Family remembering Afghanistan cargo plane crash victims - New York News

Family remembering Afghanistan cargo plane crash victims

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Gary Stockdale Gary Stockdale
Rinku Summan Rinku Summan
Michael Sheets Michael Sheets
Jamie Brokaw Jamie Brokaw
Jeremy Lipka Jeremy Lipka
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MONROE, Mich. (WJBK) -

Six crew members from Michigan were killed in a cargo plane crash in Afghanistan.  They were all hard-working, loving men with families.

"From the time he was a squirt, he always was with airplanes," said Mary Jane Stockdale, remembering her son, Gary.

From boyhood to manhood, he loved airplanes and traveled the world doing maintenance for National Airlines.

The 51-year-old from Romulus was one of seven crew members killed when their 747 cargo plane crashed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on Monday morning.

"He was someone to look up to.  There's not a lot of people to look up to like that because he didn't really have a great college education, all this and that, but he made himself successful.  He made the best out of that situation.  He was able to take care of anybody that needed it.  He was very generous, very nice, giving guy," said Doug Stockdale, Gary's nephew.

It is such a loss for so many.  First Officer Rinku Summan live with his wife, also a pilot, and their little boy in Canton.  Neighbors there are in mourning.

"It's too bad it happened like that.  He didn't even have a chance," said Mike Dixon.

Also on board that flight was Michael Sheets, the loadmaster, from Ypsilanti.  He was engaged to be married.  His family called him a good, honest and hard-working man.  They said his job took him all over the world, but his heart was always with his family.

Also lost was Timothy Garrett of Louisville, Kentucky, who did maintenance for National Airlines, First Officer Jamie Brokaw of Monroe, and the pilots in command, Brad Hasler and Jeremy Lipka.

Lipka's uncle in Wisconsin said his nephew was in contact with a dispatcher when a load shifted during takeoff.

"He had big dreams.  He did always want to be a pilot, make money, be successful," said Terry Lipka. "The Taliban, they'll say that all the time.  They want to take credit for all of this, but the big thing is why did the cargo shift?  It wasn't supposed to shift."

National Airlines said that airplane was carrying military vehicles out of Afghanistan.  The reason for the crash is not yet clear, but investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will be in Afghanistan to assist officials there in trying to determine the cause.

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