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Annual memorial honors fallen medic, crew of Raider 21

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Members of Team Andersen gathered here July 19 to honor the memory of a former 36th Medical Group deputy commander, who lost his life in a plane crash five years ago, with a ceremony in a garden near the flight medicine clinic .

The memorial was a chance for Airmen to pay respects to Col. George Martin and five other Airmen who died when their B-52 Stratofortress, Raider 21, crashed off the coast of Guam July 21, 2008.

"Col. Martin was a husband, father, missilier, board certified emergency medicine physician, flight surgeon, award winner, and above all, a leader," said Col. Herbert Scott, 36th MDG Commander. "He was a leader, not by his position, but by his personality, skill, energy and attitude."

The aircraft took off from Andersen AFB to perform a flyover at the 64th Guam Liberation Day Parade before continuing on a training mission. However, it crashed into the ocean five minutes before its scheduled show time, killing all six Airmen and destroying the aircraft.

The accident investigation board concluded the accident was caused by a mechanical failure in one of the aircraft's wings, though specifics couldn't be determined due to lack of eye witnesses, radio communication or wreckage recovered.

Martin, 41 years old, left behind his wife and son. The other Airmen who lost their lives were Maj. Christopher Cooper, aircraft commander, Maj. Brent Williams, radar navigator, Capt. Michael K. Dodson, copilot, 1st Lt. Joshua Shepherd, navigator, and 1st Lt. Robert Gerren, electronic warfare officer.

Martin was on the mission as the crew's flight surgeon. The other crewmembers were deployed to Andersen from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and 96th EBS, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in support of the U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence program.

The medical group learned about the aircraft incident before they learned they'd experienced the loss of Col. Martin, The loss of Martin was a shock and felt throughout the base, members of the 36th MDG said. Those who knew him said the memorial was an important reminder of his dedication and selfless service.

"He always had an 'I can' attitude," said Master Sgt. Marc Paradis, 36th Wing Medical Support Squadron medical logistics flight chief. "Everything that he did, he did with a smile or a laugh you just couldn't bring yourself to forget. He was such a strong family man."