Airmen, Marines join forces after aircraft crash

  • Published
  • By by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, provided support to the Marines following a non-lethal F/A-18D Hornet crash Feb. 22, in the woods near Statenville, Georgia.

The aircraft, assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, crashed approximately 25 miles from Moody AFB, and coordination between personnel at both installations was key in starting a recovery mission.

After ensuring the jet aviators' safety, the Marines' priority was to build a command post and recover aircraft parts from the crash site to help investigators determine the cause of the accident, said Marine Corps Capt. Luke Knorra, the All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 aviation safety officer.

To aid in these efforts, Moody AFB personnel provided tools and the manpower to get the recovery operation started.

"We were their logistical, contracting and supply support in the sense that we provided them materials, tools, manpower, and equipment necessary to start searching for the aircraft," said 1st Lt. Pete Mines, the 23rd Contracting Squadron officer in charge of base services.

Support included food, water, vehicles necessary to locate the wreckage. Additionally, they provided Airmen and heavy equipment to clear a path to deliver supplies and build a command post.

"The command post is the mini-command center they'll work out of possibly for the next few months (while they recover aircraft parts from the swampy area)," said Senior Airman Travis Brock, a 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron operations management journeyman. "So we gave them a comfortable place to do it."

With the command post ready, MCAS Beaufort members are taking time to consider their next steps.

"Right now we're kind of in pause mode to generate a plan," Knorra said. "The Naval Safety Center is working with us to plan the extraction of the wreckage, investigation and the environmental cleanup."

Getting to this point was a joint effort and Mines said he was pleased to help.

"The Air Force and Moody Air Force Base as a whole are always happy to help a sister service," Mines said. "We fight and work in a joint environment so it's always good to get out there and help them."

Knorra and Brock agreed the partnership between the branches is essential to the success of this mission and Knorra specifically recognized Moody AFB’s role.

"The coordination with the Air Force has been amazing," Knorra said. "We couldn't have done it without the support we had and in a very timely, expedient manner."