Transit Center Honors Fallen Heroes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Transit Center Honors Fallen Heroes

376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs  - Friend and colleague. Mentor and role model. Son and daughter. Husband and wife. Mother and father. Airman and hero. These were just some of the words used to describe three fallen warriors.

Service members gathered for a memorial service May 9, 2013, at Transit Center at Manas to honor and pay respect to Capt. Mark T. "Tyler" Voss, Capt. Victoria A. "Tori" Pinckney, and Tech. Sgt. Herman "Tre" Mackey III.

The three Airmen perished May 3, 2013, when their KC-135 Stratotanker crashed in northern Kyrgyzstan. All three were deployed to the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing's 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"The loss of these great Airmen is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and Team Fairchild during this extremely difficult time," said Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Creager, 376 AEW command chief. "They were 'Liberandos,' warriors who gave their lives defending freedom, and I was extremely proud to see how the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of the Transit Center responded and assisted in the search and recovery. It provided a picture that is hard to describe, but one I will never forget, courtesy of some of America's finest."

More than 300 service members attended the memorial service for their fallen brothers and sister in arms.

"We celebrated the selfless service of three great Airmen and Americans today," said Col. Corey Martin, 376 AEW commander. "I had the privilege to fly with Tyler, Tori, and Tre and I saw, first-hand, their relentless contribution to our nation. I am greatly saddened by their deaths and my deepest condolences go out to their families and to the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron."

While the memorial service was one filled with grief, it was an opportunity for those affected by the tragedy to begin the healing process.

"Although the loss of Tyler, Tori and Tre may today cause us to grieve, we gain endurance for tomorrow," said Lt. Col. James Mach, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander, during the memorial service. "We gain the ability to rise above, to resist doubt, to persist in the face of fear. We are strengthened by the situation's trials. We move forward in accomplishing our mission. We persevere, above all else, defending our freedoms.

"Tyler, Tori and Tre are our guardians and will forever be our guardians," he continued. "They served with distinction as defenders for our nation. They answered every call selflessly and without reservation. It is through their sacrifice, and those before, we acquire this strength, resistance and persistence to persevere as we move forward in the face of troubles, overcome current and future challenges, continue our mission."

Mach encouraged everyone in the audience to honor and remember Voss, Pinckney and Mackey with fondness. They are forever in our lives, he said.

Voss, a native of Boerne, Texas, was a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, majoring in aeronautical engineering. He received his pilot's wings in March of 2010, becoming an aircraft commander three years later in March 2013. He is survived by his parents, Wayne and Marcy Voss, brother, Forest, and sister, Morgan.

Friends described Voss as a happy guy and someone who everyone loved.

"He loved life and made sure everybody around him was loving life too," said Capt. Zach Valdez, 22 EARS pilot and friend.

Valdez, who'd been friends with Voss for the last seven years, shared how Voss' friendly attitude once got the two of them in to a sold-out concert, forming memories he'll never forget.

"Everything always seems to work out when you are with Tyler," said Valdez. "It's hard to think that I'm not going to be able to see him anymore. His death was tragic, but his life was not in vain. Tyler was probably able to pack more in his 27 years of life than most people do in a lifetime. He lived a good life. Whether he was flying his plane, racing his car or making random trips to Seattle for gun shows ... he was always happy. I'm going to miss Tyler - his laid back attitude, his insanely intelligent comments.

"The Air Force and America lost a great person," he said. "I know there are a lot of people that are hurting; it's terrible losing a friend. Tyler wouldn't want us to stand around and pout. He died doing what loved, for the people he loved."

Pinckney was a native of Palmdale, Calif. A 2008 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in systems engineering space systems, as well as a Master's Degree in psychology. She is survived by her husband, Richard Pinckney, and her seven-month-old son, Gabriel. She also leaves behind her parents, Michelle and Larry Castro, and two sisters, Nichol and Samantha Castro; her grandparents, Terry and Lt. Col. (Ret) Don Castro, and Josephine and Emil Grulkowski; mother-in-law Nina Pinckney and Wally Slate, and father-in-law Richard and his wife, Lorraine Pinckney; her three sisters-in-law, Christine, Stephanie and Jeanna Pinckney; as well as Tyler and Kevin Obrock and grandparents Anna Bull, Donald Bull and Virginia Hunt, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Pinckney is remembered as a devoted woman with an infectious smile who appreciated life's moments.

"I can't remember the first time I actually met Tori," said Capt. Tanya Hansen, 22nd EARS pilot and friend. "I don't remember the place, who I was with, or even the year. But I do remember her smile. She had an infectious smile that could light the room in an instant. It was a smile you could almost feel."

Hansen shared that Pinckney's number one priority was her family, evidenced by how she took every opportunity to talk about them. Friends say Pinckney's son, while looking more like his father, definitely has his mother's big, bright smile.

"I believe that sometimes angels walk among us. They visit for a short time to teach us, or remind us of something we may have forgotten," said Hansen. "Tori taught me to be grateful for each day, no matter the stress, uncertainty or frustration. She showed me how to live each moment, not for what it could be, but for what it was - a gift.

"I'm truly proud to have served alongside such an amazing and brave woman. Tori will be missed, but her memory will never be forgotten. She was a devoted wife, mother and friend, who is certainly smiling down on us from heaven."

Mackey, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., enlisted in the Air Force in 2001 as a boom operator. He later became a sensor operator for remotely piloted aircraft as part of career broadening, but returned to the KC-135 as a boom operator in 2012. He is survived by his wife, Megan Mackey, and his daughter, Payton. He also leaves behind his mother, Debbie Mackey; sisters, Beckah, Donna and Phyllicia; as well as brothers, Tristan and Yusef.

Senior Airman Derik Melson, a boom operator with the 22 EARS, had the distinct honor and privilege of having flown with each of the fallen Airmen. For him, Mackey was not only a fellow boom operator; he was also a supervisor, friend and mentor.

"Tre was the type of guy that had a smile that could light up a room," Melson said. "He loved to laugh and crack jokes, often at my own expense."

Melson shared the story of his last flight with Mackey, in which Melson served as an instructor for Mackey. He recalls how, even after years out of the boom pod, Mackey's first contact refueling fighter jets was spot on. As Mackey completed the air refueling, he called to the pilots in the cockpit, "Pilot, boom. My instructor boom would like me to tell you that the boom is stowed and latched and that I'm leaving position."

"He emphasized those words - leaving position," said Melson. "Although Tre has left position, I know that he and the rest of the crew of Shell 77, Tyler and Tori, will never leave position right here - in all of our hearts."

  • News Surrounding The KC-135 Crash in KyrgyzstanMore>>

  • SALUTING THE BRAVE: Thousands Remember The 3 Fallen Airmen Of Fairchild Air Force Base

    SALUTING THE BRAVE: Fairchild Airmen Remembered

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A public memorial was held on Tuesday afternoon to remember Captain Victoria Pinckney, Captain Mark Tyler Voss and Technical Sergeant Herman "Tre" Mackey.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A public memorial was held on Tuesday afternoon to remember Captain Victoria Pinckney, Captain Mark Tyler Voss and Technical Sergeant Herman "Tre" Mackey.>>
  • UPDATE: Air Force Releases KC-135 Crash Report

    UPDATE: Air Force Releases KC-135 Crash Report

    Thursday, March 13 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-03-13 15:49:34 GMT
    Thursday, March 13 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-03-13 15:49:34 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The Air Force says a KC-135 air tanker that crashed in Kyrgyzstan last year was yawing to the left and the right so violently that the tail section broke off, causing the aircraft to plunge toward the ground and explode in mid-air.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The Air Force says a KC-135 air tanker that crashed in Kyrgyzstan last year was yawing to the left and the right so violently that the tail section broke off, causing the aircraft to plunge toward the ground and explode in mid-air. The accident last May killed a three-member crew from Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane. >>
  • SALUTING THE BRAVE: Procession For Fallen Fairchild Airmen

    SALUTING THE BRAVE: Procession For Fallen Fairchild Airmen

    AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - On Thursday dozens of people lined the streets in Airway Heights to pay their respects to two fallen Fairchild Airmen.>>
    AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - On Thursday dozens of people lined the streets in Airway Heights to pay their respects to Capt. Victoria Pinckney and Tech. Sgt. Herman "Tre" Mackey III as their bodies were transported to Spokane ahead of Tuesday's public memorial.>>
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane woman finds baby left in freezing car

    Spokane woman finds baby left in freezing car

    Thursday, February 22 2018 8:33 PM EST2018-02-23 01:33:43 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Picture this, a baby freezing, bawling, and alone in the back seat of a car. That's what one Spokane woman stumbled upon in a South Hill parking lot. "Complete shock," Windy Delandro said. A frightening sight, Delandro says she saw what looked like a six-month old sitting in her car seat, car turned off, tears streaming down the little girls cheeks. "I looked around to see if I could find anybody, see something, I told my mom 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Picture this, a baby freezing, bawling, and alone in the back seat of a car. That's what one Spokane woman stumbled upon in a South Hill parking lot. "Complete shock," Windy Delandro said. A frightening sight, Delandro says she saw what looked like a six-month old sitting in her car seat, car turned off, tears streaming down the little girls cheeks. "I looked around to see if I could find anybody, see something, I told my mom 

    >>
  • Spokane officials push for bill to reduce property crime and auto thefts in Spokane

    Spokane officials push for bill to reduce property crime and auto thefts in Spokane

    Thursday, February 22 2018 8:43 PM EST2018-02-23 01:43:27 GMT

    Spokane, Wash. On Monday, city and county officials traveled to Olympia to push for Senate Bill 5539. Bill 5539, would establish a pilot program for the supervision of those who are convicted of felonies relating to car theft, after being released from prison. Spokane County has the some of highest recorded numbers of property crimes in the country. Spokane comes nearly dead last as one of Washington States least safest cities "If you were to ask any officer working 

    >>

    Spokane, Wash. On Monday, city and county officials traveled to Olympia to push for Senate Bill 5539. Bill 5539, would establish a pilot program for the supervision of those who are convicted of felonies relating to car theft, after being released from prison. Spokane County has the some of highest recorded numbers of property crimes in the country. Spokane comes nearly dead last as one of Washington States least safest cities "If you were to ask any officer working 

    >>
  • Ohio student arrested for viral Facebook “SHS” threat

    Ohio student arrested for viral Facebook “SHS” threat

    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:32 PM EST2018-02-23 04:32:55 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of you have reached out to KHQ, concerned after you saw a Facebook post that went viral on Wednesday, causing concern across the nation. The post was made under the Facebook profile “Ray Andres.” The person behind the post threatened to bring a gun to school and referred to the school as “SHS.” According to WHIO News, the FBI and Clark County Deputies were able to pinpoint the location of where the social 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of you have reached out to KHQ, concerned after you saw a Facebook post that went viral on Wednesday, causing concern across the nation. The post was made under the Facebook profile “Ray Andres.” The person behind the post threatened to bring a gun to school and referred to the school as “SHS.” According to WHIO News, the FBI and Clark County Deputies were able to pinpoint the location of where the social 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Florida doctor gets 17 years for one of history's largest Medicare frauds, stealing $73 million

    Florida doctor gets 17 years for one of history's largest Medicare frauds, stealing $73 million

    Friday, February 23 2018 7:46 AM EST2018-02-23 12:46:52 GMT

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced a politically prominent Florida eye doctor to 17 years in prison for stealing $73 million in one of history's largest Medicare frauds.   U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Dr. Salomon Melgen on Thursday for 67 crimes including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records in patients' files. He could have given Melgen a life sentence.

    >>

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced a politically prominent Florida eye doctor to 17 years in prison for stealing $73 million in one of history's largest Medicare frauds.   U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Dr. Salomon Melgen on Thursday for 67 crimes including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records in patients' files. He could have given Melgen a life sentence.

    >>
  • Pasco Police believe man arrested in Spokane could solve 32-year-old murder case

    Pasco Police believe man arrested in Spokane could solve 32-year-old murder case

    Friday, February 23 2018 2:02 AM EST2018-02-23 07:02:03 GMT
    Photo of victim Robert McDonald from 1986, courtesy Pasco PolicePhoto of victim Robert McDonald from 1986, courtesy Pasco Police

    PASCO, Wash. - A 32-year-old murder case is about to close with an arrest. Pasco Police Detectives have gone to Spokane to interview the suspect, a 50-year-old former Pasco resident, Theodore Milam, about the presence of his DNA at a 1986 murder scene at the Pasco Boat Basin (Schlagel Park). The homicide victim, Robert James McDonald Jr of Richland, was 40 years old on Feb. 25, 1986, when visitors to the park saw a body floating 

    >>

    PASCO, Wash. - A 32-year-old murder case is about to close with an arrest. Pasco Police Detectives have gone to Spokane to interview the suspect, a 50-year-old former Pasco resident, Theodore Milam, about the presence of his DNA at a 1986 murder scene at the Pasco Boat Basin (Schlagel Park). The homicide victim, Robert James McDonald Jr of Richland, was 40 years old on Feb. 25, 1986, when visitors to the park saw a body floating 

    >>
  • Mad Minute stories from Thursday, February 22nd

    Mad Minute stories from Thursday, February 22nd

    Thursday, February 22 2018 4:22 PM EST2018-02-22 21:22:49 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Thursday, February 22nd.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Thursday, February 22nd.

    >>