Kansas National Guard identifies airman killed in training accident near Salina

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:44 AM CDT
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SALINA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: The Kansas Air National Guard has identified the airman killed and two others injured during a training accident on Tuesday.

The three airmen were assigned to the 184th Wing’s 284th Air Support Squadron, when they were involved in a single-vehicle Humvee rollover accident at the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, 10 miles southwest of Salina.

The KANG said two airmen were found responsive and taken to a hospital in Salina for treatment. A third airman, Staff Sgt. Wesley Kubie, 30, was found unresponsive. He died en route to the hospital. The other two in the vehicle, 23-yaer-old Staff Sgt. Jaden Johnson and 28-year-old Staff Sgt. Cold Frederick were taken to the Salina Regional Health Center.

“I ask that you keep the Airmen, their families, friends and loved ones in your prayers during this time of sorrow,” said Col. Jason Knobbe, commander, 184th Wing. “We’ve initiated support teams who are well-trained and equipped to provide assistance to those affected by this tragedy.”

The Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home says Kubie will lie in state on Wednesday, June 16, at 2 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, June 17, at 10 a.m. He will be buried with full military honors.

Kubie is survived by his wife, Abby Walker, and their three children. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave., Topeka. The funds will be used for his children. Kubie’s obituary said he was deployed in Afghanistan in 2019 and 2020.

A high school classmate of Sgt. Kubie spoke on the airman’s character, summarizing that he will be greatly missed. Collectively, the Salina community is grieving Kubie’s death.

“Knowing how selfless our military (is) and our first responders, their sacrifices and what they do for our community is so under appreciated,” one Salina woman said. “And now to hear that one of them has passed away, it is just heartbreaking.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2021

An airman Kansas Air National Guard assigned to the 184th Wing, Wichita, died Tuesday in a crash 10 miles southwest of Salina.

The Adjutant General’s Office said three Airmen from the 284th Air Support Operations Squadron were training at the Smoky Hill ANG Range when their vehicle rolled.

Two Airmen were responsive and taken to a hospital in Salina for treatment. One Airman was unresponsive and was being transported to a hospital in Wichita by helicopter. He later died.

“Today we lost a member of our family under unfortunate circumstances,” said Col. Jason Knobbe, commander, 184th Wing. “We share in the sorrow felt by his loved ones and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow Guardsmen. We will continue caring for the injured Airmen and provide assistance to their loved ones. Their health, safety and well-being is our top priority.”

The cause of the crash situation is currently under investigation.

It’s an unfortunate deal, but training accidents happen in the military. As hard as we try to maintain safety and prevent things like that, they happen,” U.S. Army veteran Bob Wickwire said.

Wickwire said the Airman’s death is “an unfortunate loss of a good soldier.”

As of Wednesday night, the Kansas Air National Guard had not identified the fallen Airman.

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