Special Ops airmen march to Tampa to remember fallen comrades

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 10:02 AM.

Mitch Sherman is marching for his best friend, Capt. Ryan Hall, who was killed at age 30 when his U-28A plane went down near Djibouti, Africa, on Feb. 18, 2012.

Shermansaid he’s known people who were killed during his career, but never anyone he was as close to as Hall.

“It’s been a real challenge,” Sherman said of the year since the crash. “It’s tough because we all have to move on, but it catches up with you every now and then.”

Three other special operations airmen, Capt. Nicholas Whitlock, 29, 1st Lt. Justin Wilkens, 26, and Senior Airman Julian Scholten, 26, were also killed in the crash. They were returning from a mission when the plane went down.

About a week later, on Feb. 28, 2012, another Hurlburt airman, Lt. Col. John Loftis, 44, was shot to death at his desk during an attack on the Interior Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Loftis’ wife, Holley, and his two daughters were there Sunday to see the marchers off.

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