Three American firefighters died in an air tanker crash on Jan. 23 fighting Australian wildfires in the Southeast Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales.

Ian McBeth, 44, from Wray, Colorado, was one of those firefighters.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you we lost a valued Airmen and friend last night. In performing his civilian duties as an air tanker pilot, fighting wildfires in Australia, Lt. Col. Ian Mcbeth’s plane went down. There were no survivors.

-Montana Air National Guard - 120th Airlift Wing


McBeth's wife and three children will now continue life without him.

He graduated from Wray High School, served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and served in the Wyoming and Montana National Guards.

The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family as they navigate this painful and tragic situation. It is never an easy thing to manage, the loss of a brother in arms affects us all. Please know through difficult times such as these you are never alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out and lean on each other as we navigate this loss together.

-Montana Air National Guard - 120th Airlift Wing



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