ALWAYS – Tanker 134


Three heroes left to do their job. three did not return

Every task cheating death, peril at every turn

Experience their master, flown with utmost care

Passing through the gates of hell, where most others did not dare


They rose into the hostile sky, of gale and smoke and dust

The high noon of their destiny, the wind’s deadly gust

Staring down nature’s wrath, they had done it all before

No time for complacency, in a fire storm’s war


No one will ever know, the loss their families feel

For sadly that for many, some wounds never heal

A scar upon the bushland, a reminder of their plight

A place down `by the snowy, now a scared site


The flag upon the casket, a tribute well deserved

Taps, a sad reminder, of a nation they had served

The eagle and the kangaroo, will pause to shed a tear

A century of mateship, with those we hold so dear


Three heroes left to do their job, three did not return

Many miles across the sea, loving hearts will yearn

Three heroes left to do their job and mounted heavens stairs

Three heroes left to do their job, “always” in our prayers


By Tomas ‘Paddy Hamilton
25 January 2020


Note from the author…

Today is a very sad day for those connected with aerial fire bombing in Australia as it marks the first anniversary of the loss of Tanker 134, which crashed while fire bombing in the Monaro district south of Canberra on this date last year.

Although it was an American aircraft and the crew were all US reservists or ex-service, there was a strong bond between Hercules operators of the RAAF and USAF.

I actually watched the aircraft take off on that fatal flight.

I titled this poem ALWAYS, as a nod to the 1989 movie of the same name.


In Memory of the Crew:

Pilot:  Lieutenant Colonel Ian McBeth, USAF
First Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Paul Clyde Hudson, USMC (Retd)
Flight Engineer: Master Sergeant Rick A. DeMorgan Jr, USAF (Retd)


CONTACT coverage of the crash:


MAIN: A New South Wales Rural Fire Service member at RAAF Base Richmond watching a USAF Globemaster prepare to repatriate Senior Master Sergeant Rick DeMorgan, who was killed in the Tanker 134 crash on 23 January 2020. Photo by Eamon Hamilton.
INSET LOWER: Tanker 134 crew Lieutenant Colonel Ian McBeth, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Clyde Hudson, USMC (Retd) and Master Sergeant Rick A. DeMorgan Jr, USAF (Retd).
INSET UPPER: A Coulson air tanker.





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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