Two years ago today, something went wrong with a C-2A Greyhound aircraft as it flew above the Philippine Sea on its way to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan.
The plane’s pilot, Lt. Steven Combs, managed to land the Greyhound in the water, saving the lives of eight passengers.
But Combs, Aviation Ordnanceman Apprentice Bryan Grosso and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Matthew Chialastri died in the mishap.
Two years later, the Navy hasn’t announced what caused the crash and the loss of three sailors.
And the families who loved these three men are facing another Thanksgiving without answers.
A key reason why they don’t know is due to the unprecedented salvage operation the Navy undertook to recover the downed aircraft.
It took months, but in May workers raised wreckage from the twin propeller plane from roughly three nautical miles below the waves.
Some remains have been recovered, but Navy officials have declined to identify them. Several investigations continue six months after the Greyhound returned to the surface.
“The Navy deliberately applies due diligence in its mishap investigations and is still investigating to ensure that all relevant and pertinent facts are found,” Lt. Travis Callaghan, a Naval Air Forces spokesman, said in an email to Navy Times.
Elizabeth Combs called the wait for official answers about her brother “frustrating.”
“People who say it gets easier with time are just lying,” she said. “The hole in your life is there always.”
“Some days you pretend like you don’t see it and side step around it, other days, you fall into it head first,” Elizabeth Combs said. “My brother was the most amazing person I ever got to know…every day I miss him.”
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.