Three Airmen stationed in Spokane were part of the crew of a KC-135 refueling tanker plane that was engaged in operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

They were based out of the tiny central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, bordered on the east by China and one country removed from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The men were a part of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Commander, whose home base is Fairchild. The crew were identified as:

  • Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, of Palmdale, California
  • Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, of Bakersfield, California

The KC-135 -- the military's version of a Boeing 707 -- is outfitted to refuel jet fighters and bombers in mid-air. It crashed about 100 miles from its base.

Witnesses on the ground reported hearing a loud explosion, then another, and the plane appeared to break into four pieces, then fall to the ground. Wreckage was scattered over a wide area several miles long making retrieval difficult in some areas.