Four Air Guardsmen Died in C-130 Firefighting Crash

Four members of the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte died when their Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 crashed on July 1 while fighting a woodland fire in southwestern South Dakota. Two other crewmembers, whom officials are not naming, were injured in the crash and hospitalized, according to the North Carolina National Guard’s July 3 release. The deceased are: Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville, N.C.; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont, N.C.; Maj. Ryan S. David, 35, of Boone, N.C.; and SMSgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte. “Words can’t express how much we feel the loss of these airmen,” said Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan, 145th AW commander. “Our prayers are with their families, as well as our injured brothers as they recover.” Mikeal was an evaluator pilot with the 156th Airlift Squadron. McCormick was an instructor pilot with the squadron. David was a navigator with the squadron. Cannon was a flight engineer serving with the 145th Operations Support Flight. The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation. (See our initial coverage.)