NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1209-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2006
DoD Announces Air Force Airman as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown
The Department of Defense announced today the identity of an airman listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN).
Major Troy L. Gilbert was the pilot of an Air Force F-16C engaged in support of coalition ground combat operations that crashed approximately 20 miles northwest of Baghdad November 27, 2006.
Gilbert is assigned to the 309th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and currently deployed to the 332nd ExpeditionaryWing, Balad Air Force Base, Iraq.
An investigation is ongoing.
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1225-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2006
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Major Troy L. Gilbert, 34, of Litchfield Park, Arizona, died November 27, 2006, when his F-16C fighter crashed 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, Iraq.
Major Gilbert was assigned to the 309th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and was previously carried as “Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown,” awaiting positive DNA identification of remains from the crash site.
29 November 2006:
Tech Graduate Crashes F-16 in Iraq
The whereabouts of a Texas Tech graduate remain unknown after the F-16 he was piloting crashed in Iraq. Military officials say Major Troy Gilbert was firing on targets at a low altitude when his jet went down near Falluja in Iraq Monday. The jet was based out of Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico, which is about 100 miles from Lubbock. DNA samples taken from the scene are being tested.
The 34-year-old has been stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona since March 2004. That's where family and friends made statements today. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel shares the story.
Major Troy Gilbert is a well decorated soldier who was selected to become a Presidential Advance Agent. He would often travel to classified locations to meet Air Force One. But the one thing friends, family and colleagues tell NewsChannel 11 he is most proud of is his time as a father and a husband.
“Troy was first and foremost a wonderful husband and father.” That was the first message family members wanted the public to know about their own personal hero, Major Troy L. Gilbert.
Lieutenant Colonel John Paradiss from Luke Air Force Base read a message from the family stating, “He was highly respected by and deeply loved by so many. At the time of the tragedy during combat operations, he was unselfishly protecting the lives of other American military members. We, his family, cherish the worldwide prayers and support during this extremely difficult time.”
Family members say Troy is a man who always knew what he wanted. He wanted to be a pilot, he also wanted to travel and he wanted a family. Those dreams started coming true when Troy graduated from Texas Tech in 1993 with a degree in international economics. Soon after, he married his college sweetheart, Ginger, and had five children.
His passion as a pilot became airborne after officer training with the Air Force, which lead him to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where he was a pilot instructor and earned the highest ranking honor, the Executive Flying Officer.
“He is an outstanding officer, an outstanding pilot, and an outstanding friend to many people here at Luke. But most importantly, above all else, he treasures his family and is a man of strong faith and conviction,” says Brigadier General Tom Jones, Commander of Luke's 56th Fighter Wing.
A local fund has been set up to benefit Gilbert's five children, two of which are twins, about nine months old. Donations are being accepted at any branch of Lubbock National Bank.
6 December 2006:
Memorial Held for Troy Gilbert
A Texas Tech graduate killed in a plane crash in Iraq was remembered Wednesday. Friends and family attended a memorial for Troy Gilbert in Arizona. A funeral is expected to be next week at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gilbert crashed the F-16 he was flying on November 27th in Iraq. He leaves behind a wife and five children.
Luke pilot remembered as religious man
1,800 pay tribute to flyer killed in Iraq
Courtesy of the The Arizona Republic
December 6, 2006
Nearly 1,800 mourners, gathered Wednesday to honor a Luke Air Force Base fighter pilot killed in action in Iraq.
The memorial service for Major Troy L. Gilbert, 34, described by associates as a deeply religious man, was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 13720 W. Thomas Road, in Avondale.
His wife, Ginger, the mother of their five children, was escorted inside the spacious church by an Air Force officer, one of hundreds of airmen on hand for the 80-minute service.
“Ginger was the love of his life,” according to remarks in the printed program.
“Wherever they went they were a team, and Troy never took her support or sacrifice for granted. That love eventually blossomed into five beautiful children who stole his heart.”
No matter the demands of his busy life, Gilbert always found time for his wife and children, including helping a set of twins get ready for bed, according to the program.
Officiating at the service was Steve Engram, pastor of Desert Springs Community Church, an El Mirage congregation where Troy Gilbert served in several volunteer capacities, including a Sunday greeter.
The Catholic church was made available to the Gilberts to accommodate the large crowd expected for the service.
“He's one of our heroes,” said Patricia Laskos, a St. Thomas Aquinas worker. “He died defending our country. We are honored to have his family and the Air Force with us today.”
During the service, the Air Force made a posthumous award of a Distinguished Flying Cross With Honor.
The Valley press was precluded by the Air Force from attending the service or conducting interviews with members of the Gilbert family.
Outside the church, dozens of members of Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts, gathered to pay their respects, nearly 60 of them carrying U.S. flags.
“I'm here to honor the family and the airman,” said Harold Thomas, 54, a member of the group and a consulting engineer who lives in Peoria.
“We appreciate his service to the country and the sacrifice he made in defending our rights and freedoms,” Thomas said.
Gilbert, known as “Trojan,” was a 12-year Air Force veteran who lived in the Litchfield Park area with his wife and children.
He was flying in support of combat operations when his F-16C fighter-bomber went down November 27, 2006, about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad.
On Saturday, the Air Force confirmed his death, saying there had been a DNA match with remains recovered at the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
On Tuesday, Governor Janet Napolitano's office announced that flags at state buildings would be flown at half staff Wednesday to honor Gilbert.
This Monday, Gilbert will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
An Air Force honor guard carries the flag draped casket of Major Troy L. Gilbert during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, December 11, 2006
Air Force Brigadier General Tom Jones, left, presents a U.S. flag to Kaye Gilbert, mother of Major Troy L. Gilbert during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, December 11, 2006
Air Force Brigadier General Tom Jones, left, hands a U.S. flag to Ginger Gilbert, wife of
Major Troy L. Gilbert, who holds her daughter, during funeral services at Arlington National, Wednesday, December 11, 2006
GILBERT, TROY LEE
- MAJ US AIR FORCE
- DATE OF BIRTH: 02/19/1972
- DATE OF DEATH: 11/27/2006
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8520
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard