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NW Indiana Airman Killed in Helicopter Crash

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A northwest Indiana native was among four US service members killed in an US Air Force helicopter crash that occurred during a training mission Tuesday night on the coast of Norfolk in England, officials say. The Defense Department said Technical Sgt. Dale Mathews is from Rolling Prairie.  The three other aircrew members killed were identified as Capt. Christopher Stover, Capt. Sean Ruane, and Staff Sgt. Afton Ponce.  The US Air Force says an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter carries a four-person aircrew: a pilot, co-pilot, and two special mission aviators who are qualified as both gunners and flight engineers. On this particular mission, a statement from the 48th Fighter Wing said Stover and Ruane were the pilots, and Mathews and Ponce were the special mission aviators.  The helicopter was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force base Lakenheath in England.  The accident remains under investigation. "We continue to think of the loved ones who are experiencing such a tragic, sudden loss," said Col. Kyle Robinson, 48th Fighter Wing commander. "The Liberty Wing feels as though it has lost members of its family, and we stand by to support one another and these Airmen's families during this difficult time."  [Pictured, right: Tech. Sgt. Dale Mathews, special mission aviator, 56th Rescue Squadron/U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha]


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