Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Remains Returned Home For F-16 Pilot Killed Protecting Ground Troops In Iraq In 2006
In the small world that is the Air Force, events that happen around the globe often have a local connection.
Such is the case with the story of the late Maj. Troy Gilbert, an F-16 fighter pilot who was killed in combat in Iraq in 2006. Earlier this week, American forces brought Gilbert’s remains home to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where his family stood by in silent tribute as his flag-draped casket was unloaded from the military aircraft.
From 2009 to 2011, Gilbert’s widow, Ginger, and his five children lived in Northwest Florida while Ginger’s second husband, Col. Jim Ravella, served as the commander of the 33rd Operations Group at Eglin Air Force Base.
Maj. Troy Gilbert, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, was killed Nov. 27, 2006, in an F-16 crash 30 miles southwest of Balad Air Base, Iraq. Gilbert was the standardization and evaluation chief for the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group and was deployed from the 309th Fighter Squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.U.S. Air Force photo.
“I met Ginger in 2009 when she and her new husband, Jim, were stationed here,” said Beach Community Bank President and CEO Tony Hughes, who serves on the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Civic Leaders Program. “I did not have the chance to meet Troy, but I knew all about his story and how he died a hero, literally saving many American lives against a numerically superior force.”
The long road to Gilbert’s homecoming began Nov. 27, 2006. According to a report from the Secretary of the Air Force's Public Affairs Office, Gilbert, who had deployed to Iraq with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, got a call that an American helicopter had been shot down near Taji. The helicopter crew and coalition forces who were supporting them were outnumbered by enemy insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns mounted on trucks, mortars and small arms.
Although they were low on fuel, Gilbert, whose call sign was “Trojan,” and his wingman headed toward the fight. Flying in at low altitude, Gilbert used his Gatling gun to strafe the enemy forces, destroying one of their trucks and forcing others to flee.
On his second low-altitude pass, Gilbert crashed while continuing to fire upon the enemy. He is credited with saving the lives of the helicopter crew and the coalition forces supporting them.
Insurgents in the area pulled the pilot’s body from the crash scene before U.S. forces could reach him. Although a small amount of his remains were ultimately recovered from the aircraft and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Gilbert’s family had to live with the knowledge that most of his body remained in Iraq. To make matters worse, Al Qaeda forces used his body in propaganda videos.
During the years that followed, his widow never gave up hope that Gilbert’s body might one day be recovered. For a short period following the official end of the Iraq War in 2011, however, it looked like efforts to look for him might end. Because the small amount of remains had been recovered, Gilbert was officially listed as killed in action rather than missing.
She rallied friends and supporters to contact lawmakers and anyone else who would listen about her late husband’s case. As a result, the Pentagon announced in February 2012 that it would make a policy exception and would continue to search for Gilbert’s remains.
Four years later, on Aug. 28, an Iraqi tribal leader contacted one of the U.S. Special Operations forces serving in the country as an adviser. The man said his tribe had Gilbert’s remains and turned over evidence supporting his claim.
On Sept. 7, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System confirmed the evidence was legitimate, and the military began the process of claiming Gilbert’s remains.
Hughes said he thought local residents who remembered Ginger would like to know the ending to the decade-long story.
“I am so happy for Ginger that Troy is back in the country he gave his life to defend,” Hughes said. “And I am so proud of our military, particularly our Air Force and the Special Operations troops who found Troy’s remains after all these years. We never leave an airman behind.”
© 2016 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Army Staff Sgt. Albert Leon Mampre, who served during World War II with the famed Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division depicted in the HBO series 'Band of Brothers,' was laid to rest on June 15th, the Army announced
Mampre, who died on May 31 at 97 years old, was the last living medic from Easy Company, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A number of soldiers assigned to his unit provided an honor guard for his funeral service.
NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine which killed 298 people, in a trial to start in the Netherlands next March, an investigation team said on Wednesday.
The suspects are likely to be tried in absentia, however, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.
"These suspects are seen to have played an important role in the death of 298 innocent civilians", said Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.
"Although they did not push the button themselves, we suspect them of close cooperation to get the (missile launcher) where it was, with the aim to shoot down an airplane."
Navy SEAL under investigation for allegedly manipulating (and hitting on) the widow of the Green Beret he helped kill
A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.
The push finally allow troops to sue the military over medical malpractice just got a major boost in Congress
A senator has taken up the cause to negate a controversial court ruling that bars service members from suing the federal government in cases of medical malpractice by military doctors.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."