Air Force captain from Newnan dies in Africa accident

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Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock

From STAFF REPORTS news@newnan.com (Updated with story from The Associated Press following original Staff Reports version) A U.S. Air Force captain from Newnan has died in an accident in Africa, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday.
The Department of Defense announced the deaths of four airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Saturday, Feb.18 when their U-28 aircraft was involved in an accident near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa. The cause of the accident is under investigation.  Killed were: —Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Ga. He was assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. —Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo.  He was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. —1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Ore.  He was assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. —Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md.  He was assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. The Newnan Times-Herald will have more on this story regarding Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock's death as soon as details become available. • • • • • • • Below is a story from The Associated Press... FOUR DIE IN MILITARY CRASH NEAR US BASE IN AFRICA By JASON STRAZIUSO, The Associated Press NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – An American reconnaissance plane crashed 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the only U.S. base in Africa, killing four service members on board, after returning from a mission in support of the war in Afghanistan, the military said Monday. The statement said that the crash occurred at about 8 p.m. Saturday in Djibouti. U.S. personnel from Camp Lemonnier in the tiny Horn of Africa nation responded to the scene. Specialist Ryan Whitney of the 1st Special Operations Wing said that initial indications are that the plane did not crash because of hostile fire. The plane was conducting an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, he said. A statement from U.S. Africa Command called it a "routine" flight. Amy Oliver, public affairs director of the Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing, said the single-engine, fixed-wing U-28A was returning from a mission in support of the Afghanistan war. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Camp Lemonnier lies only miles from the border with Somalia. The four killed in the crash included: Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the 319th Special Operations Squadron; Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Georgia, with the 34th Special Operations Squadron; 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Oregon, with the 34th Special Operations Squadron; and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with the 25th Intelligence Squadron. Hall was a U-28 pilot with more than 1,300 combat flight hours. He was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. --- Associated Press reporter Suzanne Gamboa in Washington contributed to this report. © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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