An Air Force C-17 transport crashed late Wednesday (about 6:14 p.m. Alaska time) near JB Elmendorf, Alaska, killing the four airmen on board. (See our initial coverage from Thursday’s Daily Report column.) The aircraft, assigned to Elmendorf’s 3rd Wing, was on a training mission, with the aircrew practicing for their performance at this weekend’s Arctic Thunder air show and open house at the base. Three of the airmen were Alaska Air National Guardsmen; the fourth was on active duty. Their names had not been released as of late Thursday, pending notification of kin. “Our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of those airmen killed in this crash. [On Wednesday], we lost four members of our Arctic Warrior family, and it’s a loss felt across our entire joint installation,” said Col. John McMullen, 3rd Wing commander, in a statement from the base. According to an Alaska Dispatch report, the C-17 went down shortly after takeoff. An accident investigation board will investigate the crash. Elmendorf officials announced late Thursday that Arctic Thunder will proceed as planned despite the tragic loss of these airmen. More information will be released as it becomes available. (Initial Elmendorf release) (See also AFP report and Aolnews.com report, and AP report.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.