Families remember Moody airmen - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Families remember Moody airmen

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March 25, 2003

Albany- It was an emotional morning at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. All activity came to a halt as fellow airmen honored the six Moody airmen who died in a helicopter crash Sunday.

The mood was a somber one as the bodies were loaded on a C-17 transport plane to be brought back to the states. While all six were stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, none is from Georgia.

The father of Senior Airmen Jason Plite of Grand Ledge, Michigan sadly looks at the pictures of his young son who would have turned 22 next month.

Miles away in Belen, New Mexico, Richard Long also mourns his daughter 1st Lt. Tamara Archuleta. "She wanted to serve her country. She wanted to fly for the Air Force. And their crew was on their way to pick up two Afghani Children who had been injured and they were in a refueling operation in flight and that is when the accident occurred," Long says.

An accident Staff Sergeant Jason Hicks mother in South Carolina said she knew involved her son from the moment she heard about the crash. "Sunday, when I first heard it on the news, I had this...it was just mother knowing, I just knew. It was four hours later from the time we saw it till the time we got the official word...but those four hours I just knew," claims Theresa Hicks.

Along with the others on the helicopter were Master Sergeant Michael Maltz and Staff Sergeant John Teal.

Though they are miles apart these parents are connected by the tragic deaths of the airmen, and each one will hang on to precious photos and memories...all they have left of their children.

The six member of the crew was Lt. Colonel John Stein of Bardolph Illinois. The HH 60-G rescue helicopter went down Sunday in the Afghan foothills as the crew was trying to rescue two Afghani children with head injuries.

Posted at 11:01 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com