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Press Release
June 27, 2007
STATEMENT NOTES FROM 142ND PRESS CONFERENCE
 
Comments provided by Col Steven D. Gregg, 142nd Fighter Wing Commander.
Good Morning –

As you know, the 142d Fighter Wing lost of one of our finest yesterday in an F-15 jet fighter mishap over the Pacific Ocean.

It is with my deepest regret that I must announce the loss of Maj. Gregory D. Young, 34, from St Helens, Ore. - a highly respected officer, gifted pilot, father, and friend. We ask that your thoughts and prayers be with him and his family. We request that the public respect the family's desire for privacy during their time of grief.

The US Coast Guard located Maj Young's remains at approximately 6:10 PM yesterday evening in the aircraft debris field located approximately 35 miles west of Cannon Beach. At the request of Maj Young's family, we delayed our public announcement until this morning to give his family time to notify friends and loved ones in an appropriate manner.

Our search has transitioned to a recovery operation. We are working with the US Navy to determine the feasibility of recovering as much of the wreckage as possible. It is my understanding that the ocean is approximately 700-1700 feet deep at the mishap location. As has been reported, the aircraft was destroyed on impact. While the US Coast Guard is on site participating in the recovery, there is the possibly that pieces of the wreckage may was ashore in the coming weeks. I ask the public that if any parts of the aircraft are discovered to please call local authorities immediately and refrain from touching them. Parts of the F-15 are constructed of carbon fiber and can be hazardous if not handled properly. It is critical that we secure as much of the wreckage as possible to assist the Air Force Safety Investigation.

We would like to highlight the inter-agency cooperation and professionalism of everyone involved in yesterday's search operation. We were able to bring every asset at our countries disposal to bear in our search for Maj Young. I would especially like to thank the US Coast Guard for their timely response. It is my understanding that their rescue helicopters arrived at the scene of the mishap in less than 30 mins.

My heartfelt condolences go out to Maj Young's family for this tragic loss. He was one of our finest – a very talented young man with many years of dedicated service to our country, protection of the freedoms we enjoy today. The 142nd Fighter Wing and the Oregon Air National Guard will deeply miss him.

A memorial service will be planned, but no date has been set.

As additional information becomes available it will be released.

-Comments provided by Brig. Gen Daniel B. O'Hollaren Commander of the Oregon Air National Guard.

GOOD MORNING,

YESTERDAY, THE AIR NATIONAL GUARD LOST A MEMBER OF THEIR FAMILY, AND THE STATE OF OREGON AND THE NATION LOST A TRUE PATRIOT. MAJOR YOUNG DIED DOING WHAT HE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT – FLYING AND DEFENDING FREEDOM.

PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS ONCE SAID, "FREEDOM IS A WONDERFUL THING…AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO DEFEND IT." MAJOR YOUNG DISPLAYED THAT COURAGE EVERY DAY HE PUT ON THE UNIFORM OF HIS COUNTRY. YESTERDAY WAS NO EXCEPTION. YOU AND I GO ABOUT OUR DAILY LIVES BECAUSE MEN LIKE MAJOR YOUNG ARE PRESENT ON THE FRONT LINES AND ARE VIGILANT.

THE PILOTS THAT FLY THESE JETS, THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO METICULOUSLY MAINTAIN THEM AND ALL OF THE SUPPORT TEAM BEHIND THE SCENES, ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST AMERICA HAS TO OFFER. THEY ARE TRAINED TO DO THEIR JOB AND THEY ARE SUPERB IN WHAT THEY DO.

BUT WE MUST NEVER FORGET THIS IS A DANGEROUS BUSINESS. THE NATURE OF FLYING COMBAT FIGHTER AIRCRAFT IS ONE THAT IMPLIES OPERATING ON A RAZOR'S EDGE. BECAUSE THE 142ND FIGHTER WING HAS PERFORMED SO MAGNIFICENTLY FOR SO LONG IN ALL ARENAS, WE MAY BE LULLED INTO A SENSE THAT ALL OF THIS IS ROUTINE AND MUNDANE. YESTERDAY'S EVENT CONFIRMS THAT IT IS NOT.

WE WILL INVESTIGATE EVERY ASPECT OF THIS FLIGHT, LEAVE NO UNANSWERED QUESTION ON THE TABLE AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – LEARN FROM IT. CONCERN FOR THE FAMILY AND SAFETY OF OUR OPERATION IS AND CONTINUES TO BE OUR PRIMARY FOCUS.

PLEASE REMEMBER THE FAMILY IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS AND RESPECT THEIR WISH FOR PRIVACY AT THIS MOST DIFFICULT TIME. THANK YOU.
 
 
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