Members of the 1st Special Operations Wing and family of the Spirit 03 crew attend a wreath-laying ceremony Jan. 31, 2011, at the Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of when 14 Airmen lost their lives when Spirit 03, an AC-130H Spectre gunship, was shot down by enemy fire in support of Operation Desert Storm Jan. 31, 1991. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter/Released)
U.S. Air Force Capt. Manh Pham, 16th Special Operations Squadron, salutes the gravestone of Tech. Sgt. John L. Oeslchlager during a wreath-laying ceremony, Jan. 31, 2011, at the Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of when 14 Airmen lost their lives when Spirit 03, an AC-130H Spectre gunship, was shot down by enemy fire in support of Operation Desert Storm Jan. 31, 1991. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter/Released)
1/31/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Today we remember the 16th Special Operations Squadron AC-130H Spectre gunship, call-sign Spirit 03, and its crew of fourteen that was shot down during the Battle of Khafji while supporting U.S. Marines who were under fire. This event was the largest single loss by any Air Force unit during Operation Desert Storm.
We will never forget this mission and the sacrifice that they made.
The crewmembers of Spirit 03, killed in action Jan. 31, 1991:
Maj. Paul Weaver
Capt. Thomas Bland
Capt. Arthur Galvan
Capt. William Grimm
Capt. Dixon Walters
Senior Master Sgt. Paul Buege
Senior Master Sgt. Jim May
Tech. Sgt. Robert Hodges
Tech. Sgt. John Oelschlager
Staff Sgt. John Blessinger
Staff Sgt. Tim Harrison
Staff Sgt. Damon Kanuha
Staff Sgt. Mark Schmauss
Sergeant Barry Clark
2/26/2014 9:31:06 PM ET I personally knew Paul Weaver we were pals and IPs together at Reese AFB Tx around 1985-86. He was as fine a human being as one could ever hope to know. God bless them all.
Michael O. Rafferty, Scott AFB IL
2/15/2014 8:29:43 AM ET Several street names on Hurlburt are also named for crewmen who died in Iran in 1980 in a bold attempt to resuce Americans held hostage in Iran. This event was Desert One.Both events one involving a Gunship and one a Combat Talon are tragic and reflect the courage of Special Operators.
Allan Stearns, Ft Walton Beach FL
1/28/2014 8:06:30 AM ET Your bravery and sacrifice will always be honored.James B. Byrd IV55th SOS Eglin AFB 89-91
James , United States
1/10/2014 1:14:19 PM ET I always remember and have never forgotten the brave aircrew of Spirit 03. I remember leaving the airbase that evening when they had launched on that mission and was awoken hours later at tent city to be told of their fate. God Bless Spirit 03 for their sacrifice and the families left behind are always in my prayers.
Timothy Masters, Austin
1/31/2013 4:07:38 PM ET Now I know where most of the street names in housing come from.
J Taylor, Hurlburt Field
1/31/2013 12:14:58 PM ET Rest in Honored Peace My Brothers.
Sgt P H Bracewell Jr. USAF Retired Vietnam 68-70, Newton NC -Tucson AZ