In a surveillance plane crash in East Africa is being remembered ... along with three other special forces airmen.
KFDX spoke with a Sheppard officer who served with all four crew members and was a close friend of Captain Nicholas Whitlock.
Captain Andrew Ruthrauff met Captain Whitlock three and a half years ago, at Air Force survival school.
They went on to serve together, flying U-28 planes out of Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Captain Ruthrauff remembers his friend as a laid back, sincere person who instantly put others at ease.
For three years, they trained together, deployed together, and flew together.
Captain Andrew Ruthrauff
Served With Crew
"An overall great guy - & a stellar pilot. Just the epitome of what an Air Force officer should be, all in all. There was no doubt in my mind or any of the people we worked with -- what his motives were. His desire was to serve the country."
Captain Whitlock was from Newnan, Georgia.
He graduated from ENJJPT and earned his wings at Sheppard in 2008.
The air force says the airmen's mission in Djibouti, Africa, was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The Air Force lost an incredible officer - they lost three incredible officers and an airman. We lost assets. The Air Force has really taken a hit this week."
A memorial service for all four airmen will take place at Hurlburt Field on Tuesday.
Whitlock will also have a service Sunday in his hometown in Georgia. Georgia's governor has ordered flags to fly half staff.
In lieu of flowers, his family is requesting memorials be sent to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, to help children of the fallen. For more information, click here.
Or you can help the families by clicking here.
Captain Whitlock's service will be streaming live Sunday at 2pm. You can watch it by clicking here.
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