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Capt Roderick G. Gress


February 28, 1984

Borja, Spain


Seven combat controllers: Capt Roderick C. Gress, TSgt Larry A. Rainey, SSgt Victor A. Valle, SSgt Eddy D. Clark, Sgt Emilio F. Martinez, Jr, Sgt Jonathon Goerling, and Sgt Steven M. Ray were on board a 37th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 435th Tactical Airlift Wing C-130 conducting a training parachute jump when it crashed, killing all 18 on board.

The C-130E, tail number 68-10944 took off from Zaragoza, Spain, on a low-level jump training mission. Weather in the area included a 1,200 foot ceiling and 6 km visibility. The C-130 struck a mesa near Borja, Spain at an elevation of 2,200 feet. In addition to the eight jumpers (7-CCT and 1-PJ), there were seven crew members, and three passengers for a total of eighteen fatalities.

This was the largest loss of Combat Controllers in a single plane crash in the history of CCT.

BORJA, Spain (UPI) - A U.S. Air Force transport plane on a training mission crashed into a snow swept mountain in Spain while attempting an emergency landing, killing all 17 Americans aboard and a Spanish officer, officials said Wednesday. The wreckage of the plane, a Hercules C-130 turbo-prop, was found by a search team about 12 hours after it crashed Tuesday evening about two miles northwest of the village of Borja, Air Force officials said. The plane was part of the 435th Tactical Airlift Wing based at Rhein Main Air Base near Frankfurt, West Germany, and was flying a parachute drop training mission. During the training maneuvers, the plane was based at the air base at Zaragoza in northeastern Spain. The cause of the crash has not been determined. The plane went down after the pilot issued a distress call and said he was attempting an emergency landing. Lt. Col. William Johnson, spokesman at the Air Force's European headquarters at Ramstein, West Germany, said rescue workers recovered all the bodies from the wreckage. The Americans were not identified pending notification of relatives. They included 10 Air Force officers, six combat controllers and an air rescue specialist. The Spanish victim was identified as Capt. Francisco Guardiola Davo, 30.

Capt Roderick G. Gress

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