The Puerto Rico Air National Guard on Thursday afternoon released the names of nine Guard members killed Wednesday when the WC-130H transport aircraft carrying them crashed near Hilton Head Airport in Savannah, Georgia.
Killed in the crash were:
- Maj. José R. Román Rosado, the pilot
- Maj. Carlos Pérez Serra, the navigator
- 1st Lt. David Albandoz, a co-pilot
- Senior Master Sgt. Jan Paravisini, a mechanic
- Master Sgt. Mario Braña, a flight engineer
- Master Sgt. Eric Circuns, loadmaster
- Master Sgt. Jean Audriffred, crew member
- Master Sgt. Víctor Colón, crew member
- Senior Airman Roberto Espada, crew member
Rosado was from Manati, Puerto Rico, according to the release. He had 18 years of service and leaves behind a wife and two sons.
Serra had served 23 years and was from Canóvanas, Puerto Rico, the release said. He is survived by a wife, two sons and a daughter.
Albandoz, also from Puerto Rico, had been living in Madison, Alabama, officials said. He had served 16 years and is survived by a wife and a daughter.
Paravisini, also from Canóvanas, had 21 years of service and is survived by two daughters and a son, according to the release.
Braña, from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, served 17 years and leaves behind his mother and daughter.
Circuns, from Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, had served 31 years and is survived by a wife, two step-daughters and a son, according to the release.
Audriffred, from Carolina, Puerto Rico, served 16 years and is survived by a wife and two sons, officials said.
Colón, from Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, had served 22 years and is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Espada, from Salinas, Puerto Rico, had served three years and is survived by his grandmother.
The aircraft that crashed was from the 156th Airlift Wing, an Air National Guard unit out of Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Officials said in the release that the Puerto Rico National Guard would continue to support families for as long as needed as they grieve the losses. "Taking care of our fallen Airmen's families and loved ones is our top priority," Air National Guard Adjutant General of Puerto Rico Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera said in a statement. "We are fully supporting them and providing all the assistance and resources of the Puerto Rico National Guard during this difficult moment."
The aging plane, an older, modified version of the C-130 Hercules, was reportedly more than 60 years old and on its final flight before retirement when it crashed.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the tragedy.
Earlier Thursday, the Pentagon pushed back against congressional calls for broader investigations of the recent rash of deadly military aircraft accidents, including the WC-130 crash.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' current thinking is that the investigations are best left to the individual services rather than through the appointment of a blue-ribbon commission or other type of broader investigation, said Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson.
"I'm not aware of any discussion of a department-wide review," White said at a Pentagon briefing. She said the individual services take each incident seriously and "the secretary has confidence in the service leadership."
On Tuesday, a day before the WC-130 incident, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, sent a letter to colleagues asking them to join him in demanding a review of how the military conducts aircraft accident investigations and whether more wide-ranging investigations are needed.
"We're not certain that the service branches are adequately identifying the source and cause fast enough for us to be able to remedy them, putting more people at risk," Turner told the Dayton Daily News. "I think all the service branches have been too slow to respond."
Last month, a Marine AV-8B Harrier jet crashed at Djibouti's Ambouli International Airport. The pilot ejected safely. Hours later, a Marine CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter suffered structural damage during a landing.
Both incidents happened during Alligator Dagger, an annual amphibious exercise off the coast of Djibouti.
In March, a Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Fla., killing the two pilots. In the same week, four Marines were killed in a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash in Southern California.
-- Richard Sisk contributed to this story.