Air Commandos from U.S. Air Force’s 352nd Special Operations Wing, stationed at RAF Mildenhall, took part in a remembrance flyover, April, 2, 2019, over Albania to honor the nine aircrew who lost their lives during the Wrath-11 crash.
“The loss of our fellow Air Commandos will never be forgotten, and memorializing the crew of WRATH-11 on this day is one way we honor their legacy,” said Lt. Col. Martin Weeks, commander of the 67th Special Operations Squadron, which is assigned to the 352nd SOW. “We are all honored to memorialize these men and their courageous sacrifice. We have such pride in those who came before us and how they committed themselves to our specialized mission.”
In March 2005, approximately 115 airmen from the 352nd Special Operations Group, which has since transitioned to the 352nd SOW, were in Albania conducting Joint Combined Exchange Training with the Albanian military. The JCET training included the MC-130H Combat Talon II aircrews flying over mountainous terrain using night vision goggles, low-level flying using Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance Radar, airdrops, and executing self-contained approaches.
On March 31, 2005, two MC-130Hs and one MC-130P Shadow were participating in a night training mission. At about 11:05 a.m., a 7th Special Operations Squadron MC-130H (Tail No. 87-0127), call sign WRATH-11, crashed into a mountain, resulting in the loss of all nine aircrew aboard.
Below are the nine fallen comrades:
From the 7th SOS
U.S. Air Force Capt. Todd R. Bracy, pilot, 34, of Murphysboro, Illinois
U.S. Air Force Capt. James S. Cronin, navigator, 32, of Oak Grove Village, Illinois
U.S. Air Force Capt. Surender D. Kothakota, co-pilot, 30, of Fayetteville, North Carolina
U.S. Air Force Capt. Gil C. Williamson, electronic warfare officer, 31, of Dike, Texas
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Ray C. Owens, Jr., electronic warfare officer, 32, of Birmingham, Alabama
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence B. Gray, flight engineer, 40, of Chester, South Carolina
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James R. Henry, loadmaster, 30, of Valparaiso, Florida
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick R. Pentico, loadmaster, 22, of Hanksville, Utah
From Detachment 2, 25th Intelligence Squadron
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Glenn P. Lastes, direct support operator, 39, of Southington, Connecticut
“The history of Wrath-11 has an enormous impact on Air Force Special Operations,” said a Technical Sgt. loadmaster with the, 67th SOS. “How we operate this aircraft in real-world scenarios is instrumental to our community. It’s important to remember them not just on this day, but in everything we do as an organization.”
The 352nd SOW Air Commandos have a long history and will continue to pay respect to those who came before them.
“The crewmembers operated under the mindset of ‘Here I am, send me,’’ the mission commander said. “This motto is placed on their monument here on base. They each were ready both personally and professionally to execute the mission, anytime, anyplace.”