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Remains of Arizona fighter pilot returned to US after 10 years

An Air Force carry team carries the remains of Maj. Troy Gilbert Oct. 3, 2016, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Gilbert was killed Nov. 27, 2006, when his F-16C Fighting Falcon crashed 20 miles northwest of Baghdad. U.S. forces were able to return the F-16 pilot’s remains approximately 10 years after he was killed in combat operations saving the lives of U.S. service members and coalition allies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne)

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.

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