Honoring the forever deployed

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Forty years ago, the “Take Charge and Move Out” community suffered a great loss.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. June 21, 1977, all 16 members from Crew 4, TACAMO Pacific Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE paid the ultimate price for freedom when their EC-130Q aircraft crashed within a mile of the runway off Wake Island. 

The TACAMO Community Veterans Association honored the fallen on June 8 with a dedication of the TACAMO Veterans Monument in Honolulu at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, informally known as the Punchbowl.

“Everyone who has ever served in TACAMO knows the PAC Crew 4 story; knows their names and knows their faces,” said Commander Adam Hancock, operations officer of Strategic Communications Wing ONE and former VQ-3 commanding officer.  Sailors from VQ-3 PAC Crew 2 stood in place of the fallen to honor and remember their sacrifice.

“This memorial here in the Punchbowl will serve as a reminder to all Americans that 16 brave Sailors served their country with honor and gave their all for the mission in defense of freedom.  Let us not forget their sacrifice,” said Hancock. “We salute you and the service of TACAMO PAC Crew 4 - forever deployed.”

The ceremony ended with a flag presentation to Crew 2, a 21 gun salute, the playing of Taps and Amazing Grace as the crew departed, honoring our fallen members who remain forever deployed. TCVA’s Mission for the past five years has been to find all of the Crew 4 families and provide an explanation, memorial and closure for them.