The removal of five memorial lockers from a building on Hurlburt Field has rankled members of a tight-knit community of air commandos who flew with the 20th Special Operations Squadron on helicopters known as Pave Low.
The building formerly housed the 20th SOS as it flew the MH-53 Pave Low helicopters. The Pave Lows were retired in 2008 and the building became the home of the 8 SOS, a CV-22 tilt rotor squadron.
When the building was renovated, the memorial lockers for Staff Sgt. Kurt Upton, Master Sgt. William Kerwood, Technical Sgt. Howard Walters, and Staff Sgt. Thomas Walkup and Maj. Steven Plumhoff were removed.
Upton was killed in a training accident at Fort Bragg in 1999. Kerwood, Walters, Walkup and Plumoff were killed in action when their aircraft crashed east of Bagram AB, Afghanistan on Nov. 23, 2003, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The removal of the memorial lockers has caused uproar in the community. Former Pave Low personnel, family members and supporters asking why the memorials were removed and what happened to the contents.
For more on this story, see the Sept. 15 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online.