Two Fallen Soldiers Honored through Hangar Dedication

By: Courtney Crown Email
By: Courtney Crown Email

FORT RUCKER -- During a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday afternoon at the Hanchey Army Heliport on Fort Rucker, the lives of CW4 Keith Yoakum and CW2 Jason Defrenn we honored by renaming the AH-64 Maintenance Hangar to the Yoakum-Defrenn Hangar.

A large crowd gathered to pay their respects and watch as the ribbon was cut to announce the dedication. CW4 Yoakum and CW2 Defrenn served the Army as maintenance test pilots and combat aviators. They both received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for their selfless and brave service.

During a February 2007 combat air patrol in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, their helicopter was shot down by enemy forces. Instead of flying back to safety, they stayed with a wingman. Their helicopter eventually succumbed to battle damages.

Their spouses held their families tight as the Fort Rucker community honored their husbands. They said dedicating a hangar is fitting for the lives of their soldiers.

"For 18 years that I was married to him, I think he spent 16 hours a day, 16 years of those 18 at the hangar, so it's kind of neat," Kelly Yoakum said. "I'm sure Keith would have a big grin on his face but he'd also be quite embarrassed because he wouldn't think that his name should be on a hangar."

The Yoakum-Defrenn Hangar will be used for aircraft maintenance for the AH-64 Apache Fleet at the Hanchey Army Heliport.

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