20 Years Ago This Month: Fairchild Air Force Base Saw Its Darkes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

20 Years Ago This Month: Fairchild Air Force Base Saw Its Darkest Hours

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SPOKESMAN REVIEW: Twenty years ago this month people at Fairchild Air Force Base and nearby Spokane were recovering from shock, dealing with grief and wondering, “What next?”

On June 20, a former airman recently discharged for erratic behavior killed four and wounded 19 at the base hospital before he was shot dead. Four days later, with most of the wounded in hospitals and the base holding funeral services for two of the shooting victims, Fairchild’s last B-52 tilted at a sharp angle and slipped from the sky while practicing for an air show, killing all four onboard as it was engulfed in a ball of fire.

“It seems like someone is trying to test us,” a base spokesman said as the plane’s wreckage smoldered in a field near the Survival School.

The twin tragedies prompted investigations into how warnings about former airman Dean Mellberg were ignored and how a pilot with a reputation for risky flying was allowed to do dangerous things with the big bomber. They spurred policy changes to keep similar events from recurring.

Click HERE to read the full article from our partners at the Spokesman Review.
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