STEPHENS, TX, U.S.A.
U.S. AIR FORCE
MAJ, 309TH FIGHTER SQUADRON, LUKE AFB, AZ
12/01/2006, NEAR BALAD, IRAQ
It has taken ten years to gather the remains of MAJ Troy L. Gilbert KIA November 27, 2006, and to bury the last remains at Arlington National Cemetery. MAJ Gilbert was killed near Balad, Iraq, November 27, 2006, in a Close Air Support mission when his aircraft crashed. On August 28, 2016 an Iraqi tribal leader told a U.S. military adviser that he had the remains and flight gear- flight suit, flight jacket and parachute harness- of a downed U.S. pilot. He produced evidence of his claim and next turned over MAJ Gilbert’s remains and gear to U.S. forces.
“MAJ Gilbert’s motivation to succeed saved the lives of the helicopter crew and other coalition ground forces,” then – BG David Goldfein wrote in his accident investigation report.
GEN Robin Rand, head of Air Force Global Strike Command, was MAJ Gilbert’s friend, and his commanding officer at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base in Iraq at the time of the incident. GEN Rand told how MAJ Gilbert often volunteered at the base hospital or unit chapel at Balad.
He described MAJ Gilbert’s valor and tenacity in battle on November 27th. “Troy fought like a tiger in battle that day,” GEN Rand said. “No doubt, his actions on November 27, 2006 illustrate greatness, but those actions that day aren’t what made him great. What made him great was his commitment to adhere in every facet of his life to our three treasured core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”
MAJ Gilbert’s widow, Ginger Gilbert Ravella, and their five children were present at the transfer at Dover Air Force Base. She thanked all the service members who helped search for her husband’s remains over the past decade.
“Attending the dignified transfer at Dover Monday night was the closest we have been to Troy in 10 years,” Ravella said. “As our military promised, no one was left behind on the field of battle. Troy is home.”