Ft. Campbell remembers 1985 Gander crash - WKRN News 2

Ft. Campbell remembers 1985 Gander crash


Those who are part of the Screaming Eagles family of Ft. Campbell gathered once again this year to honor the soldiers killed in a flight home 27 years ago.

"Welcome to the Screaming Eagle tribute to the fallen soldiers of the 101ST Division Air Assault, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, on the sorrowful day 12 December 1985, near the town of Gander, Newfoundland," a soldier said over a loudspeaker to start Wednesday's memorial.

The annual event celebrates the life and sacrifice of 248 soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade.

On December 12, 1985, the Arrow Air flight they were on crashed shortly after takeoff in Gander. The Canadian town was a refueling stop on their journey home.

The troops had just completed a six month peace-keeping mission in Sinai, Egypt.

When Flight 1285 went down, every soldier and eight flight crew members were killed.

Four days after the crash, President Ronald Reagan traveled to Ft. Campbell to console families. He spoke of their mission to keep peace between Egypt and Israel, as part of the Multinational Force and Observers.

"They were the ones of whom Christ spoke when he said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,'" he said.

Every year since the crash, soldiers, families and friends have gathered at Ft. Campbell to remember those lost with a wreath laying ceremony, moment of silence, 21-gun salute, and the playing of taps.

"Part of the soldier's creed is 'I will not leave a fallen comrade,'" said Lieutenant Colonel Townley Hedrick. "This is how you show it."

LTC Hedrick of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team spoke at the memorial. He was in high school when the tragedy happened, but as a Ft. Campbell soldier, feels compelled to honor those lost 27 years ago.

"We lost them to a tragic accident, but they'll be forever remembered by this unit and by Ft. Campbell and by the community," he said.

The names of every soldier who died in the 1985 Gander crash are etched on a memorial in Gander Park at Ft. Campbell. The park also includes 248 trees, one for each soldier.

A separate concrete memorial can be found at the crash site in Gander, Newfoundland.

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