CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The two N.C. Air National Guard planes that survived fighting wildfires out west landed Tuesday night in Charlotte.
The National Guard released the names of the four airmen killed in the one that crashed. All were married with children and lived in the Charlotte area.
Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal was from Mooresville.
Major Joseph McCormick was from Belmont. His family issued a statement saying, "He was a loving husband, a devoted father to four beautiful children and a true hero to his country."
Major Ryan David was from Boone. His wife said, "I will miss him terribly, we were a good team and equal partners."
Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon lived in Charlotte.
Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan said, "We have four new wingmen watching over us."
Guard Chaplain Debbie Kidd said, "They loved the
Guard, but they loved their family and they were committed to both."
The two other airmen on the plane survived, but have serious injuries. Chief Master Sgt. Andy Huneycutt is from Union County. Master Sgt. Josh Marlowe lives in Shelby.
He had just gotten back from his fifth tour in Afghanistan when he left for this mission. He's married with a
2-month-old baby. His mother-in-law, Martha Ledford, said, "Really, there's no words to describe how thankful we are that he's alive and improving."
Investigators are still trying to figure out why the plane crashed.