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Air Force KC-135 Refueling Aircraft Explodes In Midair, Crashes In Kyrgyzstan
By Mike Mitchell

May 5, 2013 - On Friday An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the Transit Center at Manas near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan explode in midair then crashed in the mountains of northern Kyrgyzstan, all three airmen were killed. The Defense Department has identified the airmen as Captain Mark T. Voss, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Captain Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, of Palmdale and Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, of Bakersfield, Calif. 

Kyrgyzstan Emergencies Minister Kubatbek Boronov reported on Saturday morning, in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan first responders extracted fragmented bodies of two airmen near the crash site. The third crewmember is till missing. Witnesses report the aircraft exploded, broke in half and a crewmember was had parachuted from the aircraft.

The KC-135 crashed 100 miles west of the air base it was on a refueling mission for Afghanistan war operations at the time of the crash. The wreckage is reported to be scattered across a wide area.

Kyrgyz officials report the KC-135 Stratotanker (92d Air Refueling Wing) had taken off from the US military installation, Transit Centre at Manas International Airport, near Bishkek, with some 70 tons of fuel on board.

The 92d Air Refueling Wing (92 ARW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command Eighteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. The wing is also the host unit at Fairchild.

The 92d ARW is responsible for providing air refueling, as well as rapid and reliable passenger and cargo airlift and aero-medical evacuation missions supporting U.S. and coalition conventional operations as well as U.S. Strategic Command strategic deterrence missions.

The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. It also provides aerial refueling support to the Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft.



"We're a strong family here and it's truly heart wrenching when members of this family make the ultimate sacrifice for their nation," said Col. Brian Newberry, 92d Air Refueling Wing Commander. "We will forever honor Tyler, Tori and Tre as patriots and heroes. Team Fairchild will do everything we can to support their families and friends during this profoundly difficult time. These Airmen leave behind an incredible legacy of service and honor in protecting our nation and the world. They show what we all know, freedom is not free."
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