PHOENIX — A decadelong effort to find and bring home the remains of an Arizona fighter pilot from has ended in success.
The U.S. Air Force website reported the remains of F-16 pilot Maj. Troy Gilbert were to be interred at Arlington National, nearly 10 years after he was shot down in Iraq.
Gilbert had been stationed at Luke Air Force Base, near Phoenix, and lived with his family in Lichtfield Park. His plane went down November 2006, after he changed course to help the crew of a helicopter that had been attacked.
The Air Force held a service with full honors for Gilbert in Dec. 2006 at Arlington. When more remains were recovered in 2012, another service was held.
Gilbert was the father of five.
An Army element commander wrote Gilbert’s wife, Ginger Gilbert Ravella, that, “With no ability to protect ourselves on the desert floor, we most certainly would have sustained heavy casualties,” he wrote.
“Troy, however, stopped that from happening. His amazing display of bravery and tenacity immediately broke up the enemy formation and caused them to flee in panic. My men and I will never forget the ultimate sacrifice your husband made for me and my men on Nov. 27th, and we will always be in his debt.”
Gilbert’s remains were sent to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Oct. 3.