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.