After a decade, one of Arizona’s finest boys has finally come home. US Air Force Maj. Troy Gilbert died in Iraq back in 2006 when his F-16 fighter jet crashed during a mission to push back the enemy that had just shot down a helicopter.
According to the secretary of Air Force Public Affairs, Mike Martin, the incident occurred near the town of Taji on Nov. 27, 2006.
Gilbert opted to use a 20-mm gun on his F-16 to help avoid civilian casualties and destroyed one of the trucks that was threatening coalition forces on the ground, according to Martin. On his second approach, he flew even lower and hit the ground, killing him instantly.
Martin said al-Qaida insurgents took Gilbert’s body before coalition forces could secure the scene, leading to the 10-year struggle to get his remains back to U.S. soil.
Limited remains were recovered at the time of Gilbert’s death, and a funeral was held in December 2006 at Arlington National Cemetery, where Gilbert was buried with full military honors. Additional scant remains were located six years later, Martin said.-AZ Central
This being an election year, politics is playing into the U.S. involvement in Iraq.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been campaigning against then-Senator Hillary Clinton’s “Yes” vote to approve U.S. military operations in Iraq. Trump claims he never supported the war effort.
While Democrats are Republicans are deeply divided on the U.S. involvement in Iraq, there exists a strong bipartisan support for servicemen and woman and the sacrifices they made to protect our country from foreign aggression.
GOP Senator John McCain has been one of the loudest supporters for veterans, as is Rep. Ruben Gallego (D), who served in Iraq with the Marines.
Cactus Politics’ own Joel Andres Frewa also served in Iraq as a combat medic with the U.S. Army.