Tragedies strike often and it leaves friends and family with feelings of confusion and questions of why. Many times those feelings and questions cannot be healed or answered, but a recent report on the actions of the crew of a U.S. Navy twin-engine C-2A Greyhound that crashed in the Philippine Sea recently may help in a small way.
True heroes are hard to find these days, but Lt. Steven Combs and the two men that perished with him will forever hold that title for their efforts and sacrifice to save eight others on that plane during the crash. The crew of eleven would have all perished without the quick actions of Combs, and the survivors and their families are surely more thankful than they will ever be able to express.
Patch reported on the tragedy that took three of our soldiers on Saturday.
SARASOTA, FL – Lt. Steven Combs, pilot of the U.S. Navy transport plane that crashed in the Philippine Sea on Saturday, was from Sarasota. Two other sailors died in the crash.
The other sailors were identified as Airman Matthew Chialastri and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso. Grosso also was a Florida native and Chialastri was from Louisiana.
According to the Daily Caller :
The pilot of a U.S. Navy aircraft that went down in the Pacific last week reportedly gave his life trying to save the rest of the people on board the aircraft.
Lt. Steven Combs, 28, died alongside two other service members last Wednesday when a U.S. Navy twin-engine C-2A Greyhound crashed in the Philippine Sea. Through his efforts, eight of the eleven people on the plane survived the crash, the latest fatal accident to hit the Navy’s 7th Fleet in the past six months.
“Lt. Combs’ airmanship was nothing short of heroic, and was instrumental in savings the lives of the eight survivors,” Navy spokesman Commander Ronald Flanders told The Berkshire Eagle. He revealed that the co-pilot, who survived the crash, told Navy officials that “Steve flew the hell out of that plane.”
Elizabeth Combs, the pilot’s sister, spoke on behalf of her family and expressed pride in her brother’s heroism in an interview with The Berkshire Eagle. “That aircraft is not meant to do a water landing and he was able to land it in a way that let people get back to their family,” she told reporters, crying. “It does help a little bit, that even in his last moment he was looking out for others. I wouldn’t have expected anything less.”
“We will never be complete, she explained. “There is just this massive void. We love him so much and we will miss him for the rest of our lives.”
In the wake of the crash, which also claimed the lives of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Matthew Chialastri and Aviation Ordinanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso, the Navy launched a massive search and rescue operation. When the search was called off days after the crash, the Navy publicly identified the fallen.
A total of twenty sailors have perished in three 7th Fleet accidents in recent months. Seven service members died when a container ship slammed into the side of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, and another 10 were killed when an oil tanker collided with the destroyer USS John S. McCain.
A hero’s life can never be weighed because it is priceless. The world lost an amazing man but he went out the way he would have wanted, saving the lives of others. That speaks volumes for the legacy Lt. Combs leaves behind and will forever be held in our hearts and our memories.
I truly hope the eight men saved that day never forget what was sacrificed for them, and they live their lives to honor the men who lost theirs for them. May all three soldiers rest in peace and walk with God.
We have lost so many recently and the loss is truly felt nationwide. Our men and women of the armed forces give their all unselfishly, and we should take their actions as inspiration to be better people every single day because we owe them all we have and all we hold dear.
God Bless our Military!