Ceremony Honors Four N.C. Guardsmen Killed Fighting 2012 South Dakota Fire

EDGEMONT, S.D.

A memorial ceremony was held July 1 to dedicate an interpretive site that honors the four Airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard who were killed one year ago while fighting the White Draw Fire near Edgemont.

Four members of the six-person Modular Airborne Firefighting System 7 (MAFFS-7) aircrew died when strong winds out of a thunderstorm caused their air tanker to impact the ground on a ridge top northeast of Edgemont.   The four were:Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont.; Maj. Ryan S. David, 35, of Boone; Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte.  

More than 100 family members, friends and colleagues were present for the ceremony and to see the unveiling of the interpretive signs. Located approximately seven miles north of Edgemont along Hwy 18, the interpretive site overlooks the ridge where the aircraft crashed while dropping fire retardant on the White Draw Fire.

MAFFS, a self-contained aerial firefighting system, is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service. 

According to Forest Service records, the agency has been working with the North Carolina Air National Guard on fire suppression missions since the early 1970s.

B-Roll and interviews package located here: http://www.dvidshub.net/video/295257/north-carolina-air-guard-ceremony

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Contact: Capt. Rick Scoggins
Phone: (919) 664-6242

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