Eagle Flight Detachment Memorial Monument Friends
|The Monument (above) at Giebelstadt Army Airfield, Germany, 1996-2006...|
|...was built to honor the 26 international victims aboard two US Army Black Hawk helicopters, conducting a peacekeeping mission in northern Iraq, who were killed by two US Air Force jet pilots 14 April 1994. The helicopter crews were based at Giebelstadt.
The components within the octagonal walkway were removed by Walk Umzug on 10 March 2006 under the supervision of Mr. Bill Marshall and LTC Scott Scales, and have been reinstalled at Ft. Rucker, AL, the US Army Aviation Center. A rededication ceremony was held 14 April, 2007, 13 years after the incident and 11 years after the monument's original installation in Germany.
"When a tragic accident like this happens, it is for us an especially deep loss. But it also moves us on to an unwavering commitment to correct that which went on. That is what we now must pursue.
We owe no less to those who died that day."
--General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 13 July 1994 news conference
|SPC Cornelius A. Bass||SPC Jeffrey C. Colbert*||SPC Mark A. Ellner**||CW2 John W. Garrett, Jr.|
|*Specialist Jeffrey Colbert was born May 4, 1971. He graduated from Middletown High School, Maryland in 1989. He joined the United States Army in August 1988 under the militarys delayed entry program. He completed Basic Training at Ft. Lewis, Washington in 1989 and served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq from August 1990 thru April 1991. He was deployed to Germany in the fall of 1992 where he was a crew chief on board the Armys UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. He rotated to Turkey every 2 months and was participating in Operation Provide Comfort when his helicopter was shot down. Jeff is sadly missed by his wife Laura Colbert-Barnhart, two daughters, Amber and Beth, his parents Butch and Cindy Colbert of Middletown, Md., and Arnita and Windell Sowers of Taneytown, Md., sisters Kelly Daughtrey and Amanda Miller, brother-in-laws, Keith Daughtrey and Phil Miller and nephews, Nicholas and Tyler Daughtrey.
**Specialist Mark A. (Tony) Ellner was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on 24 June, 1972.
CW2 Michael A. Hall
CPT Patrick M. McKenna***
WO1 Erik S. Mounsey
SGT Michael S. Robinson
|***Captain Patrick McKenna was born in Alaska on 21 March 1967. He entered active duty military service in May, 1989, after graduating from the Citadel. He attended the Aviation Officer's Basic Course and completed the Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama in August, 1990.
Captain McKenna was then assigned as a UH-60 Blackhawk platoon leader in A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment at Camp Stanley, Korea. Upon his return to CONUS, CPT McKenna attended the Aviation Officer's Advanced Course. In March, 1992, he was assigned to C Company, 6-159th Aviation Regiment at Schwäbisch Hall, and later, Giebelstadt, Germany.
He served as platoon leader and operations officer before being selected as Eagle Flight Detachment Commander in June, 1993. Captain McKenna is survived by his parents, LTC (ret.) and Mrs. Robert McKenna of Columbus, Georgia.
|SSG Paul Barclay
SFC Benjamin T. Hodge
COL Richard A. Mulhern
SSG Ricky L. Robinson
Ms. Barbara L. Schell
1LT Laura A. Piper
COL Jerald L. Thompson
|MAJ Harry Shapland||LTC Guy Demetz||COL Hikmet Alp||Abdulsatur Arab|
|LTC Jonathan C. Swann||LT Ceyhun Civas||Ghandi Hussein|
|LT Barlas Gultepe||Bader Mikho|
|Mr. Salid Said|
|Mission: Operation Provide Comfort|
(May 1995, by Captain Shawn Manke)
The Combined Task Force
The Military Coordination Center
The versatility of the Black Hawk allows Eagle Flight to perform its mission with outstanding success. Since assuming the mission, Eagle Flight has flown over 6,500 hours in support of the Combined Task Force. The detachment has performed successful search and rescue operations for coalition pilots forced to eject, in addition to numerous medical evacuations from the austere environment of Iraq. Often they transport MCC members to remote Kurdish villages only accessible by helicopter or on foot. Other times, by using external fuel tanks, they transport personnel and equipment to the far reaches of the "No-Fly-Zone" for coordination with nongovernmental agencies or for UN officials to monitor the distribution of humanitarian aid.
Eagle Flight's six Black Hawks have a unique paint scheme of U.S. flags painted on the nose, sides, and belly of the aircraft to distinguish them from similar helicopters on other missions in the region. As they fly over the Kurdish region, people pause to return a wave or offer a salute, thankful for what the coalition forces have given them: Comfort and Hope, where once there was little.
(Photos in this section by David Nuss, US Army, and Eagle Flight patch at right designed by Jeff Gordon, Jim Teegarden and David Leach).
[The detachment's last mission was flown over Zahko on 3 September 1996, the last personnel left Diyarbakir on 21 Nov 1996.]
|The Dedication of the EFDMMF on 14 April 1996|
President Clinton Sends Best Wishes to International Dedication
(24 Apr 96; GIEBELSTADT, GERMANY)US President Bill Clinton faxed "best wishes for a memorable ceremony" to organizers of the Eagle Flight Detachment Memorial Monument on the eve of the international dedication, writing also in part: "As we dedicate this monument to the service and memory of those who perished, let us rededicate ourselves to the cause for which they worked and died. And let our vigilance, compassion, and resolve to continue their task be a living and lasting memorial to them all".
|The Monument's Tale|
|(by David Nuss, President, EFDMMP, 26 April 1996)
The opportunity to build a monument was there, and I asked for it. Major Young approved, and I applied my creativity to creating something instantly recognizable at a distance, something unique and memorable.
My friend Kathrin Schoenke took the initial sketch and the idea of putting it in a setting with trees and walkways on the lawn near the unit building, and developed it to several versions. A vote of C/6-159 Aviation Regiment soldiers approved the form we dedicate today, which concentrates on the number eight, since the Detachment's eight crewmembers are the focus of the monument.
The eight trees form the cross of Black Hawk main rotor blades; the octagonal walkway is made of 8-sided stones; the eight engraved stones are like points on the compass, their triangular shape leading the visitor to the center stone.
On the center stone's bronze plaques are the story of the incident, the story of the Eagle Flight mission, cast images of two Eagle Flight patches, and the list of 18 international military and civilian passengers. The lists are on the side of the stone below the corresponding helicopter model.
The helicopters themselves are designed to match the appearance of those lost in the incident, including American flags, external fuels tanks, and tail numbers.
During the autumn and winter of 1994, we measured the site and built a scale model, (except for the helicopters), which we took to several events for fundraising and publicity. It has been to Heidelberg, under the Channel to southern England, and even spent a day outdoors in Giebelstadt for a market-day. It has been seen by VIPs and been on tv, and we hope it will find a home next month at the Army Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker, Alabama.
We initially approached the project as a private venture, but as it got bigger, it was necessary to establish a private organization under Army Regulations. We committed to not using government funds to build it, and set out to raise funds.
The unit commander and his wife, Scott and Jacque Netherland, joined us and a former community member, Ric Mathews, in forming the Eagle Flight Detachment Memorial Monument Project Private Organization (EFDMMP). David Leach has since joined the organization as our new Vice President.
Mr. Mathews introduced us to artist George Finley, who visited the unit several times, viewing photos and videos, interviewing unit members, and created several versions of what is now the limited edition commemorative print "Eagle Flight" (right, copyright George Finley), which has been responsible for the largest component of this monument's funding.
As 1995 rolled on, our mass mailings seeking funding were producing very little with the exception of Sikorsky Aircraft, whose support was both early and generous. Inquiries to media were rebuffed.
We stuck to the idea, and in early 1996, Mr. Finley found very generous local sources for us, which allowed us to meet our design goal. In addition, Ms. Schoenke's persistence with German sources resulted in donations of valuable materials and labor. She also obtained bids on components, wrote contracts, and made construction arrangements.
Local master stone sculpturer Hugo Honecker created the nine stones from gray limestone mined and cut a few miles from the monument site, in Geroldshausen, by the Albert Wirths Stone Works.
We contracted the bronze plaques with the Plein casting company of Speicher, Germany. The helicopter models were initially contracted to casting artist Herbert Loehr and his colleagues across northern Germany.
Walkway materials and installation, plus landscaping materials and installation, were provided by local governments, businesses, and other German benefactors. German sources account for nearly half of the funds raised.
The EFDMMP has set aside funds under the trusteeship of William Marshall of the American Legion and Bruce Withers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to maintain the monument over the years and to move the central components of the monument to Ft. Rucker, Alabama whenever C/6-159 moves or the Americans leave the post.
Over 200 "Eagle Flight" prints remain to be sold; further sales and donations will help us add solar lights and a bench to the monument, reimburse expenses, and add to the maintenance/transportation trust fund. Residual funds after the eventual move will go to Ft. Rucker for installation/maintenance of the monument.
The EFDMMP itself will deactivate 31 May 1996 to be replaced by the trust fund.
Update 1999: New Helicopter Models
They were replaced in 1997 with what is believed to be the largest scale model castings of Black Hawk helicopters in the world (right, below). They were made in America by subcontractors of Replicas by Tyson, Fort Myers, Florida, and have withstood the harsh German weather ever since.
The "Eagle Flight" print is still available, still contributing to our fund, as is a new contributor, a digital collage of the monument and crew members, commisssioned by next-of-kin. [2006: availability of collage TBD]
Residual funds are still on hand, and the folks that put the monument together are now coordinating the move to Ft. Rucker.
The two helicopter models are hollow, bronze cast with patina finish, about one meter long each, mounted on metal arms two to three feet above the center stone, which is about five feet tall. Scaled up from a 1:48 model, features include the UH-60A Black Hawk in ERFS configuration, with HF radio antennas and other fine details. They were contracted with Frederick J. Tyson of Replicas by Tyson, Fort Myers, Florida, and produced in 1996-97 by his subcontractors, modelmakers and casters.
The four center stone plaques, about a meter tall each, are cast from bronze by Plein Bronzen of Speicher, Germany. They contain passenger lists, the story of Eagle Flight/OPC, the shootdown, as well as castings of the Eagle Flight patches.
They are mounted on gray limestone from a quarry a few miles from the monument site, in Geroldshausen. The cutting of stones was done by the Albert Wirths Stone Works in Geroldhausen with engraving of the crew member triangular stones and all stone installation plus plaque and model mounting completed by Hugo Honecker of Giebelstadt, Germany.
An 8-sided walkway of 8-sided stones surrounds the 2.5-meter diameter central area. Walkways extend about 5 meters from there, to the street and to a flag plaza. The materials and labor for the walkways were donated by German companies. Eight donated trees fan out from this central area to form an X, like Black Hawk rotor blades. A hedge line about 10 meters from the center stone encloses the rest of the monument area.
The monument is located near the main gate and adjacent to helicopter parking but is nonetheless a tranquil spot for reflection.
some material used by permission