The Wingman Foundation leaves no Marine aviator behind
By: Derrick Perkins and
In the wake of several recent devastating Marine aviation mishaps, a nonprofit started by a trio of active-duty pilots was busily arranging ways to help the families of their hurt and fallen comrades.
Capts. Phil "Donger" Duong, Jack "Chili" Guevara and Ken "Bronco" Hampshire, founders of The Wingman Foundation, had seen their share of tragedy. The three aviators had mourned for friendswho died during missions or training mishaps over the years.
Two of them were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 when an AH-1W Cobra and a UH-1 Huey collided near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Seven Marines, including six from HMLA-469, died in the accident.
"We saw that there were some gaps in the support the family received, and that's kind of what primed it," said Guevara, a Cobra pilot with HMLA-469 and The Wingman Foundation's director of operations.