By Ethan Woodhouse
July 4, 2012. Boone native Maj. Ryan S. David has been identified as one of four North Carolina men killed in a C-130 aircraft on July 1 while battling wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Among the others lost are Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville, N.C.; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont, N.C. and Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte. Josh Marlowe of Shelby, N.C. and another man, yet to be identified, were seriously injured.
The crew was part of the 145th Airlift Wing with the North Carolina Air National Guard. David, 35, joined the guard six months ago following a 10-year-stint in the active-duty Air Force.
Three crews and C-130s flew from Charlotte to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., last week to assist in fighting the growing wildfires in the Rocky Mountain region.
This crash, coupled with another C-130 crash earlier this year, caused for the seven remaining C-130s with specific firefighting gear to be temporarily grounded Sunday. Following a rigid inspection, six were cleared for flight while one was sent back to Charlotte. Flights resumed Tuesday.
The Lockheed C-130 is a four-engine turboprop aircraft used extensively to transport soldiers and materials to Iraq. The seven planes flown from Charlotte were modified to carry some 3,000 gallons of fire suppressant.
President Barack Obama offered thoughts and prayers to the crew and their families. “The men and women battling these terrible fires across the West put their lives on the line every day for their fellow Americans,” he said in a statement.
David attended and played football at the University of Nebraska. He was a veteran of multiple deployments all across the globe. His family recalls him as a happy, humble, family-oriented individual.
“Ryan was my best friend, my husband, and loving father to our son,” his wife, Jenny, said in a statement. “I am so proud of him for all that he has done, especially for helping other Americans in their time of need, combating wildfires in the Midwest. He did what he was so very passionate about, and that was to serve his country in uniform. He had an infectious smile, and always inspired those with whom he interacted. He will be remembered as a perfect gentleman, his entire family loves him so very much. I will miss him terribly, we were a good team and equal partners.”
David is survived by his wife and newborn son, Rob.