WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Eight people were killed when an Air Force C-21 Learjet crashed into a wooded area near Alexander City, Ala., about 6:30 p.m. CST April 17.
The aircraft, assigned to the 332nd Airlift Flight, Randolph AFB, Texas, was flying from Andrews AFB, Md., to Randolph, but was diverting to Alexander City Airport, Ala. -- 35 miles northeast of Maxwell AFB, Ala. -- after experiencing an in-flight emergency.
Among the dead were Clark G. Fiester, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, and his military assistant, Col. Jack Clark II; Maj. Gen. Glenn A Profitt II, director of plans and operations, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas; Maj. Hubert B. Fisher, who was assigned to the Pentagon; Capt. Paul Carey, instructor pilot; and 1st Lt. Paul M. Bowers, aircraft commander.
Also killed were retired Air Force Maj. James K. Horne; and a U.S. Army sergeant, both space available passengers. Army officials have not released the soldier's name pending notification of next of kin.
Fiester and his official party were on their way to Brooks AFB, Texas, to present an acquisition reform briefing to personnel at the Human Systems Center.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of the eight people who perished in the C-21 accident in Alabama," said Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall and Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, Air Force chief of staff, in a joint statement. "Two of the Air Force's senior leaders were aboard the plane -- Clark G. Fiester and Maj. Gen. Glenn A. Profitt II -- and we are grateful for their contributions to our nation and those of the other passengers and crew aboard the aircraft."
As assistant secretary for acquisition, Fiester was responsible for Air Force research, development and acquisition activities. An experienced manager of electronic defense system organization, he had 38 years' experience in design and development of advanced intelligence, electronic countermeasures and imagery systems. He is survived by his wife, Christine, and their two children.
Profitt, a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours, began his Air Force career in 1965. He was responsible for developing and implementing operational plans, programs and policies for AETC undergraduate flying training, EURO-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, survival training and combat crew training for fighters, airlift, tankers, and special operations crews.
Secretary of Defense William Perry, a close personal friend of Fiester and also a Penn State University alumnus, expressed his personal condolences to the families of those killed in the crash.
The C-21 has been in the Air Force inventory since 1984 and there are currently 80 aircraft in the fleet. The only other Air Force C-21 crash occurred in January 1987, also near Maxwell.
The last Air Force general officer killed in an aircraft accident was Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Harpe, 16th Air Force commander, who died in an F-16 near Torrejon AB, Spain, in December 1988.
An Air Force board has been appointed to investigate the cause of the crash.