Airmen Die in U-28 Mishap

Four airmen assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla., died in an accident involving their U-28 intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft near Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa, announced the Defense Department on Monday. They are: Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Ga.; 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Ore.; and SrA. Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md. Hall, a U-28 pilot, was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron. Whitlock, also a U-28 pilot, and Wilkens, a combat systems officer, were members of the 34th SOS. Scholten, a mission systems operator, served with the 25th Intelligence Squadron. The airmen died on Feb. 18 while returning from a mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. The cause of the accident is under investigation. No other personnel were on board the aircraft. “The Hurlburt Field community expresses our deepest condolences to the family of the crew, and we share in their sorrow,” said Col. Jim Slife, commander of Hurlburt’s 1st Special Operations Wing, in a release. He added, “We will never forget the valuable contributions these brave men made to their country and community.”