Monday, May 30, 2005

Air Force Major William Downs

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Major William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Virginia.

Maj Downs died in the crash of an Iraqi air force aircraft during a training mission in eastern Diyala province. He was assigned to the 6th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Maj Downs was commissioned into the Air Force in 1988, several months after earning a bachelor’s degree in international business at Grove City College, in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Maj Downs was assigned to the 6th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, when he left active duty. A few months after US Airways placed Downs on furlough in 2002, he returned to active duty at Hurlburt Field. He was assigned to the Air Commandos of the 6th Special Operations Squadron.

Maj Downs was deployed to Iraq in February, where he flew more than 90 combat sorties in an Iraqi aircraft and was directly responsible for capturing or killing 60 insurgents and nine high-value targets.

At the time of his death, Lieutenant Colonel John Alvarez, commander of the 6th Special Operations Squadron, said Maj Downs, who was serving as an adviser to the Iraqi Air Force and was attached to a multi-national security transition team in Iraq, was at the “peak of his combat aviation advisory career, assisting the newly established Iraqi Air Force in classified and dangerous combat missions.”

On the day of the crash, Maj Downs was on a training mission, flying a six-seat Comp Air 7SL fixed-wing aircraft donated to the Iraqis by the United Arab Emirates in November 2004, said Army Lieutenant Colonel Frederick P. Wellman, the public affairs officer with the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq at Phoenix Base, International Zone, Baghdad.

The crash occurred while in route to Julula, Iraq, which borders Iran

“He was the kind of guy you wished you had a church full of,” said the Rev. Mark Carey, senior pastor at Fellowship Bible Church on Middle Road, where Downs and his family attended services. “He was a man of faith, who didn’t separate it as a once a week activity but made it a part of all that he did.”

Air Force Major William Downs was killed in action on 05/30/05.

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