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River Rat Memorial

Posted by Jolly on February 4, 2013



Fireball On The Hill Side

Flew West 28 January:

gruenther.jpgIn response to the tragic loss of our fellow River Rat and Active Duty USAF F-16 pilot, Major Lucas "Gaza" Gruenther, the River Rats in conjunction with our charitable arm, the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF) has established a college 529 to accept tax deductible contributions for his daughter's college education.

It is very important to follow the directions below, particularly the "In Memory..." verbiage. 

All contributions are tax deductible.

There are two ways to give.

 1. Send a check to the AWCF, P.O. Box 877, Silver Spring, MD 20918.  In a note or on the check say "In Memory of Major Lucas "Gaza" Gruenther." 

2. Using a credit card. Go to our home page at .
On the Home page is a DONATE button. Click it and it will take you to a page
with a GIVE DIRECT button. Click it and fill in the blanks. In the COMMENTS
block put in "In Memory of Major Lucas "Gaza" Gruenther".

Please help us get the word out so that we can all support the Gruenther family, part of our River Rat family now and forever, and please give.



Missing F-16 Pilot's Body Recovered: An Italian vessel on the Adriatic Sea on Thursday recovered the body of F-16 pilot Capt. Lucas Gruenther, announced officials at Aviano AB, Italy. Gruenther had been missing since Monday when contact was lost with his F-16 during a nighttime training mission over the water. He was chief of flight safety for Aviano's 31st Fighter Wing. "Captain Gruenther was an outstanding officer who epitomized what it means to be an airman," said Brig. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 31st FW commander, in the Jan. 31 release. "He was not only a first-rate pilot, he was an exceptional leader whose presence will be sorely missed," added Zobrist. Gruenther was an Air Force Academy graduate and flew numerous combat sorties during a six-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, states the release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gruenther family during this difficult time," said Zobrist. The family issued a statement on Thursday. "We will never fully recover from our loss, but take heart in the knowledge that during [Lucas'] all-too-short time in this world, he made a significant difference in the lives of all whom he met," it reads. An Air Force board will investigate the incident.


Posted by Jolly on
This from Mac:

Ed “Raz” Rasimus passed away last Wednesday evening. He will be buried at Arlington in a couple of months. If you have access to Ed’s Facebook page, check out the hundreds of comments. Ed was an original member of Robin Olds’ “Wolfpack,” and one of the initial members of the River Rats. In fact he was my sponsor. He co-authored Robin’s autobiography, Fighter Pilot, as well as the earlier When Thunder Rolled (F-105 tour) and later Palace Cobra (F-4 tour). Every aviator and military member is a tremendous loss to the community, no less Gaza (I retired from one of the Tab-V’s at Aviano when I once sat nuclear alert). Just didn’t want Raz’s passing to go un-noticed in the fighterpilotuniversity world. “Babymac”
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