Mourners pay respects to tragic US helicopter crew

Memorial service for airman killed in helicopter crash.
Memorial service for airman killed in helicopter crash.

More than 2,000 mourners packed out a hangar at Raf Lakenheath on Friday for a memorial service staged in memory of the four airmen who were killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month.

Family, friends and colleagues of Capt Sean Ruane, Capt Christopher Stover, Tech Sgt Dale Matthews, and Staff Sgt Afton Ponce, gathered at the airbase’s hangar seven, to pay their last respects to the four who died when their HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crashed close to Cley-next-the-Sea while performing a training mission on January 7.

After the arrival of the families the service started with a moving tribute followed by the reading of the fallen airmen’s biographies.

Lieutenant Colonel Jared Herbert, of the 56th Rescue Squadron, which all four fallen airmen were attached to, presented medals to the families of each of the deceased airmen to recognize their distinguished accomplishments.

The service was closed with a moments silence the playing of Amazing Grace on a set of bagpipes, and aerial salute performed by F-15 fighter jets, from the 492nd, 493rd, and 494th Fighter Squadrons.