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In the early morning hours of 4 September 1998, two Pave Hawks of the 66th Rescue Squadron, based at Nellis AFB, Nevada, crashed while conducting a night training operation.  The two Pave Hawk helicopters, flying out of Nellis, were on a training mission over the Nevada desert about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas when they crashed about 1 a.m. Each aircraft had a crew of six on board.

The exercise called for the use of night-vision goggles, and military officials assume crew members were using the goggles at the time of the crash.  The Pave Hawks departed Nellis at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and were due back at 12:30 a.m. Friday. Air Force officials said the helicopters were reported overdue at 1 a.m., and the crash site was located about an hour later.

This page is dedicated to the brave warriors of the 66th Rescue Squadron lost on the night of September 4, 1998.  They were truly the pride of the our nation - the best of the best.  Only through the endeavors of men willing to dare, that others may live, is our country kept free.  They exemplified the those qualities many strive to personify, but so often fall short.  These men never fell short, but rather perservered, accomplished, overcame, and triumphed.  We are all thankful that while most slept peacefully in their warm beds, there remained a chosen few for whom comfort and an easy life simply did not suffice.  It is to those men that we owe an unpayable debt.
 

Family members and friends say good-bye during a burial ceremony for six airmen
Family members and friends say good-bye during a burial ceremony for six airmen killed in the crash of two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, September 3, 1998. Twelve members of the 66th Rescue Squadron were killed in the crash. Six were buried at Arlington National Cemetery October 1, 1998.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Stafford)



Lieutenant General David L. Vesely, Air Force assistant vice chief of staff, presents the

Lieutenant General David L. Vesely, Air Force assistant vice chief of staff, presents the widow of Lieutenant Colonel William H.  Milton IV, Cynthia Milton, an American flag October 1, 1998 at Arlington National Cemetery. Colonel Milton and 11 others were killed in the crash of two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 66th Rescue Squadron while on a routine training mission near Nellis Air Force Base,  Nevada. Six of the men were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. "The men and women of the 66th Rescue Squadron regularly risk their lives so that they may save other lives," said Brigadier General Theodore W. Lay II, 57th Wing commander, Nellis AFB. "This loss serves to remind all of us of the dangers inherent in the defense of our nation."
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Stafford)




Friends, family members and senior leaders pay last respects to six of 12 airmen killed in a crash of two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, September 3, 1998. Twelve airmen were killed in the crash. Six of the airmen were buried at Arlington National Cemetery October 1, 1998.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Stafford)


     
Air Force Rescue Coordination Center - 66th Rescue Squadron
(Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)



HH60G Rescue Helicopter
(Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)



Photo Courtesy of Gary & Julie Wotasik

Buried at BURIED AT: SECTION 34  SITE 3392



See Related Story About Airman First Class Justin Wotasik

Posted: 19 March 1999 Updated: 9 October 2000 Updated: 2 December 2000 Updated: 18 March 2003 Updated: 4 March 2007