Saturday, February 25, 2012

Special Forces, AFP Honor "Wild 42"

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines ‐ Members of Joint Special Operations Task Force ‐Philippines held a ceremony Feb 22, 2012 observing the 10th anniversary of an aircraft accident that claimed the lives of JSOTF‐P service members serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines joined U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen at Camp Navarro in paying respects to Special Operations Aviators and Air Commandos who perished when their US MH‐47E Chinook helicopter, call sign "Wild 42," went down in the Bohol Sea while returning from a mission in Basilan in 2002.
“Ten years ago today Operation Enduring Freedom‐Philippines was well underway, when tragedy struck our nation again,” said U.S. Army Chaplain (Captain) Johnnie lder, while leading a prayer. “Ten American warriors died, bringing the world‐wide war on terror casualty count to 32 that day. Let us bow our heads.” 

An intense, multi‐day search and rescue operation followed. First responders recovered remains of eight of the ten service members a few miles off the southern coast of the Negros Islands. 

During the ceremony, U.S. Army Col. Fran Beaudette, commander of JSOTF‐P, and the JSOTF‐P Senior Enlisted Advisor, Command Sergeant Major Frank Gilliand, laid a wreath at the base of a memorial plaque. A bell rang as each of the names of the fallen was recited.

Lost were: U.S. Army Maj. Curtis D. Feistner; Army Capt. Bartt D. Owens; Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jody L. Egnor; Army Staff Sgt. James P. Dorrity; Army Staff Sgt. Kerry W. Frith; Army Staff Sgt. Bruce A. Rushforth Jr.; Army Sgt. Jeremy D. Foshee; Spec. Thomas F. Allison; Air Force Master Sgt. William L. McDaniel II and Air Force Staff Sgt. Juan M. Ridout. 

“Ten years ago, the lives of ten families changed forever,” said Col. Beaudette as he addressed the crowd, which included a joint formation of U.S. and Philippine forces. “Take time to think about these ten names and those hundreds of thousands of Americans and Filipinos before them who led them home and accomplished their missions, as we’ll accomplish ours.” 

U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines was established to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their fight against trans‐national terrorism. Since its inception, 17 U.S. service members have died while advising and assisting Philippine forces with efforts to secure peace and stability in the Mindanao Region.

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