BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - "I said goodbye to him, when he left, and Godspeed." They're simple words, but for Earl Blackburn they became the final words he would ever say to his friend, and neighbor, Air Force Maj. Brent Williams. "He was scheduled to come home today. His 45-day deployment was up."
Williams was one of five from Barksdale, and one of six crew members the air force says did not survive when their plane crashed into the Philipine Sea off the coast of Guam Sunday night local time. "He was the finest man, always ready to give somebody a helping hand." Blackburn says was a caring neighbor who was respected and admired.
The single dad of two even cut Blackburn's lawn while he recovered from cancer, and he became more than just a neighbor, but more like a member of the family. "I've known him for two-and-a-half years but I felt like I've lost a brother. Blackburn and Williams' 13-year-old daughter even shared the same birthday. On our birthday they would bring me a present and we would always have something for her."