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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Many mourn Idaho Guard pilots killed in crash

BOISE – Idaho National Guard soldiers, neighbors, families and friends mourned the two Guard pilots killed when their Apache attack helicopter crashed during a training mission near the Boise airport.

U.S. flags went up throughout the small subdivision in Meridian where one of the pilots, Stien P. Gearhart, 50, lived with his wife, Vickie. Residents in the close-knit neighborhood rallied around the family, the Idaho Statesman reported.

“He’s a wonderful man,” said Gearhart’s longtime neighbor Kim Hollingsworth, who lives around the corner from the Gearharts’ home. His family is “dealing with a devastating loss, and our hearts are devastated for them. And it’s a devastating loss for the neighborhood, too.”

Gearhart left two grown sons in addition to his wife, neighbors said.

Gearhart and Jon L. Hartway, who also died in the crash, were both chief warrant officers with the Idaho Army National Guard. Their helicopter was one of 16 Apaches based at Gowen Field. The two pilots were assigned to the 1-183rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Gowen Field.

In Kuna, Hartway, 43, was remembered as someone who loved the military and helping others.

“The guy loved his country. He loved the military,” said Tracy Basterrechea, Meridian deputy police chief and one of Hartway’s neighbors, who served as a spokesman for the Hartway family.

Hartway spent a combined 20 years in the U.S. Army and the National Guard and flew numerous combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hartway, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children returned to Idaho about four years ago, after he left the Army, Basterrechea said.

“He was someone people looked up to,” Basterrechea said. “My boy called him ‘Captain America.’ ”

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, Guard spokesman Col. Tim Marsano said.

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