Peacekeepers Perish in Newfoundland Crash, 1985

The funeral procession for some members of the 101st Airborne who died in the Gander crash. Image from the U.S. Department of Defense.

On December 12, 1985, Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashed during take-off in Gander, Newfoundland. The chartered flight was transporting 248 soldiers from the 101st Airborne back to their base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, ending a six-month peace-keeping mission in Sinai, Egypt.

Their flight was to deliver them home to their families just in time for the Christmas holidays. Thirty years later, the loss of Arrow Air Flight 1285 remains the worst plane crash involving a peace-keeping force in the history of the U.S. military.

Of the 256 casualties, the Department of Defense listed 11 from North Carolina: Stuart Arrowood, Mark Carter, Jerrin Johnson, David Rawls and James Shoo, of Fayetteville; Lindale Morgan and Vickie Perry of Enfield; Kyle Edmonds of New Hill; Gregory Buchanan of Bakersville; Rayvon Johnson of Eaton; and George Simmons of Wilmington.

In a memorial service held at Fort Campbell four days later, President Ronald Reagan memorialized those lost and told family members, “You do not grieve alone. We grieve as a nation, together, as together we say goodbye to those who died in the service of their country.”

Today we remember the sacrifice of not only the North Carolinians on board but of all those soldiers lost in the crash.

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