MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – More than 100 airmen and
community members from McConnell Air Force Base rallied
around a KC-135 Stratotanker static display, May 28, 2013,
during a memorial service honoring three fallen aircrew
members of Shell 77, who perished May 3 near Chon-Aryk,
Photos of Capt. Mark Tyler Voss, Capt.
Victoria A. Pinckery and Tech. Sgt. Herman “Tre” Mackey III sit
among a table of mementos at the Shell 77 Memorial Service at
McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., May 28, 2013. The airmen were
deployed to the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing's 22nd Expeditionary
Air Refueling Squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
during the time their KC-135 Stratotanker tragically crashed May 3,
in Kyrgyzstan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jess Lockoski)
Those who knew Tech. Sgt. Herman “Tre” Mackey III, Capt.
Victoria A. Pinckery, and Capt. Mark Tyler Voss, assigned to
the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., spoke
softly, reflectively and proudly of their wingmenship and
experiences with them in and amongst a tight-knit tanker
The three airmen were deployed to the
376th Air Expeditionary Wing's 22nd Expeditionary Air
Refueling Squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
during the time their KC-135 Stratotanker tragically
The service began with a community
procession to the static display along the base's Memorial
Walk, where generations of fallen airmen are honored with
memorial stones. Capt. Quentin Genke, chaplain, led the
attendees with a prayer and speech.
personally knew them or not, they are your sister and
brothers in arms,” said Genke. “Every morning, we put on the
same uniform, don the same apparel they donned, and fight
the same fight they fought.
“The fallen crew is
valued ... we will always remember,” he added.
chaplain reminded airmen, as they continue their calling,
not to forget the ultimate sacrifices made and to use that
as a footstone to their devotion to military service.
“May the memory of Shell 77 propel us to a higher level
of commitment and dedication,” Genke said.
during the service, McConnell Airmen, Capt. Julio Collazos,
Capt. Roque Zarate and Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Haas, friends of
the fallen aircrew, shared their thoughts on Voss, Pinckery
and Mackey, respectively.
Both enlisting in the Air
Force in 2001 as boom operators, Haas recalled his friend
Mackey as one of the first people he had met at their
technical training at Altus AFB, Okla., and described him as
always willing and ready to help teach the younger students.
“He was definitely one of the guys you wouldn't forget
if you met him one time,” said Haas.
“He gave his
life for the defense of this country, and even though the
operations we participated in are no longer in main stream
news, we all never forgot what we do, and why we are doing
it. Tre never forgot ... he knew he wrote a blank check,
payable with his life for all of us and our families ... he
served with honor and pride," said Haas.
“Tre has now
ended his mission earlier than expected, and Tre, I truly
hope that heaven is as beautiful as watching the sun rise as
at 40,000 feet,” he added.
The memorial service
concluded with 77 seconds of silence and the playing of
More photos available in frame below
By USAF Staff Sgt. Jess Lockoski
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