Tonight we honor four airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died April 27, near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. However, initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash.
Since 2001, 2207 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan; since 2003, 4486 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Iraq.
The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a remembrance of U.S. servicemembers who will not be coming home from war.
~ Photo Credit Timroff
The Department of Defense has announced the deaths of four airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28, of Woodbridge, VA. He was assigned to the 906th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, IL.
Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii. He was assigned to the 427th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, CA.
Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova, CA. He was assigned to the 306th Intelligence Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, CA.
Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, 30, of Morehead, KY. He was assigned to the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, OK.
Capt. Cyr was born in Colorado and grew up in Oswego, NY. Born into a military family, he had lived several different places, and most recently lived in Woodbridge, VA.
The Department of Defense said Capt. Cyr was a KC-135 instructor pilot and a member of the 906th Air Refueling Squadron within the 37th Air Mobility Wing at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. He had also qualified as an instructor for the MC-12, the aircraft involved in the fatal crash.
Cyr had more than 1700 flying hours, with 900 of them in combat. He had been in Afghanistan for three months when he was killed.
According to Col. David Almand, 375th AMW commander:
"He was an outstanding pilot and a dedicated Airman. Our hearts are heavy, and we're doing all that we can to provide support and comfort to members of his family during this difficult time. Our hearts also go out to families of the other Airmen who lost their lives as well."Capt, Cyr's aunt, Liz Marshall, said they had become friends on Facebook and she enjoyed the cartoons he drew about his life and his activities in the Air Force. Caitlin Gavina, a friend and the wife of a fellow pilot, said:
“He always had a way to make me laugh, no matter what else was going on.”Friends recalled his sense of humor, his thoughtfulness and his dedication to a challenging job. Col. Peter Nezamis, commander of the Illinois National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing, praised Capt. Cyr's energy and thirst for knowledge:
‘‘It was this mission more than any other he wanted the most....(Cyr) left his mark on everything he did."Details about funeral arrangments for Capt. Cyr will be released next week.
Rest in peace, Capt. Brandon L. Cyr. You have served with honor.
The following tribute to Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka was written by JaxDem:
Captain Reid Nishizuka, who was piloting the MC 12 aircraft at the time of the crash, entered the Air Force in June of 2005. He had been deployed to Iraq three times previously and this was his second tour of duty in Afghanistan making for his fifth deployment to the middle east since his enlistment. Capt Nishizuka, who arrived at Beale Air Force Base in November 2012, had participated in over 200 combat missions.
Friend since the 7th grade, Butch Galdeira has many fond memories of Reid:
He's an incredible man with a humble heart. Full of life and he has an infectious smile. His smile can light up any dim room. Just an amazing guy, someone who loved his country and gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.High School friend and fellow service member, Staff Sgt Mike Trusso said:
He was always a great person to have around, always had solutions if anyone had any problems and knew how to do a lot of things. I remember in high school, I wasn’t the best Jr ROTC cadet, and he helped me out a lot.Father, Ricky Nishizuka spoke about getting the news:
I looked through the peep hole these guys are pretty well dressed, then I saw they were officers with a folder in their hands and my heart just dropped.Two younger brothers, Chad and Reyn Nishizuka were notified shortly thereafter. Chad who is also an Air Force pilot will act as escort for his brother's remains.
Since I’m military as well, I’m able to escort him back. I’ll be with him the entire time if we need to stop somewhere or transport him, I’ll be with him at all times.Father, Ricky fondly recalled how Reid always wanted to be a pilot:
He’s been my motivation and that’s pretty much the reason why I joined the Air Force and why I’m flying airplanes as well. He’s the one that motivated me to do all that.
From when he was 5 years old, he’d spot planes in the sky and know exactly what kind of plane it was.The family said they would most miss simply being around him.
He was doing what he loved to do, so his life ended doing exactly what he wanted to do. I was proud of him serving the country, but I was also proud of him enjoying what he was doing. And it was a career he thought he was going to carry through for 20 years.
Beale Air Force Base commander, Col. Phil Stewart released this statement:
I'd like to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends and co-workers affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts, prayers and support are with you through this difficult time.Captain Reid Nishizuka's military awards included 10 air medals, two Air Force commendation medals and two Air Force achievement medals.
The family plans to have a funeral service in Hawaii, but no details have been announced.
Rest in peace, Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka. You have served with honor.
A native of Rancho Cordova, CA, Staff Sgt. Dickson joined the Air Force in 2005. From 2008-2012 he served in the 97th Intelligence Squadron at Offutt, NE.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Ford, 97th Intelligence Squadron commander, said:
“Dickson was a dedicated airman and a warrior who will be missed by all. My condolences go out to his family members, friends and all who were blessed with knowing him.”The 97th Intelligence Squadron is organizing a memorial service this week for Dickson.
At the time of his deployment, Staff Sgt. Dickson was assigned to the 306th Intelligence Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, CA. He had flown more than 120 combat missions and was the recipient of six air medals.
Rest in peace, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson. You have served with honor.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin's family remembered him Monday as a "kind-hearted young man who enjoyed the simple pleasures of camping and fishing, and died serving the country he loved." He had just turned 30 on April 9.
According to a statement released by his family:
"Daniel always had a smile and kind words, and had a heart of gold...He loved his family, his dog, and loved to fish and camp. Daniel died honorably serving his country so that we may continue to enjoy the freedoms that we take for granted. He died just as he lived — serving God and others. We are blessed to have known and loved Daniel."Staff Sgt. Fannin was born and raised in Morehead, KY. He joined the U.S. Air Force shortly after graduating from Rowan County Senior High School in 2001.
He was an airborne sensor operator and a qualified Air Force air surveillance instructor who had served with distinction at Tinker Air Force Base, according to base spokesman Darren Heusel.
Fannin had served three previous tours, and had worked as an air surveillance technician aboard the Air Force's highly sophisticated E-3 AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft.
Lt. Col. Joshua Conine, 552nd OSS Commander, said:
“From my personal interactions with Sgt. Fannin over the past 11 years, he was extremely proud to serve his country and went about his tasks each day with the utmost regard for excellence”Staff Sgt. Fannin had lived for several years in Oklahoma with his wife, Sonya. In addition to his spouse, Fannin is survived by his mother, Sharri Jones of Morehead; his grandparents, Henry and Fern Hamm; two uncles, an aunt and many family members and friends.
Rest in peace, Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin. You have served with honor.
"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, JaxDem, and me, Ekaterin.
These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.