July 12, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 117 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
HONORING THE FALLEN OF THE ``YANKY 72'' CRASH; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 117
(Senate - July 12, 2018)
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[Pages S4943-S4944] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING THE FALLEN OF THE ``YANKY 72'' CRASH Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, I would like to call attention to a special event occurring this Saturday in Mississippi to honor 16 brave servicemembers who lost their lives a year ago in a tragic military aircraft crash. I look forward to joining family members, Marine Corps leaders, and the people of Leflore County, MS, to honor the 15 marines and one Navy corpsman who died on July 10, 2017, when their Marine Corps KC-130T ``Yanky 72'' crashed near Itta Bena, MS. We have a responsibility to ensure we preserve the memory of those who gave that last full measure of devotion for our Nation. Those we lost last July include: Cpl Daniel Baldassare, SSgt Robert Cox, Capt. Sean Elliott, Maj. Caine Goyette, GySgt Sergeant Mark Hopkins, GySgt Brendan Johnson, Sgt Julian Kevianne, SSgt William Kundrat, Sgt Chad Jenson, Sgt Talon Leach, Sgt Owen Lennon, Sgt Joseph Murray, Cpl Collin Schaaff, Sgt Dietrich Schmieman, SSgt Joshua Snowden, and PO 2 Class Ryan Lohrey. Immediately after the accident and since then, first responders and the citizens of Mississippi rallied in support of the fallen. The unveiling of a permanent monument will culminate a significant effort in Mississippi and across the Nation to memorialize these brave young men. I am proud of the people of my State for their commitment to remember the fallen and to support their families. A recent Greenwood Commonwealth editorial thoughtfully expresses the significance of this work. I ask unanimous consent that the July 11, 2018, Greenwood Commonwealth editorial titled ``Open arms for families of the fallen'' be printed in the Record. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From the Greenwood Commonwealth, July 11, 2018] Open Arms for Families of Fallen This weekend promises to be a highly emotional one for the families of the 16 servicemen who lost their lives a year ago when the transport plane on which they were flying fell out of the sky for reasons still not publicly disclosed. It also could be a very meaningful weekend for the greater Greenwood community, [[Page S4944]] which has become associated with these 16 by a tragically sad quirk of fate. When the KC-130T with the call name of Yanky 72 was flying over the Mississippi Delta on July 10, 2017, no one on board or on the ground below could have imagined that its final destination would be a remote soybean field on the western edge of Leflore County rather than an airstrip in California. It was a horrific accident, claiming the lives of everyone on board--15 Marines and one Navy corpsman. Some 200 family members of those who died, plus a large number of the fallen servicemen's comrades, are expected to start arriving Thursday in Leflore County. For the next 72 hours or so, they will be our guests while they remember, grieve and perhaps connect with some of the good people of this community who, though they didn't personally know the 16, responded as if they did. Today, the Commonwealth publishes a special section that not only explains what's planned to memorialize the 16, but also gives some insight into who the 16 were, and tells how some of their families have coped with their loss since that fateful afternoon. Certainly, service in the military comes with risks. Everyone who signs up for it knows it, as do all of their friends and relatives. But death is not an ordinary outcome when you're just flying from one base to another. It would be hard to get one's mind around losing a loved one in a warzone, but losing one so unexpectedly as this has to be all that much tougher. A large group of state and local volunteers has organized the Yanky 72 Memorial Weekend in a way that it hopes will give some emotional aid to those who are grieving, while also reassuring them that their sons, brothers, husbands and boyfriends have not been forgotten, nor will they be. The families will be given the space to grieve in private, to visit the crash scene, to share their experiences with others who had relatives on that plane, to do whatever it is that would give them some consolation. Some may want to be left alone; some may want to connect. We know this community will respect their wishes and do whatever it takes to make their weekend one in which they feel surrounded by sympathy and love. Saturday's public events, including the unveiling of a permanent memorial in Itta Bena, will provide a way to acknowledge appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice paid for by these 16. It would be wonderful if a large number of citizens from this community turned out. For some of the fallen servicemen's families who come, this may be their first and only trip into the Delta. Others may make it a place of personal pilgrimage. Whichever occurs, let's hope that we become the locus not of painful memories but of comforting ones. ____________________