Talon 13, Chariot 55 remembered

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michelle Vickers
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Air Commandos and family members gathered at the Commando Hangar on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 10 for the 10th anniversary memorial ceremony of the Talon 13 and Chariot 55.

Chariot 55 was scheduled for a nighttime exfiltration mission near Gardez, Afghanistan when the MC-130H Combat Talon II crashed shortly after take-off. Three of the ten service members on Chariot 55 lost their lives June 12, 2002.

In the middle of conducting a training flight from Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads to Borinquen Air National Guard Base in Puerto Rico Talon 13 crashed into a mountainside. All10 aircrew members on the MC-130H Combat Talon II paid the ultimate sacrifice in the incident August 7, 2002.

Nine of the Air Commandos lost were members of the 15th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field.

"Freedom, courage and sacrifice are constant themes in our profession of arms- the former is impossible without the latter-- if only that were different," said Lt. Col. Richard Carrell, commander of the 15th SOS. "We all owe a great debt of gratitude to those who lost their lives so that we may live free."

The guest speaker for the ceremony was Col. Jim Slife, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, who spoke on the evolution of the MC-130H Combat Talon II and its important role during recent operations.

"Those Airmen lost their lives building the capability that has proved so important for Air Force Special Operations Command and for the United States of America in the intervening 10 years," Slife said.

To conclude the ceremony, the Gold Star family members of the Airmen were presented a wreath in appreciation for their family's sacrifice. The event was also marked by a flyover of a MC-130H Combat Talon II.