Gone but not forgotten: Ramstein AB remembers IFO-21

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner
  • 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs

In remembrance of the 27th anniversary of the Implementation Force -21 crash, the 76th Airlift Squadron held a memorial ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, April 3.

Six crew members from the 76 AS, along with 29 American and Croatian passengers, lost their lives while on a mission tasked with building trade ties in the aftermath of the Bosnian civil war, explained Tech. Sgt. Bryan Everett, 76th Airlift Squadron enlisted executive.

“Your presence keeps the memories of our lost brothers and sisters alive,” said Brig. Gen. Otis C. Jones, 86th Airlift Wing Commander. “I am humbled to be here with you in remembrance of the souls lost on the 3rd of April, 1996.”

While many details of the crash remain unknown, this incident made it clear that change was necessary.

The resulting changes of this incident included requiring all U.S. Air Force aircraft to be outfitted with flight data and cockpit voice recorders and more thorough procedures regarding commercial airport stops on military aircraft missions.

Some risks are avoidable today because of this crew’s sacrifice, said Jones. The Air Force commits itself to a culture of safety, and this incident was a call to improve our practices.

The 76th Airlift Squadron honors the memory of those who lost their lives by hosting the annual remembrance ceremony. This year, a ceremonial wreath was placed and was concluded with a C-21A flyover.

Although they are missed, the memory of the IFO-21 crew will remain forever at Ramstein AB, said Everett.

“Our fellow Airmen perished doing what they love – flying and supporting the mission of the United States Air Force,” said Everett. “We are here today to honor their memory and celebrate the contributions the crew of IFO-21 gave to the Air Force, Ramstein, and the 76th.”