As most of you know, a friend of ours was killed in an F-16 crash in Iraq last Monday. He leaves behind a wife and five children. He was flying a combat mission, bringing aerial support to American ground troops when apparently a mechanical issue caused his plane to go down. A week later, as I continue to think about Troy and Ginger and their family, my heart is still deeply saddened by their loss. It is unfathomable to think about Ginger and her children and what they must be going through. There is nothing that I can do to make the situation any better, but I have made a vow to pray for Ginger and her family every single day for the next year. I can’t go to the memorial in Arizona (Kelly, please pass on our condolences), so I wanted to write a little tribute, if you will.
Troy was absolutely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Always smiling, he had an infectious personality – people were drawn to him. He loved his family, God, and his church. My fondest memories include the surprise 30th birthday party he threw for Ginger at his parents’ house and the tour he gave me of Sheppard Air Force Base. When I was pursuing Officer’s Training School in the Air Force (6 years ago) and giving thought to applying as a pilot or navigator, Troy took me all over the pilots’ main building and showed me everything he could. He even got special permission to let me try out the instrument simulator – VERY COOL! What I remember most about that tour is Troy’s genuine interest in wanting to help me in anyway he could. He truly was a great guy who put others before him. I guess we’ll never know the exact details of this tragedy, but we know his F-16 flew erratically before nose-diving and he never ejected. If only for my own personal reasons, I’d like to speculate (100% speculation here) that American ground troops were under heavy fire and needed help from the air…so Troy answered to his call of duty and flew into enemy territory to fight off the insurgents to save American lives when his plane suddenly malfunctioned. Though he tried, he couldn’t gain control of his plane, so he steered it away from American troops to crash without injuring anyone else. I’m sure you could find holes in this speculated theory, but this sounds like something Troy would do, unselfishly putting others before him.
May God continue to bless the lives of others as a result of the life Troy lived, and may God take care of and begin to heal his family.