On July 10, 2017, the Navy and Marine Corps family lost Yanky 72, a KC-130T Hercules carrying 15 Marines and 1 sailor, when their plane crashed in Leflore County, Mississippi. The aircrew were members of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron, VMGR-452 out of Stewart Air National Guard Base in NY. The passengers were from Marine Special Operations Team, MSOT 8231 out of Camp Lejeune, NC.
As a current squadron member in VMGR-452 and a former team member of MSOT 8231, I knew many of these Marines. They are the Marines you look to when times are tough. They are the Marines who will stand by you no matter the cost. They are the Marines who wake up every morning honored to serve their country and make it a better and safer place for all. They are the Marines who define tactical professionalism in the air and on the ground. And while the Navy and Marine Corps family suffered an immeasurable loss with the crash of Yanky 72, it is the families of these honorable servicemen who lost the most. During the weeks after their loss, the Wingman Foundation and Marine Raider Foundation were incredibly responsive and unwavering in their support to provide these families whatever assistance they could. And so this fundraiser will raise money for both the Wingman Foundation and the Marine Raider Foundation. On June 23 and June 30 of 2019 I will be competing in two full Ironman triathlons on back-to-back Sundays to raise money for these foundations. June 23 will be in Cork, Ireland and June 30 will be in Nice, France. There is only one donation page. Any donations made will go to both foundations (Crowdrise allows you to pick one foundation so you will only see the Wingman Foundation listed as the charity). After the races are complete, the total donations will be split 50/50 between the Wingman Foundation and the Marine Raider Foundation, to continue to assist the families who have lost so much. Thank you in advance for any support you can offer. It will be greatly appreciated. The Marines of Yanky 72, the Raider 7 and Justin Hansen of MSOT 8231, and all the servicemen and women we have lost, will never be forgotten. Semper Fidelis.