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Air Force Maj. Randell D. Voas

Died April 9, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

43, of Lakeville, Minn.; assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; died April 9 near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a crash of a CV-22 Osprey.

4 dead in AFSOC Osprey crash

Staff and wire reports

An Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey crashed late April 8 in Afghanistan, killing three service members and a civilian contractor, NATO officials said.

As of April 9, the names of the dead had not been released. The aircraft was assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

The CV-22 went down after dark about seven miles from Qalat, the capital of Zabul province in eastern Afghanistan, NATO said. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

The Osprey takes off and lands much like a helicopter, but its engines roll forward in flight, allowing it to fly at about 250 mph, faster than a helicopter.

The crash is the first fatal mishap involving a CV-22 since the special operations aircraft became operational in 2006, according to the Air Force. By the end of fiscal 2009, CV-22s had logged more than 8,060 flight hours.

The loss is also the first fatal crash of an Air Force plane in Afghanistan since the July 18, 2009, loss of an F-15E Strike Eagle.

The CV-22 is much like the Marine Corps version of the Osprey. However, the Air Force edition flies with a third cockpit crew member — a flight engineer — and has sophisticated navigation gear for night and low-level operations. A second flight engineer is stationed in the cargo area.

Overall, the plane can carry up to 32 troops or 10,000 pounds of supplies.

2 airmen killed in Osprey crash identified

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department says two airmen assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla., were among those killed when their aircraft crashed in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department says 43-year-old Maj. Randell D. Voas of Lakeville, Minn., and 45-year-old Senior Master Sgt. James B. Lackey of Green Clove Springs, Fla., died April 9 when an Air Force Osprey crashed near Kandahar. Both airmen were assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt.

The military said April 9 that three service members and one civilian contractor had died in the first crash of the costly tilt-rotor aircraft in a combat zone. The other two people aboard the aircraft have not yet been identified.

Father recalls son’s path to Air Force

By Dinesh Ramde

The Associated Press

An airman who grew up in Minnesota died after his aircraft plunged to the ground in Afghanistan, the man’s father said April 10.

Maj. Randy D. Voas, 43, died April 9 when his Air Force Osprey crashed near Kandahar, Dwaine Voas told The Associated Press. The Defense Department said three other people aboard also died.

Randy Voas lived in Shalimar, Fla., but he was raised in Minnesota, his father said. Voas was an honor student and avid runner who always had a can-do attitude, his dad said.

“He just had a zest for life,” Dwaine Voas said. He spoke by telephone from Dover, Del., where his son’s remains were scheduled to arrive late April 10.

Also killed in the crash was 45-year-old Senior Master Sgt. James B. Lackey of Green Clove Springs, Fla., the Pentagon said. Another service member and a civilian contractor also died in the crash; the Pentagon wouldn’t identify them.

It was the first time the costly tilt-rotor aircraft had crashed in a combat zone.

Voas and Lackey were assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., the military said.

Dwaine Voas, himself an Army veteran, sounded matter-of-fact as he spoke of his son’s death. He said he always knew this day could come.

“You hope in your heart it would never happen,” he said.

Randy was a member of the National Honor Society at Eden Prairie High School, where he graduated about 1985, his father said. Randy also ran cross-country, discovering a passion for running that stayed with him.

Randy ran four or five marathons and did an occasional triathlon, Dwaine Voas said. He planned to be a podiatrist, but his father said chemistry classes at the University of Minnesota proved to be his undoing.

So with a biology degree in hand and unclear on his career direction, Randy passed the time with a handful of “fill-in jobs” until he decided to join the military.

He came home one day and told his father he’d spoken with a recruiter about joining a flight program.

Randy Voas became a standout pilot, earning an Air Force award in 2003 for his role in a combat air drop in northern Iraq that was the largest since the Vietnam War.

Dwaine Voas said he never heard his son’s colleagues say anything bad about him.

“They’d always say he’s an excellent pilot, they enjoyed working with him and serving with him, they liked the way he led his units,” his father said.

Randy Voas is survived by his wife, Jill, and two children. A memorial service is tentatively planned for April 15 in Florida, Dwaine Voas said.

Dwaine Voas said there’s no describing the pain of losing a child, but at least he took pride in knowing his son died with honor.

“If there’s anybody who I’d trust to do a military job,” he said, “it was him.”

‘He was proud to do it’

The Associated Press

Randell “Randy” Voas had talked as a youngster about becoming a podiatrist, but when he settled on a career, it turned out that his days at the office would be spent in the sky.

He flew Apache helicopters for the Army before switching to the Air Force. In his free time, he stayed closer to earth, skiing and running marathons.

“Randy was just one of those guys that was always there,” said Steve Lyngdal, a friend, fellow runner and former classmate at Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, Minn. “He was solid and steady.”

His father, Dwaine, said Voas was a dedicated pilot and family man with a dry sense of humor and “a stare that could stop a dime.”

The 43-year-old from Lakeville, Minn., was one of two airmen who died April 9 near Kandahar, Afghanistan, when their aircraft crashed. He was assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla.

He joined the Army after getting a biology degree from the University of Minnesota in 1989.

“He was serving his country,” Dwaine Voas said. “He was proud to do it.”

Survivors include his wife, Jill, and two children.

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