camaraderie in the Herk community, especially among our Dyess and Abilene friends is unlike any other. These Airmen and their loved ones are our family and we will continue to take care of them."
Lt. Col. Mitchell Spillers, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander said, "This was one of my best crews; they had a positive impact on everyone around them. They served honorably and will forever be remembered as true tactical airlifters."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we will do everything in our power to comfort them during this time of loss," Spillers said.
Dyess Air Force Base posted this on their Facebook page, "To the families affected by this tragedy, please know that we love and care about you! Let us know if there's anything any of us can do to help."
The cause of this crash is still under investigation.