Four La. guardsmen remembered as being 'best of the best'

Four La. guardsmen remembered as being 'best of the best'

The National Guard has released the names of the Hammond-based National Gardsmen killed in last week's Black Hawk crash..

The Guardsmen are being remembered as the best of the best. They were dedicated men who sacrificed for their country.

"They were really good guys, and they will all be sorely missed," said retired Sgt. First Class Mark Henry. He served in the 1-244th for 22 years, and knew three of the four men, killed in last Tuesday's blackhawk crash in Florida.

" Wayne Griffin was an exceptional pilot, countless flight hours, always in the seat. Always looking to better himself anyway that he could," said Henry.

Friends say the 37 year old Griffin, was a chief warrant officer, who had extensive experience flying blackhawks, during the Iraqi war. He's described as a 'pilot's pilot', and he leaves a wife, and four kids behind in Hammond.

"Look, i would have put my son, in the back of that aircraft...I just don't have a better crew," said guard commander Patrick Bossetta.

40 year old staff sergeant Lance Bergeron, from Thibodaux, was an experienced crew chief, who loved his tigers.

"When you flew with Lance, he was professional...but in a moment, he would say let me tell you about the quarterback situation....Lance was a true LSU fan," said Bossetta.

At 26 years old, Tom Florich was the youngest of the Louisiana guard soldiers. He leaves behind an expectant wife, who lives in Baton Rouge.

"He had a way about him that was so inviting, and you felt so at ease and so comfortable," said Bossetta.

44-year old chief warrant officer David Strother,is described as 'a force of nature.'

" If they hadn't enjoyed it, they wouldn't be doing it," said Henry.

Strother is survived by a wife, and two children, in Pineville.

In spite of the tragedy Mark Henry says he misses the sense of duty and camaraderie of the National Guard, and he says he's actually thinking about re-enlisting. 'There might be a chance, i might end up back with those guys," Henry said.

They sacrificed weekends away from their families and regular jobs, to work with the guard.

"We do it because it needs to be done," said Henry.

And they will be remembered with pride, by all who served with them. Thomas Florich was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.

The four guard soldiers had received dozens of combat medals.. And were also recognized for flying missions to help civilians after recent hurricanes.

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