By Brian Livingston / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Personnel and families attached to Naval Air Station Meridian were trying Monday to grasp the loss of two young naval aviators who early Sunday morning were killed in a car accident.
In a prepared statement Monday afternoon on board NAS Meridian, base commander Capt. Charles Moore said the base was saddened by the tragic loss of the naval aviators.
"The command chaplain and counselors from the Fleet Family Support Center met with personnel at the Wing this morning and are available to provide grief counseling," Moore said Monday afternoon. "Please keep the families of these naval aviators in your hearts and prayers as they go through the grieving process."
According to officials with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Patrick Drury and Kyle McArthur, both who were 25 years of age, died as a result of injuries suffered in the accident that officials said occurred shortly before 4 a.m. on Interstate 20/59 in Sumter County. Three other people in the vehicle that Drury and McArthur were riding in were injured. There was no word as of Monday afternoon as to the seriousness of their conditions.
Alabama authorities told WTOK Monday the crash involved an SUV and an unoccupied U-Haul truck that was parked alongside the westbound lanes of the interstate south of York. Alabama authorities told WTOK Drury and McArthur were passengers in the vehicle.
Moore did not reveal any details as to why the aviators were on the road that early in the morning.
NAS houses Training Air Wing 1 that includes Training Squadron 9 and Training Squadron 7. NAS Meridian also is the home of the Naval Technical Training Center, Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron One and the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy. There are over 2,000 active duty along with more than 4,000 dependents, reservists, and civilians on base. Naval Air Station Meridian trains Sailors and Marines in aviation and technical related fields.