CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The two remaining North Carolina Air National Guard C-130's sent to fight wildfires out west landed in Charlotte Tuesday night.
The mission’s third plane--a MAFFS equipped C-130--fell from the sky while battling the "White Dawn" fire in South Dakota Sunday. Four of the six crewmembers died in the crash.
Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville, Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont, Maj. Ryan S. David, 35, of Boone and Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte were killed.
Cannon, a father of two, spent 29 years serving with the Charlotte unit as a flight engineer.
Mikeal leaves behind a wife, whom he met when both were students at UNC Charlotte.
McCormick was married with four kids, one of which is a newborn.
David left the Air Force and joined the Guard as a navigator.
Josh Marlowe, 28, survived the crash. His family told NewsChannel 36 that his condition is improving and his wife is at his hospital bedside.
The 30 surviving airmen and women from the 145th were reunited with their families Tuesday night. About a dozen people--several from the Patriot Guard--waited outside the base with American flags and posters saying ‘Thank You.’
The Air Force did not say why the North Carolina Air Guard was allowed to come home and is still investigating the cause of Sunday’s plane crash.