Last Known Activity Captain Cindrich graduated from the USAFA in May 1991 with a B.S. in History. He completed his UPT assignment at Reese AFB, Texas. Upon graduation from UPT in 1992, he was assigned to Andrews AFB in the 89th Mission Support Squadron. During his tour, he earned several wing honors and finished his MBA while awaiting for a flight assignment cockpit.
In September 1995, he joined the 15th Airlift Squadron at Charleston AFB, N.C. as a C-141 pilot. He became a top-notch pilot and was especially proud of several humanitarian missions. Among them was the medical evacuation of several Khobar Towers bombing victims and the medical evacuation of an Air Korea crash survivor from Guam to a burn center.
On 26 September 1997, Gregory M. Cindrich was declared dead after a 13-day, multinational search-and-rescue effort in response to the mid-air collision of his C-141 and a German Air Force TU-154 off the coast of Africa. when his C-141 jet, based at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, collided with a German Air Force Tu-154 transport off the southwest coast of Africa. All nine crew members from the C-141 perished, along with all 24 crew members and passengers aboard the German jet. The German aircraft, flying at the wrong altitude, was found to be at fault.
Those lost from the C-141 (# 65-9405):
Capt Peter C. Vallejo P/AC
Capt Gregory M. Cindrich P
Capt Jason S. Ramsey P
SSgt Robert K. Evans FE
SSgt Scott N. Roberts FE
Sra Gary A. Bucknam FE
SSgt Stacy D. Bryant LM
Amn Justin R. Drager LM
SrA Frankie L. Walker FCC
Notes: "The C-141 had flown from Ascension Island to deliver UN humanitarian supplies to Windhoek Namibia, in southwestern Africa. They were scheduled to return that evening. The German Air Force Tu-154M had departed Cologne for Capetown South Africa, with stops in Niamey Niger and Windhoek Namibia, The Tu-154 crew had filed a flight plan, in Niamey, requesting an initial cruise altitude of FL350 with a subsequent enroute climb to FL390. They received a small re-route while transiting the airspace of Gabon. The crew never requested the enroute climb and remained at FL350 for the duration of the flight.
Passing western Africa, the course of the Tu-154 changed from westerly to easterly, requiring a change in flight level to comply with international air traffic control procedures. Neither the Tu-154 aircrew nor African air traffic control agencies requested a change in altitude. The C-141 crew departed on the return leg for Ascension Island at 1611 local time (1411 GMT).
Shortly after level off; at FL350, the C-141 collided with the Tu-154, approximately 80 NM off the coast of Namibia. Cockpit voice recordings, from the Tu-154, indicated that someone in the German airplane spotted the Starlifter just moments before the collision, but not in time to maneuver away.
The Tu-154 struck the C-141 in the lower fuselage. A French Air Force aircraft, in the vicinity, heard a single "mayday" distress call. A US reconnaissance satellite reported a bright flash at position 18.8∞ South, 11.3∞ East at 1510 GMT, approximately one hour after the C-141 departed."
Captain Cindrich and his crew were interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Plot: Section 34 SIte 1758.