PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WSAV) – Sunday marks the third anniversary of the tragic plane crash that killed nine members of the Puerto Rico National Guard in 2018.
The C-130 crashed down on Highway 21 near Crossgate Road. No one on the ground was hurt, but the men on board didn’t survive.
The mayor of Port Wentworth, Gary Norton, promised that a memorial would be held each year to honor the airmen.
Friday, Norton and first responders who took part in rescue efforts that day gathered at Port Wentworth City Hall, along with some community members.
“We are here to keep the memory alive of these nine airmen that lost their lives here in our city,” said Norton.
There is a permanent memorial at the crash site. Plaques with the name of the nine who died are displayed with flags.
Lt. Nathan Jentzen from the Port Wentworth Police Department was the first on scene.
“And if you could picture chaos — that’s what was going on at that time,” said Jentzen. “Every time I drive that road, I think of that day.”
“I’m a military member myself, and I still currently serve in the Army National Guard with Georgia, so it’s about losing brothers in arms,” he said.
Nine balloons were released to mark the lives lost:
- Maj. José R. Román Rosado – Pilot – 18 years of service – from Manati, PR.
- Maj. Carlos Pérez Serra – Navigator – 23 years of service – from Canóvanas, PR.
- 1st Lt. David Albandoz – Co-Pilot – 16 years of service – from PR, recently residing in Madison, Alabama.
- Senior Master Sgt. Jan Paravisini – Mechanic – 21 years of service – from Canóvanas, PR.
- Master Sgt. Jean Audriffred – 16 years of service – from Carolina, PR.
- Master Sgt. Mario Braña – Flight Engineer – 17 years of service – from Bayamón, PR.
- Master Sgt. Víctor Colón – 22 years of service – from Santa Isabel, PR.
- Master Sgt. Eric Circuns – Loadmaster – 31 years of service – from Rio Grande, PR.
- Senior Airman Roberto Espada- three years of service – from Salinas, PR.
Alfonso Ribot from the Metro Savannah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce made sure to attend the memorial.
“This is also a testament that the military has people from all races, it has people from all ethnic backgrounds,” said Ribot. “And you have people that speak different languages, although the same language of duty, honor and service.”
Mayor Norton says the city won’t forget the crash and how it affected this area or the families in Puerto Rico.
“I just want the loved ones to know we’re not going to forget their loved ones,” said Norton. “They gave their all.”