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SSgt Jonathan D. Goerling


February 28, 1984

Borja, Spain


Seven combat controllers were on board a 37th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 435th Tactical Airlift Wing C-130E conducting a training parachute jump when it crashed, killing all eighteen 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.

Combat Controllers:

  • Capt Roderic G. Gress, Combat Control Team Leader, 29, Munhall, PA

  • TSgt Larry A. Rainey, Combat Controller, 34, Bessemer, AL

  • TSgt Victor A. Valle, Combat Controller, 34, Bronx, NY

  • SSgt Eddy D. Clark, Combat Controller, 26, Columbia, CA

  • SSgt Jonathan D. Goerling, Combat Controller, 25, Corbett, OR

  • Sgt Steven M. Ray, Combat Controller, 24, Woodstock, IL

  • Sgt Emelio F. Martinez Jr., Combat Controller, 23, San Bernardino, CA


  • SSgt Scott A. Anderson, Pararescue Specialist, 24,

Litchfield, MN C-130 Aircrew:

  • Maj Charles J. Polk, Instructor-Navigator, 43, Lyons, NY

  • Capt Michael D. Jablonovsky, Aircraft Commander, 27, Grove City, PA

  • Capt David C. Harp, Copilot, 36, Crystal City, TX

  • Capt John E. Robbins, Navigator, 27, Doraville, GA

  • 1st Lt Hal W. Hoskins, Copilot, 28, Friendswood, TX

  • MSgt Charles J. Wyatt, Flight Engineer, 36, Bellevue, IA

  • TSgt Harold R. Leavitt, Loadmaster, 37, Peoria, IL

  • SSgt Jack M. McCleskey Jr., Loadmaster, 30, Battle Creek, MI

  • A1C Craig C. Spilinek, Instructor-Loadmaster, 22, Freemont, NE

Spanish Air Force:

  • Capt Francisco Guardiola Davo, 30, Observer

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.

SSgt Jonathan D. Goerling

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