2 SoCal Service Members Die in Military Crash

They were among three crew members that died. The cause of the crash is under investigation

Two U.S. Air Force crew members who died in a plane crash while conducting a military operation near the Kyrgyzstan border were identified, the Department of Defense said on Sunday.

Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, of Palmdale and Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, of Bakersfield died in the crash that also killed Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, of Colorado.

Pinckney, a new mother to her 7-month-old son Gabriel, was aboard the aircraft at the time of the crash. She was remembered Sunday on the Air Force Base's Facebook page.

Pinckney attended Palmdale High School before going on to earn a degree in system and space engineering. She enjoyed scrapbooking and snowboarding, and had a black belt in Karate, according to the page.

Mackey, also aboard, was born in Anaheim. His friends called him "Tre," according to the Facebook page dedicated to the fallen crew members.

Mackey is survived by his wife, Megan, and daughter, Payton. Mackey's wife said he "would light up the room with his humor and smile," according to the page.  

They were in a Boeing KC-135, a refueling tanker, that crashed Friday as it was headed to a U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Republic.

The aircraft split into three pieces upon impact in an uninhabited area of Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, the Associated Press reported.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, according to the Department of Defense.

The soldiers were based on Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington and were serving under Operation Enduring Freedom at the time of the crash.

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