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3 National Guard airmen killed in TN plane crash

Master Sgt. Scott Bumpus (Left), Lt. Col. Shelli Huether (Middle) and Capt. Jessica Wright (Right). (Tennessee Air National Guard photos/Released)
September 10, 2020

Three members of the Tennessee Air National Guard were killed in an off-duty plane crash in McMinnville, Tenn. on Tuesday.

Tennessee Air National Guard’s 118th Wing named the deceased airmen as Lt. Col. Shelli Huether, Capt. Jessica Wright, and Senior Master Sgt. Scott Bumpus in a statement on Wednesday. All three airmen were members of the 118th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group.

“Our hearts are breaking today. Yesterday three of our members passed away when the small aircraft they were flying crashed in McMinnville, Tennessee,” the 118th Wing statement reads. “Lt. Col. Shelli Huether, Capt. Jessica Wright, and Senior Master Sgt. Scott Bumpus were all members of the 118th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families during this very difficult time. #RIP.”

The 118th Wing statement did not provide specifics about the cause of the crash.

According to News4 Nashville, the plane, a Piper PA 28, took off from the McMinnville Airport around 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. A witness reported seeing the plane attempting to return to the airport when the crash occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board told News4 the plane was registered to the Lebanon Flying Club, which is a non-profit club based at Lebanon Municipal Airport.

“Words can not begin to explain the shock, grief, pain and dismay we feel having lost three remarkable members of our Guard family,” Col. Todd Wiles, commander of the 118th Wing, said in a statement provided to News4. “All three were dedicated to the service of our nation. Their families are in our hearts and our prayers.”

On Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee expressed his condolences for the deaths of the three airmen.

Lee tweeted, “We are incredibly saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of three Airmen in yesterday’s accident. I ask Tennesseans to join Maria and me in praying for Lt. Col. Shelli Huether, Capt. Jessica Wright, Senior Master Sgt. Scott Bumpus, and their loved ones during this difficult time.”