As pilot in command, Voas crashed a $100,000,000 Osprey helicopter in Afghanistan in April 2010. The report states that the accident was not caused by enemy action or loss of engine power. Of the 'ten factors [that] substantially contributed to the mishap,' four sound very much like pilot error:
- 'inadequate weather planning'
- 'a poorly executed low visibility approach'
- 'the mishap crew's task saturation'
- 'the mishap crew's pressing to accomplish their first combat mission of the deployment.'
Actual photograph of the wreckage, from the report
Every person I asked knew almost nothing about how Maj. Randell D. Voas died. Some people told me Voas had been 'shot down' in Afghanistan. Several interviewees told me everyone on board the helicopter died. No one with whom I spoke had taken the time to view the accident report.
(In fact Voas was not shot down, and only four of the twenty men on board died. Many of the survivors were seriously injured.)
Even people with a real connection to Voas demonstrated zero curiosity about learning information surrounding his fatality. Some attendees reacted with shock, upon learning that a person stood before them who wasn't committed to not knowing the basic facts pertaining to Voas crash--a person who didn't consider Voas' hero status self-proving.
A woman, pissed off, just prior to announcing our interview is over, asks why I can't simply honor Randy for giving his life for his country. She mentions she's heard of my No Hero post.
In fact I do express sadness for Voas' loss. At the same time, I'm nauseated by the corporate sponsorship hucksterism, the cowardly refusal of adult participants to rationally reflect upon their hero claim and the contempt most participants feel toward anyone who asks questions. Randy's Run expresses an 8-cylinder McCarthyism; I oppose that.
Odd also is the extreme blandness of the event organizers' description of Randall Voas. Was he a person with any ideological or political commitments? Did he like anything unusual? An event volunteer--a high school classmate of Voas, Eden Prairie 1985--provides nothing remotely interesting about the man. No, he's not sure if Voas cared about politics; no, he can't remember Voas having any particular religious beliefs.