SHELBY, N.C. - Four months after a deadly firefighting plane crash that killed four Air National Guardsmen from Charlotte, one of the survivors shared his story only with Eyewitness News.
Veterans Day is both a celebration and a somber reminder for Josh Marlowe. His mind is on the men he lost when the 145th Airlift Wing left Charlotte this summer to battle wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Four guardsmen died when their C130 plane crashed. Two men, including Marlowe, survived.
"There is not a day that goes by I don't think about you or your families," he said.
Marlowe's wife, Cindy, went to sleep that July night with a feeling something was wrong.
“I knew with the time difference it should have been dark and they wouldn't be flying after dark," she said. "I woke about 1 a.m. to a phone call that was very terrifying."
Marlowe has no memory of the crash.
He's now fighting to overcome injuries of brain trauma that's impacted his speech and double vision that has caused him to wear a bandage over his left eye.
He's focused on being grateful for the Shelby community that's rallied behind him, praying for his recovery. But most of all, he's thankful for his family.
“Words can’t really describe how happy you are to see your baby, kids and wife, but it's not fair for some," Marlowe said.
Marlowe said he doesn't consider himself a hero, but he believes other veterans are.
"Without them we wouldn't be where we are today," he said.
He dreams of being a Guardsman again.
"I guess it's a little riskier than I thought, but it's definitely worth it,” he said.