CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - This week marks one year since a tragic military plane crash in Port Wentworth.
All nine airmen on board lost their lives. They served out of the 156th Airlift Wing in Puerto Rico, but they frequently trained at the 165th in Savannah.
The names of the fallen airmen are as follows:
- Maj. Jose Rafael Roman - Pilot. He left behind two sons and his wife, who was pregnant at the time.
- Maj. Carlos Pérez Serra – Navigator – 23 years of service - from Canóvanas, PR. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and daughter.
- 1st Lt. David Albandoz – Co-Pilot – 16 years of service - from PR, recently residing in Madison, Alabama. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
- Senior Master Sgt. Jan Paravisini – Mechanic – 21 years of service - from Canóvanas, PR. He is survived by two daughters and son.
- Master Sgt. Jean Audiffred – 16 years of service - from Carolina, PR. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
- Master Sgt. Mario Braña – Flight Engineer – 17 years of service - from Bayamón, PR. He is survived by his mother and daughter.
- Master Sgt. Víctor Colón – 22 years of service - from Santa Isabel, PR. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
- Master Sgt. Eric Circuns – Loadmaster – 31 years of service - from Rio Grande, PR. He is survived by his wife, two step-daughters, and son.
- Senior Airman Roberto Espada – three years of service - from Salinas, PR. He is survived by his grandmother.
Nearby surveillance video shows the plane didn’t make it far before catastrophic engine failure sent the plane in a nosedive towards Highway 21. The days and weeks that followed are a blur to many in this military-heavy community. Flags flew near the site of the crash in honor of the victims.
The city and military are coordinating a special, public memorial service in Port Wentworth.
“The purpose of the memorial service on May 2 is to give people living here a chance to say thank you once again for the service of the nine airmen. It’s also a chance to show their families they won’t be forgotten. Family members of all nine airmen are expected to be in Port Wentworth to mark the somber anniversary,” said 2nd Lt. Brandon Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, 165th Airlift Wing.
The Memorial Service will be held Thursday, May 2, at 1:30 p.m. It includes a moment of silence and speeches from people reflecting on that tragic day.