CHARLOTTE -- It's been just over one week since four North Carolina Air National Guardsmen were killed when their C-130 cargo plane crashed in South Dakota. Tuesday morning a memorial service was held in their honor.
It was an emotional day at the Air National Guard base in Charlotte, where the service took place. It began at 9 a.m. and included both indoor and outdoor services, including a 21-gun salute and airplane flyover honoring these men.
Photos of the crash were released Monday by Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. The crew left Charlotte on last Saturday, June 30 to help fight the White Draw wildfire.
Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon, 50, Maj. Ryan David, 35, Maj. Joseph McCormick, 36, and Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal, 42, died while fighting the wildfire in South Dakota. Two crew members survived but suffered serious injures.
Tuesday's service was held at the guard's base in west Charlotte and included many dignitaries, including Gov. Bev Perdue. Perdue described the victims as "extraordinary heroes." "These four North Carolina patriots always put integrity first," she said during the service.
The North Carolina Patriot Guard also paid tribute to the fallen airmen. The same group was there to salute when the body of Pfc. James McClamrock was brought home to Concord in 2010.
McClamrock's mother said she wouldn't miss this event as Cannon, one of the airmen who died, was there to pay respects to her son who lost his life in Iraq.
The Patriot Guard is in the process of organizing missions to each of the fallen airmen's hometowns to be a part of their funerals. Those details are still not being announced.
News 14 Carolina's Managing Editor Shawn Flynn has more on the Patriot Guard and a unique coincidence linking this event to another soldier's funeral two years ago.
News 14: Memorial service honors fallen NC Air National Guardsmen
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