HANSCOM (CBS) – Department of Defense officials have identified two Hanscom airmen who were killed in a crash at an Afghanistan airfield.
In total, six U.S. airmen and several civilians died Thursday when a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft crashed just after taking off from the Jalalabad Airfield.
Two of the airmen had been deployed from Hanscom Air Force Base.
On Saturday, the Department of Defense identified them as Senio Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, of Pensacola, Fla., and Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, of McDonough, Georgia.
Both airmen were on the fly-away security team, known as FAST. During missions, they flew on aircrafts and protected the aircrew, passengers and cargo on board.
Joseph Bincarousky, 66th Security Forces Squadron Commander Major, said both of the airmen had been nominated for early promotion.
“These Airmen were rock stars,” he said. “Their enthusiasm and dedication inspired peers and unit leadership alike. This is the type of young Airman the Air Force needs more of; their absence is palpable. Now it’s incumbent upon us as leaders to take the example they’ve given us and impress it upon others. They’ll be sorely missed by their fellow defenders here, and I’m extremely grateful for and humbled by their service. My heart goes out to their families and loved ones.”
The remains of the two airmen will be flown back to the United States, though the date has not yet been determined.
“Senior Airman Nathan Sartain and Airman 1st Class Kcey Ruiz were critical to our mission here of delivering airpower on the combat frontier, and both were topnotch performers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Derick Stepp, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron manager. “They were consummate professionals and their loss is a loss for our squadron, their home station units, and our Air Force. They were the very finest of Airmen and their loss has impacted those who worked with them here and at their home station. They will always be a part of our family.”