Robert S. Cannon was born in Charlotte‚ North Carolina‚ in 1962. All who knew him called him ‘Robbie.’ He was a senior master sergeant with the Air National Guard‚ where he served for 29 years‚ the last 21 years as a flight engineer with the 145th
Operations Support Flight. As part of his duties‚ he was a member of an elite‚ highly trained team proficient in Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS). He died on July 1‚ 2012‚ along with three other crewmen‚ in the White Draw Fire in South Dakota. The Charlotte-based Air National Guard crews were helping the Colorado‚ Wyoming‚ and California National Guard units battle the Waldo Canyon and Flagstaff Fires in Colorado; the Arapaho Fire in Wyoming; and the White Draw Blaze in South Dakota.
Robbie served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and participated in humanitarian missions in the United States and overseas.
Robbie leaves behind his wife of 22 years‚ Melanie; his 18-year-old son‚ Alex; and his 16-year-old daughter‚ Madeline. He is also survived by his father‚ Robert F. Cannon‚ and his sister‚ Teresa.
When at home‚ Robbie loved to be with his family and volunteered in school‚ sports‚ and activities that his children were involved in‚ such as basketball‚ track‚ cross-country‚ football‚ scouts‚ and church. He loved to ride his BMW motorcycle and was part of a group called Adventure Riders‚ participating in cycling trips throughout the country.
Everyone who knew Robbie appreciated his sense of humor‚ fun-loving personality‚ kindness‚ and fondness for laughter and pranks. He travelled all over the country and the world and ‘never met a stranger.’ He loved to help others and serve‚ often going above and beyond to help a friend or neighbor.
Although he is dearly missed every day‚ we are humbly proud of the person that Robbie was and the wonderful legacy of husband‚ father‚ serviceman‚ and patriot that he left behind for us to remember and cherish for all the days forward.
Major Ryan Scott David‚ 35‚ of Boone‚ North Carolina‚ was a crewmember on the C-130 MAFFS 7 mission that crashed fighting the White Draw Fire near Edgemont‚ South Dakota. Ryan was an experienced‚ highly decorated navigator and member of the NCANG 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte‚ North Carolina. Ryan had over ten years of active duty experience in the U.S. Air Force‚ serving multiple deployments to Southwest Asia.
Born April 3‚ 1977‚ in Nebraska‚ Ryan turned down an opportunity to attend the U.S. Naval Academy to briefly play college football at the University of Nebraska-Omaha before transferring to complete a bachelor of science and later a master’s in business administration.
Ryan had three great loves: his wife and son‚ flying‚ and football. In 2000‚ he met his wife‚ Jenny‚ and impressed her with his sense of humor and infectious smile. From their first hiking date to their beautiful wedding‚ Ryan and Jenny’s story was special. Best friends‚ they enjoyed hiking‚ snow sports‚ cycling‚ cooking‚ football‚ and traveling. In December 2011‚ they were blessed with their son‚ Rob.
In 2001‚ Ryan commissioned out of the University of Maryland’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 330 as a second lieutenant and became a C-130 navigator. His first assignment was to the 41st Airlift Squadron at Pope Air Force Base‚ North Carolina. Ryan completed his active duty career in 2011 with the 19th Operations Support Squadron as a deputy tactics officer and the 61st Airlift Squadron as an instructor navigator (both at Little Rock AFB‚ Arkansas). He earned numerous decorations‚ including Navy and Air Force Commendation Medals‚ four Air Medals for meritorious aerial achievement flying over 80 combat sorties‚ and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Joining the NCANG‚ 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte‚ North Carolina in 2011‚ Ryan and Jenny moved to Boone‚ North Carolina‚ to be near her parents and await son Rob’s birth. Ryan was excited to be back in North Carolina and serving in the Guard’s elite aerial firefighting unit. His last mission to combat wildfires in the western United States was with an outstanding crew on MAFFS 7. In Ryan’s last message to Jenny and her parents‚ he spoke of how awesome it was to be flying‚ fighting fires‚ and helping others.
Ryan never considered himself a hero. Instead he would want to be remembered as a loving husband and father who was very proud to serve his country. He is survived by his wife‚ Jenny Ellerbe; son‚ Rob Ellerbe David; and their families and friends. They treasure Ryan’s memory and will always miss him.
Ryan found adventure in every day‚ excitement in each moment‚ and considered himself very blessed to have his dream: Jenny and Rob and flying.
Major Joseph M. McCormick‚ North Carolina Air National Guard‚ of Taylors‚ South Carolina‚ was assigned to the 156th Airlift Squadron of the 145th Airlift Wing as an instructor pilot for the C-130H transport aircraft and chief of training. He was also the squadron publications officer‚ charged with ensuring the integrity of publications that have a direct impact on mission safety.
Major McCormick received a bachelor of science degree‚ magna cum laude‚ from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2003 with a major in professional aeronautics and minors in business administration and aviation safety. He was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science (the Air National Guard Commissioning Program)‚ where he was a distinguished graduate and received the Citizen-Soldier award. He also attended the Community College of the Air Force‚ focusing on technical and avionics training. After completion of C-130H Initial Co-Pilot Training‚ he joined the N.C. Air National Guard as a co-pilot‚ and later completed Aircraft Commander Training. He deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan)‚ accumulating more than 200 combat flying hours. As an enlisted man he had served with the South Carolina Air National Guard from 1996 to 2000 as an F-16 Electrical/Environmental System Mechanic.
Major McCormick was awarded the Air Medal with one device‚ the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Air Force Combat Action Medal‚ as well as campaign and expeditionary awards.
Major McCormick was killed on July 1‚ 2012‚ in the crash of the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) 7 mission to fight wildfires in South Dakota. He was 36 years old and leaves behind his wife‚ Heather‚ and four children‚ Luke‚ Thomas‚ Henry‚ and Margaret.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Keith Mikeal‚ North Carolina Air National Guard‚ of Mooresville‚ North Carolina‚ was a member of the 156th Airlift Squadron of the 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard‚ stationed near Charlotte‚ North Carolina. He also served as the Chief of Standardization and Evaluation of the North Carolina Air National Guard.
Lt. Col. Mikeal grew up in Clinton‚ Tennessee‚ attending Clinton Elementary and High School. After graduation‚ he attended the University of North Carolina-Charlotte on a swimming scholarship‚ where he was a three-year letterman and captain of the varsity swim team. While in college he was a member of the Air Force ROTC and was the unit’s Distinguished Graduate. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology‚ was commissioned as a second lieutenant and‚ most importantly‚ met his wife‚ Marlo. He served on active duty for ten years before joining the Air National Guard.
During his career‚ Lt. Col. Mikeal had five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan‚ where he flew C-130 transport planes and participated in Operations Iraqi Freedom‚ Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan)‚ Joint Forge (in Bosnia-Herzegovina)‚ Jump Start (Mexico-U.S. border security) and Restore Focus. During his career he earned‚ among many others‚ the Meritorious Service Medal‚ the Air Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters‚ the Air Force Commendation Medal‚ and the Humanitarian Service Medal‚ all while contemporaneously earning a master’s degree in aero science technology.
Lt. Col. Mikeal passed away on July 1‚ 2012‚ while piloting a C-130 transport plane on the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) 7 mission to fight wildfires in South Dakota. He was 42 years old and is survived by his wife of 20 years‚ Marlo; a daughter‚ Amanda; and a son‚ Liam. In honor of his many accomplishments in community service and swimming‚ the community center swimming pool in Clinton‚ Tennessee‚ has been renamed as the Paul Mikeal Aquatic Center.
Paul was a devoted and loving husband‚ father‚ and son‚ an optimist‚ and a fine officer.