Army and Air Force farewell young aviator
4 June 2011
The embodiment of what it is to be an aviator is how Lieutenant Marcus Case has been remembered by his fellow aviators in Afghanistan overnight.
Lieutenant Case died when an Australian Army CH-47D Chinook helicopter crashed during a resupply sortie in southern Afghanistan on Monday, 30 May 11.
A solemn Ramp Ceremony was conducted on an air-bridge next to the Kandahar Airfield, one of the busiest single strip airfields in the world, attended by his Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Australian Army aviation colleagues.
The Commanding Officer of the Heron Detachment, Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan, said Lieutenant Case brought significant experience to the Heron operations in Afghanistan.
“He was a well respected Commando prior to commissioning as an Army Pilot. His soldier acumen was invaluable to me as a Commander,” Wing Commander McMullan said.
“His loss from our team and the aviation community will be sorely felt. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Commanding Officer of the Rotary Wing Group, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Monaghan, said Lieutenant Case was a talented pilot who was keen to broaden his aviation experience, including flying Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
“Marcus embodied what it is to be an aviator. Marcus was learning the environment in which he would be operating the Heron in,” Lieutenant Colonel Monaghan said.
“The Rotary Wing Group detachment and the men and women of Army Aviation are thankful to have known Marcus and our sympathies go to his family during this difficult time.”
Lieutenant Case had only recently deployed into Kandahar as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft operator with the Heron Detachment.
He was taking part in a routine Task Force Thunder mission with the Rotary Wing Group when the aircrew of the Australian Ch-47D Chinook were forced to make an uncontrolled landing.
Lieutenant Case was killed in the incident and five other ADF personnel were wounded. The cause is under investigation.
The Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Angus Campbell, said the location of the Ramp Ceremony was a fitting place to remember the loss of a young aviator.
“For Lieutenant Marcus Case, a life in aviation was laid out before him,” Major General Campbell said.
“He was already an accomplished Kiowa pilot and he was taking on the new challenge of a different kind of flying, operating a Remotely Piloted Aircraft with the Royal Australian Air Force.
“His loss will be felt by his loved ones the most, but he will also be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues.”
Following the memorial service, friends and colleagues bid their fallen comrade farewell from Afghanistanwith a traditional ramp ceremony.
His casket was placed onboard a RAAF C-130 aircraft and flown to the major Australian Support Area at Al Minhad Air Base in the UAE, where he will remain under the watchful guard of fellow Australian soldiers until he commences the next leg of his final journey home over the weekend.
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