Updated: May 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm
Two Colorado Springs airmen died in a Kyrgyzstan crash, the Defense Department confirmed Sunday.
Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, Capt. Victoria A. Pickney, 27, both from Colorado Springs, were two of three airmen killed May 3 when a KC-135 refueling plane went down outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Also killed was Tech. Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 27, of Bakersfield, Calif.
They were assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash.
Voss, a native of Boerne, Texas, graduated from the Air Force Academy, the Air Force said. The Pentagon said he listed his hometown as Colorado Springs.
Pinckney, 27, a native of Palmdale, Calif., was shown in a photo released by Fairchild Air Force base holding her now 7-month-old son Gabriel. Fairchild Air Force base said she listed her hometown as Colorado Springs.
The Air Force said the their aircraft crashed just after takeoff.
“All three of these patriots were members of our proud 93d Air Refueling Squadron,” the Air Force said on Facebook. “These brave Airmen leave behind an incredible legacy and show what we all know, that freedom is never free.”
Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan has been the hub for American air traffic into Afghanistan for more than a decade. Tankers like the KC-135 are used to keep fighters and bombers fueled as they loiter over Afghanistan, ready to strike if needed.
The KC-135 is the oldest aircraft in the Air Force inventory, with most of the fleet delivered during the Eisenhower administration. It is a military version of the venerable Boeing 707.
The Air Force has ordered new aircraft to replace the KC-135s. The KC-46 is a military version of the Boeing 767.