BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LA (KSLA) - Barksdale Air Force Base officials released the names of the six crewmembers who were on the B-52 that crashed off the northern coast of Guam. They are:
Maj. Christopher Cooper, 33, Aircraft Commander
Major Brent D. Williams, 37, Navigator
Capt. Michael K. Dodson, 31, Co-Pilot
1st Lt. Joshua D. Shepherd, 25, Navigator
1st Lt. Robert D. Gerren, 32, Electronic Warfare Officer
Col. George Martin, 51, Flight Surgeon and 36th Medical Group Deputy Commander, Andersen AFB
The first body recovered and identified from the wreckage was that of Maj. Cooper. The second body recovered and identified was Maj. Williams. There is no word yet on the status of any other remains.
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, GUAM (KSLA)-The Air Force says no one survived the crash of a Barksdale AFB B-52 off the coast of Guam. Search and rescue teams are now focusing on recovering the remains of the crew.
The Air Force has positively identified one set of recovered remains as that of Maj. Christopher Cooper. The name of a second crewmember recovered Monday has not been released pending family notification, an Ohio TV station was told Col. George Martin, an Ohio State University graduate, was also one of the six crew members on board. DNA testing is being done to identify other remains that have been recovered from the Philippine Sea.
"Losing this bomber crew has been a tragedy felt by everyone here and across the Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Doug Owens, 36th Wing commander. "Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with the families of these Airmen as we continue to support them during this difficult time."
Owens said search and rescue crews spent the past three days searching a 7,000-square mile area. He said the U.S. Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Guam Fire and Rescue and Police Department were a part of the search effort.
"I extend our sincerest gratitude to the men and women involved with this effort," said Owens. "We are truly grateful for the passion and professionalism they continue to put into the recovery operations."
The Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, NY reports that 33-year-old Air Force Maj. Christopher Cooper was aboard the plane. The paper says that information comes from Cooper's father, Michael L. Cooper.
The paper quoted Michael Cooper, who now lives in Round Rock, Texas, as saying, "It's a very, very difficult time for us. I am grateful for the support and sentiments we've received from friends from all over the north country. It helps me deal with this whole situation."
On Monday, WBNS 10-TV in Columbus, OH reported Col. George Martin, an Ohio State University graduate, was also one of the six crew members on board.
The latest information from the U. S. Air Force continues to confirm just two sets of remains recovered from the wreckage. A previous report that three bodies have been recovered was incorrect.
The update came in a news release Tuesday morning from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. It says the names of the dead are not being released, pending notification of their families.
Although the release says there is still a massive search and rescue operation underway-- including Navy ships and helicopters, Coast Guard vessels as well as police and firefighters--it also hints that Air Force officials may be leaning toward making it a recovery mission.
"We recognize, however, that the longer this search continues the less likelihood there is that we'll find survivors. Although we continue to hold out hope, we've had no encouraging indicators that our Airmen survived the crash," Brig. Gen. Douglas Owens is quoted as saying.
During an interview mid-Monday morning, the commander of Barksdale AFB's Second Bomb Wing said personnel at the base remain hopeful.
"I ask that the thoughts and prayers of the local community be out for that particular community as they're looking for those particular folks that are out there right now," Col. Robert Wheeler said.
Wheeler made a brief statement regarding the crash, but offered no new information as to the fate of the plane's six crew members.
The base did provide a number for familiy members to call. That number is 318-456-8400.
The bomber, with six crew members on board, went down around 9:45 a. m. Monday, according to the island's local time. Guam is across the international date line, and about 15 hours ahead compared to Louisiana time.
The plane that crashed Monday was deployed to Guam as part of the Department of Defense's continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific. It was on its way to do a flyover at a parade on Guam to mark the liberation of the island from Japan during World War II.
Guam is a U. S. territory located about 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.