On 18 Feb 2012 at night in the Horn of Africa, AFSOC and the USAF SOF community lost 4 warriors.
A U-28, a modified Pilatus PC-12, is a single-engine turboprop used by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The aircraft crashed while returning to its temporary assignment at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti from a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Camp Lemonnier is a major staging area for AFRICOM operations in the theatre.
During a briefing held on Feb 21, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said "There is absolutely no indication of any kind of enemy involvement in the downing of the plane."
Those of us who have strapped a piece of our country's aeronautical hardware to our backsides know that sometimes this is the price we pay when we write that blank check to our nation.
Lost in the crash were:
• Captain Ryan P. Hall of Colorado Springs, CO. (7 deployments and 1300 U28 combat flight hours)
• Captain Nicholas F. Whitlock of Newman, GA. (5 deployments)
• Lt. Justin J. Wilkens of Bend, OR. (3 deployments)
• Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten of Upper Marlboro, MD. (3 deployments)
God speed, gents. Prayers go out to their families and loved ones. You will not be forgotten.