Aaron Malone 2010-07-28
Michael H. Freyholtz
Jeffrey A. Hill
Thomas E. Cicardo
4 killed in plane crash at Alaska military base
7/29/2010, By RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press Writer
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AP) - Four airmen were killed when a cargo plane
crashed during a training run at an Alaska Air Force base, sending a fireball hundreds
of feet into the air, military authorities and witnesses said.
Three of the men were in the Alaska Air National Guard and the fourth was on active
duty at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Air Force Col. John McMullen said Thursday. Their
names have not been released pending notification of relatives.
"We lost four members of our Arctic Warrior family and it's a loss felt across our
entire joint installation," McMullen said in a statement, referring to Elmendorf
and its adjacent Army base, Fort Richardson.
The C-17 was from the 3rd Wing, based at Elmendorf near downtown Anchorage. The
crash happened about 6:14 p.m. Wednesday during a training demonstration for an
upcoming weekend air show, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins said.
Anchorage Fire Dept. Captain Bryan Grella said his crew was just finishing dinner
at about 6:30 p.m. at the downtown fire station when something caught his eye.
"It was a big, gray plume of smoke, and I saw a fireball go up in it," he said.
The fireball extended about 750 feet in the air, he estimated.
The crash is the second in Anchorage this summer. In June, a child was killed and
four others burned when a small plane crashed after taking off from the city'ssmall-airplane
Days after the June plane crash, a small plane landed on a busy highway in Anchorage.
There were no injuries.
Gov. Sean Parnell and Sen. Mark Begich issued statements late Wednesday expressing
sadness over the crash and sending well-wishes to members of the military.
"Alaskans are very connected to the military, and our thoughts and prayers are with
Alaska's Air Force family," Parnell said.
Biographies: Crewmen killed in C-17 crash
Published: July 30th, 2010
Military authorities on Friday released the identities, with brief biographies,
of the four airmen who died Wednesday when a C-17 cargo jet crashed on Elmendorf
Air Force Base. The men - three of them members of the Alaska Air National Guard,
and one of them assigned to an Elmendorf squadron - had years of flying and military
experience behind them, including service in Afghanistan and Iraq. Here are the
bios as released by the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs:
MAJOR AARON W. MALONE, 36
The 249th Airlift Squadron of the Alaska Air National Guard mourns the loss of one
of the Air Force's premier C-17 Pilots, Major Aaron "Zippy" Malone.
Major Malone served his country with distinction for more than 12 years in the Air
National Guard. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the Academy
of Military Science in April 1998 and graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training
at Vance Air Force Base in August 1999 with his Air Force pilot wings.
He was initially assigned to the Iowa Air National Guard, but later transferred
to the 186th Fighter Squadron, Montana Air National Guard, where he flew the F-16
"Fighting Falcon". During his tenure with the Montana Air National Guard, he flew
air sovereignty missions in the 9/11 aftermath for Operation NOBLE EAGLE and deployed
to the Korean Peninsula.
With Alaska being his home, Major Malone transferred into the Alaska Air National
Guard in 2008, when they started to fly the C-17 "Globemaster III" aircraft. Major
Malone took an extended military leave of absence from his civilian employer, Alaska
Airlines, to help stand-up the new 249th Airlift Squadron. Major Malone was a highly
gifted pilot and rapidly upgraded to Instructor Pilot in the C-17.
Major Malone was a Senior Pilot with more than 2100 military flying hours in the
T-37, T-38, F-16 and C-17 aircraft. He routinely flew combat missions in support
of Operations ENDURING FREDOOM and IRAQI FREDOOM in the C-17 aircraft.
Major Malone's home town of record is Anchorage, Alaska.
MAJOR MICHAEL H. FREYHOLTZ, 34
The 249th Airlift Squadron of the Alaska Air National Guard mourns the passing of
one the Air Force's premier C-17 Pilots, Major Michael H. Freyholtz.
Major Freyholtz joined the United States Air Force in May of 1998 and received his
officer commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corp program. He attended
Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force, where he received his Air Force
pilot wings in May of 2000.
Major Freyholtz was selected to fly the C-17 "Globemaster III" out of pilot training
and attended initial C-17 qualification training at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
While on active duty, he was stationed at Charleston Air Force Base and McChord
Air Force Base as a C-17 Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot and Flight Examiner.
Major Freyholtz left active duty to move to Alaska and join the Alaska Air National
Guard in May of 2007. He was the first outside pilot hired for the new 249th Airlift
Squadron and was highly instrumental in its stand up. Initially, he served in a
Drill Status Guardsmen capacity and worked for Boeing as a full-time C-17 simulator
instructor. Later, he became a full-time Technician in the 249th Airlift Squadron
and led its standardization/evaluation section. He was a very highly regarded C-17
Pilot and the unit's first C-17 Flight Examiner Pilot and Air Show Demonstration
Pilot. Most recently, he accompanied the United States Air Force Thunderbirds throughout
the Pacific and demonstrated the capabilities of the C-17 to thousands of air show
Major Freyholtz accumulated more than 3500 military flying hours in the T-37, T-1
and C-17 aircraft. He flew 608 combat hours in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM
and IRAQI FREEDOM for which he received the Air Medal.
Major Freyholtz home town of record is Hines, Minnesota.
CAPTAIN JEFFREY A. HILL, 31
The 517th Airlift Squadron mourns the passing of an outstanding professional Airman,
Captain Jeffrey A. Hill.
Captain Jeffrey Hill was a C-17A Instructor Pilot and Operations Flight Commander,
517th Airlift Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Jeff began his military
career in 1998 as an enlisted aircraft maintainer in the 12th Fighter Squadron,
Elmendorf AFB. He was a phenomenal Airman and he loved being an Airman in Alaska's
After earning his commission in December 2002, he attended pilot training at Columbus
AFB, MS. A gifted aviator, he remained in Mississippi as a T-1 instructor pilot
to train the next generation of Air Force pilots.
In 2007, Jeff's dream became reality and he was assigned to stand up the new C-17A
squadron in Alaska. Jeff was custom made for the challenging environment. He absolutely
loved the outdoors. He was always traveling off-road, hunting and fishing, camping
and hiking. His assignment to the 517th was the kind of challenge he thrived on.
As a new C-17A pilot, with T-1 instructor experience, he accelerated through challenging
training programs and leadership roles to ultimately become the Operations Flight
Commander and instructor in the tactical airlift mission. He was an amazing flight
commander who took on additional squadron leadership roles.
He reinvigorated the booster club and motivated young airmen to get and stay fit.
He spent countless time, mentoring younger Airman to give back what the 12th leadership
had given him. Jeff's trademark was a positive attitude. His happiness and smile
were infectious. Each problem was fun, each discussion was full of humor and walking
away without gut laugh was rare.
His perfectly cheerful demeanor was essential to his new squadron. His laugh and
sense of humor is missed at home and work. Those in our small, yet global Air Force
are lost with words for the void created at his loss. We loved Jeff and his character
and happy example will be remembered forever.
MASTER SERGEANT THOMAS E. CIRCADO, 47
The 249th Airlift Squadron of the Alaska Air National Guard mourns the passing of
one the Air Force's premier Loadmasters, Senior Master Sergeant Thomas E. Cicardo.
Senior Master Sergeant served his country with high distinction for more than 28
years in the Armed Forces of the United States. Prior to joining the Alaska Air
National Guard, Senior Master Sergeant served in the US Marine Corp, US Army, and
the Air Force Reserve. He joined the Alaska Air National Guard in September of 1997,
where his wide ranging military background made him an invaluable asset.
He spent his first eleven years in the Alaska Air National Guard in the 210th and
211th Rescue Squadrons, where he flew in an HC-130 aircraft. During his tenure in
rescue, he partcipated in 58 Search and Rescue missions in the State of Alaska,
in which he was credited with saving 66 lives and assisting 13 others to safety.
He deployed multiple times in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, flying combat
search and rescue missions in Afghanistan and personnel recovery missions in the
Horn of Africa.
In 2008, Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo was handpicked to be part of the C-17 initial
cadre to stand-up the 249th Airlift Squadron. Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo checked
out in the C-17 "Globemaster III" aircraft and quickly upgraded to Instructor and
Flight Examiner Loadmaster. He helped build the training and standardization/evaluation
functions in the squadron. His efforts were instrumental in the squadron receiving
an "Outstanding" rating during a recent Pacific Air Force's Standardization and
Evaluation inspection, where was recognized as an "Outstanding Performer."
Over the course of his military career, Senior Master Sergeant Cicardo accumulated
5400 flying hours in the C-141, C-130, HC-130 and C-17 aircraft and visited countless
countries. He was a highly decorated combat veteran receiving more than 30 awards
and decorations, to include the Afghanistan Campaign medal, the Air Medal, and the
Meritorious Service Medal.