HomeNewsArticle Display

66th RQS remembers fallen Airmen 20 years later

Lt. Col. Joshua Shonkwiler, 66th Rescue Squadron commander, regards a memorial built for fallen members of the 66th RQS August 29, 2018 on the Nevada Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Bailee A. Darbasie)

An HH-60G Pavehawk assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron lands near a memorial built for twelve fallen Airmen August 29, 2018 on the Nevada Test and Training Range. Members of the 66th RQS, 58th RQS and the 823rd Maintenance Squadron gathered at the memorial to pay their respects to the fallen men for the 20th anniversary of their deaths. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Bailee A. Darbasie)

Tech. Sgt. Steve Prather, 66th Rescue Squadron HH-60G evaluator special missions aviator, places a fresh coat of paint across several rocks forming a memorial August 29, 2018 on the Nevada Test and Training Range. Re-painting the memorial helped it become more noticeable to the aircraft flying overhead. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Bailee A. Darbasie)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- The 66th Rescue Squadron paid their respects to their fallen brothers during a memorial August 29, which marked the 20th anniversary of their deaths.

A total of 12 Airmen were lost when two HH-60G Pavehawk helicopters, call signs Jolly 38 and Jolly 39, assigned to the 66th RQS were involved in a midair collision over the Nevada Test and Training Range during a routine night exercise Sept. 3, 1998.

Current members of the 66th RQS, 58th RQS and the 823rd Maintenance Squadron assembled at the Nevada Test and Training Range to clean and restore a memorial built in honor of Jolly 38 and Jolly 39.

“It is truly humbling to stand on this site to remember those who have gone before us,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Shonkwiler, 66th RQS commander. “We oftentimes forget how dangerous our work can be; unfortunately, we have lost many brothers and sisters in combat and training while preparing for or executing the most noble of missions.”

The memorial resembles two giant feet associated with the rescue mascot, the Jolly Green Giant. The clean-up efforts included removing weeds, collecting trash, painting and manicuring the site and surrounding area.

“We spent several hours cleaning up the memorial site so that the Airmen flying over this area of the range can recognize the giant feet and the sacrifice made twenty years ago,” Shonkwiler said.

Aside from cleaning the memorial, Airmen joined in prayer and had a moment of silence for the men who paid the ultimate sacrifice that night. During their remembrance, Shonkwiler reminded those gathered at the memorial that what they do is not only dangerous, but extremely vital to the Air Force mission, the nation and coalition forces.

The 66th RQS conducted a ceremonial toast to all 12 Airmen and unveiled a 20th anniversary shadow box, containing pieces from the crash site belonging to the aircrew and aircraft. The shadow box will be permanently displayed in the squadron as another reminder of the legacy and sacrifice of Jolly 38 and Jolly 39.

The combat search and rescue community motto, “These things we do, that others may live,” is a reminder of the sacrifice a rescue member is willing to make to ensure someone who’s having their worst day, doesn’t have their last day.

“These men died doing what they loved, training and preparing so they could help those in need,” Shonkwiler said. “On this day, we remember their sacrifice.”

The names of the 66th RQS members who died that night are:

Jolly 38:
Capt. Gregg Lewis, pilot
Capt. Philip Miller, copilot
Staff Sgt. Kevin Brunelle, flight engineer
Staff Sgt. Kenneth “Kenny” Eaglin, flight engineer
Master Sgt. Matthew Sturtevant, aerial gunner
Senior Airman Jesse Stewart, pararescueman

Jolly 39:
Lt. Col. William “Hal” Milton, pilot
Capt. Karl Youngblood, copilot
Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Armour, flight engineer
Senior Airmen Adam Stewart, flight engineer
Airmen First Class Justin Wotasik, pararescueman
2d Lt. Michael Harwell, mission essential personnel

Engage

Twitter
RT @grandslamwing: #ICYMI Members from the 816th EAS and 379th ELRS certified training on the ABFDS, which allows the mission to continue f…
Twitter
“The #AirForce is really trying to look beyond traditional technologies and vendors in how we are satisfying our ba… https://t.co/Lt2dIO1zoi
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Sentry Savannah brings together pilots and Airmen from across the nation for a unique fighter integration training experi…
Twitter
“This Pave Hawk represents the hard work and accomplishments of the men and women of the 55th Special Operations Sq… https://t.co/vb5f7qKaUH
Twitter
The @USAFReserve and the @AFThunderbirds recently flew @ForrestGriffin, a former @UFC champion and member of the UF… https://t.co/xgkO2ILOEq
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: The @386thAEW is using Virtual Reality to create a fully immersive, simulated training experience for our defenders. This f…
Twitter
The pods help the MQ-9 play an increased, more prominent role in the command and control arena of the battlefield.… https://t.co/wW0LE4Uupf
Twitter
The purpose of the #F15EX’s participation in Northern Edge is to allow for immediate deep-end testing in a complex… https://t.co/xm3X2EpTiy
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Great visit to @US_CYBERCOM today. I appreciate the discussion with @CYBERCOM_DIRNSA & the teams that work in defense of…
Twitter
RT @US_TRANSCOM: #DYK, amid the ongoing #CovidPandemic, @AirMobilityCmd Airmen have employed the Transport Isolation System(TIS) and Negati…
Twitter
Invisible Wounds: Risk, Impact, and Available Resources Everyone is susceptible to invisible wounds. Its impact ca… https://t.co/yauTW2OU94
Twitter
Arthur Tien Chin was one of the first U.S. volunteer combat aviators, who traveled to China to battle in the Second… https://t.co/3xD2t3ZAEw
Twitter
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: Service. Strength. Sacrifice.🇺🇸 #TillValhalla In honor of fallen @usairforce @SpecialTactics_ officer, Capt. Matthew Rola…
Twitter
What would happen if personnel needed to be rapidly deployed to a location where nothing was on the ground except a… https://t.co/dZT3YFYNG1
Twitter
“I have always been interested in global and international security, language, and adventure,” said A1C Jessica Ram… https://t.co/acayRIMWqb
Twitter
Happy Mother's Day! Today we honor our Airmen and Spouses who fill the role of mom. Your dedication and sacrifices… https://t.co/SBsHXqjw6N
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: The 609th Air Operations Center made history this week when it became the first AOC to operationally utilize the Kessel Run A…
Twitter
Airmen from the 34th Fighter Squadron prepare to launch F-35A Lightning lls at Mt. Home Air Force Base, Idaho, duri… https://t.co/t41oTbPGNq
Twitter
“The #AirForceReserve is a cost-effective, accessible and ready force,” said Lt Gen Richard Scobee. “We provide str… https://t.co/mrPt6Xq5Vn
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,347,781
Follow Us