Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jason McCormack, assigned to 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was killed on a routine training mission in South Korea when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed 50 miles east of Camp Humphreys on November 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. local time.
McCormack is being honored in an Army Full Honors funeral and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Originally from Maryland, McCormack was 43 and is survived by his wife and parents.
A flyover was scheduled to honor McCormack with four Apache Helicopters conducting a “Missing Man” formation. Four helicopters would have crossed overhead during the last note of Taps, with one of the helicopters departing up and out of the formation. The symbolism of this formation is in recognition and honor of a missing or lost comrade. It is specific but not limited to aviation.
A group of Army Aviators flew up from Fort Bragg, NC the weekend before Christmas to help honor McCormack.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 John C Moughon, assigned to the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 1-82 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company, knew McCormack at a previous assignment.
“We knew each other at Fort Rucker, served together, did some training together, “ said Moughon. “He was a great guy.”
This would have been Moughon’s first funeral flyover.
Capt,. Preston B. Collich knew the other pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Smith that was killed in the crash with McCormack.
Collich said although he didn’t know McCormack personally, when he heard about the crash he felt the loss.
Being chosen to be apart of the missing man formation for a friend he’s worked with was a tremendous honor, said Moughon.
Collich echoed the same sentiment, saying everyone has the McCormack family in their mind.
“Every single pilot in my unit, every single one of us at 1-82 ARB wanted to take part in this mission,” said Collich. The hope is the McCormack family is comforted by their presence, said Collich.
“So much of our professional lives are dedicated to the machine,” said Moughon. “To have that involved as a way to send him off that way is an honor.”
Logistically it is a challenge to have the Apache Helicopters flown up to the Military District of Washington for the memorial.
“Its rare to have a gunship in the DC area anyway,” said Moughon. “To fly it from Fort Bragg, with the Christmas Holidays, with most of the people gone, that was slightly difficult.”
“It is a little bit different for us,” said Collich. “As far as I know, none of us have ever flown in the National Capital Region before.”
Despite these challenges and the impending Holiday, that didn’t stop the pilots from rehearsing the missing man formation.
“Its really important.” Said Collich. “This takes precedence over our weekend, its priority over us even possibly being back for Christmas, I’d rather be out here doing anything that we can for the family.”
The weather conditions at the time of the funeral forced the flyover to be canceled.
The pilots made tremendous efforts flying the Apaches up the eastern seaboard and personally sacrificed personal time over the holidays to have the aircraft present.
The cancelation does nothing to diminish the intentions.
“All in all its worth it to send a brother off this way,” said Moughon.