Airmen and guests gathered earlier this month at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to dedicate a memorial to the four airmen who died July 28 in the crash of a C-17 transport assigned to the joint base’s 3rd Wing. A 1:24 scale C-17 model is the centerpiece of the memorial, which stands in the main hallway of the 517th Airlift Squadron’s headquarters. It honors the Sitka 43 aircrew that died: Maj. Michael Freyholtz, Maj. Aaron Malone, and SMSgt. Thomas Cicardo from the Air National Guard’s 249th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Jeffrey Hill from the 517th AS. Lt. Col. Patrick Weeks, 517th AS commander, called the model “a celebration of the guys that we lost back on 28 July.” He added, “They were friends of ours. They were fathers, they were brothers, they were husbands, and they were fellow airmen, just like us.” (Elmendorf report by David Bedard)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.