Flores, Michael Paul, SSgt

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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew Protection
Primary Unit
2008-2010, 563rd Rescue Group
Service Years
1998 - 2010
Staff Sergeant

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by A3C Michael S. Bell to remember Flores, Michael Paul, SSgt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
San Antonio
Last Address
Helmand province, Afghanistan

Casualty Date
Jun 09, 2010
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
Location of Interment
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery - San Antonio, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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GWOT Fallen
  2014, GWOT Fallen [Verified]

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Aircrew Enlisted (Basic)
Parachutist (Senior)

 Unit Assignments
48th Rescue Squadron 563rd Rescue Group
  2008-2010, 48th Rescue Squadron
  2008-2010, 563rd Rescue Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  2001-2001 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
HH-60 Pave Hawk  
  2009-2010, HH-60 Pave Hawk
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

The funeral flowers were red, white and blue. The flag overhead was three stories tall. The salutes numbered in the thousands.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base paid somber tribute to two elite combat rescuers killed in action in Afghanistan, but amid the pomp, the tiny hand of a toddler hammered home the loss.

Nestled in the arms of his tearful mother, 21-month-old Michael Flores Jr. reached out and petted a photo of his late father's face that overlooked an empty pair of combat boots.

The moment capped an emotional morning at Thursday's on-base memorial for Tech. Sgt. Michael Flores, 32, a Texas native, and Senior Airman Benjamin White, 24, of Tennessee.

White and Flores, both of D-M's 48th Rescue Squadron, are the first D-M fatalities since fighting began in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're also the 43rd and 44th service members with ties to Tucson and Southern Arizona to die at war during that time.

Both were pararescuemen, or PJs, highly trained to save lives under dangerous conditions. They died June 9 when their rescue helicopter crashed in northern Helmand province. Two other airmen from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., also died.

The military is probing the crash and hasn't released details. Foreign news outlets have reported that the Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the aircraft, which was on a rescue mission at the time.

At D-M, two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, the same kind the airmen died in, flew past the memorial service to honor the fallen pair.

Flores was on his eighth deployment; White, his first.

"Our hearts ache for their passing," said their squadron commander, Maj. Jason Pifer, his voice breaking.

Yet both men died "doing what they loved," he added.

PJs undergo grueling training in daring rescue techniques, such as rappelling from helicopters or parachuting from high altitude.

About 85 percent of hopefuls flunk out during the two-year program. Those who succeed are bestowed maroon berets as symbols of their achievement.

Dozens of maroon berets topped heads bent in mourning as loved ones eulogized the late airmen. About 1,200 attended the service held inside an aircraft hangar.

"My soul is surrounded by darkness right now, " said Flores' wife, Tech. Sgt. Marisa Flores, who is stationed at D-M and wore her dress blue uniform to the memorial service. The couple also have a daughter, Eliana, 3.

Marisa Flores described her husband as a devoted father, and a man so humble he'd shush her whenever she mentioned his career achievements, which included a Distinguished Flying Cross awarded for heroism.

"Michael and Eliana," she said, speaking to her children, "I want you know your Daddy loves you very, very much. He's not here to say it anymore, but I'll never let you forget."

White's father, Anthony White, recalled his son as a formerly aimless teenager who found a sense of purpose through his Air Force career.

After graduating from PJ school, he said, Benjamin White had a Bible verse tattooed on his back that symbolized his commitment to helping others: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend."

White also is survived by his mother, Brenda Logozo and stepfather, Frank Logozo.

Staff Sgt. Jason Walker, White's supervisor, recalled him as a strapping man whose most frequent question to his boss was "What can I do to help?"

"The truth is," Walker said, as if speaking to White, "it looks like your heart was the biggest muscle of all."

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or 573-4138.

6/11/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Department of Defense officials announced June 9 the deaths of four Airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died June 9, near Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan, in a helicopter crash.

Killed were:
--Staff Sgt. Michael P. Flores, 31, of San Antonio, Texas, assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
--1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, of Grass Lake, Mich., assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.
--Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala., assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB.
--Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, 24, of Erwin, Tenn., assigned to the 48th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB.
Died June 09, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Eight Mile, Ala.; assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; died June 9, near FOB Jackson, Afghanistan, in a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash. Also killed were Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael P. Flores, Air Force 1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz and Air Force Senior Airman Benjamin D. White.

Schwartz mourns airmen killed in medevac crash

By Scott Fontaine

Staff writer

The Pentagon has named the four rescue airmen who were killed June 9 when insurgents shot down their HH-60G Pave Hawk in southern Afghanistan.

Three airmen also were injured in the Pave Hawk incident, which occurred on the deadliest day for Air Force personnel at war in more than five years.

The four killed are:

* 1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, of Grass Lake, Mich.

* Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala.

* Tech. Sgt. Michael P. Flores, 31, of San Antonio.

* Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, 24, of Erwin, Tenn.

Flores and White were assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Gentz was assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Smith was assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis.

The wounded airmen are members of the 66th Rescue Squadron. They are being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

The helicopter crashed as the airmen, assigned to 563rd Rescue Group, were performing a medical-evacuation mission in turbulent Helmand province.

The last time four or more airmen died in a single day was May 30, 2005, when a prop plane crashed in Diyala province, Iraq. A fifth passenger, Iraqi Air Force Capt. Ali Abass, also died in that crash.

It was the bloodiest day in Afghanistan for the Air Force since Nov. 23, 2003, when four airmen were killed in a helicopter crash in Parwan province, according to icasualties.org, a website that tracks coalition deaths overseas.

The helicopter was providing support to British troops at the time of the attack, according to The New York Times. The newspaper, quoting a Taliban spokesman, said insurgents shot down the helicopter over the Sangin district bazaar with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Flores, a 32-year-old pararescueman, had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and deployed eight times during his 12 years in the service. White, a 24-year-old pararescueman, had served in the Air Force since July 2006 and was on his first deployment.

Gentz, 25, a combat rescue officer, studied aerospace engineering at Purdue University and enrolled in ROTC because he wanted to be a pilot and perform combat recue, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Smith, 26, was a flight engineer who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during his nine-year career.

Medevac crash victims returned home

By Scott Fontaine

Staff writer

Not Specified
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