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In Memoriam

Major Troy L. Gilbert

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Major Troy L. Gilbert

27 November 2006

Maj. Troy Gilbert's life epitomized the core value of Service before Self. Whether flying the F-16, spending time with his family, or helping with a church function, he gave unselfishly of himself to serve and protect others.

Such was the case on Nov. 27, 2006, the day Major Gilbert was killed in action protecting others. The 12-year Air Force veteran was assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, Iraq. He had already completed 21 combat sorties in the F-16 supporting ground forces under enemy fire. On one mission, he found and identified anti-Iraqi forces, then passed critical targeting information to coalition forces, who attacked and eliminated the threat. In another time-sensitive mission, Major Gilbert destroyed 10 insurgents concealed in a palm grove with the pinpoint delivery of a laser-guided weapon.

On the day he died, Major Gilbert heroically led a flight of two F-16s in an aerial combat mission near Taji, Iraq. On the ground, insurgents were unleashing truck-mounted heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, small arms fire and mortars to attack coalition troops. In addition, a downed Army helicopter crew was in danger of being overrun. Engaging the enemy meant certain anti-aircraft fire for Major Gilbert, but despite the danger, he went after the insurgents. He launched a strafing attack against the truck, destroying it with his 20-millimeter Gatling gun.

Despite enemy fire, Major Gilbert continued to press the insurgents with a second strafing pass at extreme low-level to help save the lives of the helicopter crew and other ground forces. He lost his life on that strafing pass when his aircraft hit the ground.

Major Gilbert's final act of moral and physical courage was conducted selflessly, just as he had always lived his life.

He has been posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor.

Visitor Comments
In Memorian
Jesus M. Lorenzana, Dec 13, 2006 - 04:56 PM

I would like to say that I attended Maj. Gilbert's memorial service in Balad AB, Iraq and I did my little share to help with the investigation team. Maj Gilbert was a good man, husband, father, officer, pilot and a warrior. He was a hero and he became the inspiration to some of us stationed overseas.

A new Hero
Don Davenport, Dec 15, 2006 - 05:46 AM

I am a B course student in the 62FS, "Spikes", and Trojan was one of our instructors. This dude was the shit. Everything you could ask for in a person and a great fighter pilot. His love for God, Family, and Country were apperant in everything he did. He will be missed and will be in my prayers everyday.

Koa, Jan 13, 2007 - 07:02 AM

I had the priviledge to be a Crew Chief in the 62FS and work with Trojan. He was as cool as they come. One of the most enjoyable people to be around on the line. I hope that many of his students that went through B course with him can adopt his ways.

In Rememberance of a friend
SSgt. Ryan Loper, Feb 09, 2007 - 10:58 PM

I knew Maj. Gilbert personally when he was my pilot while stationed at Aviano AB in the "Triple nickel". He was a great man. Our paths crossed again at Balad AB, Iraq. I talked to him by the jet before he flew that day, and it seemed just like old times. Maj. Gilbert died while on a strafing run on some insurgents that had been killing American soldiers. He will always be remembered as a true HERO! Rest In Peace.

A Friend
C. Meyer, Sep 18, 2007 - 01:26 AM

We will always remember you, and we will keep your family in our prayers. Thanks for serving us: living and dying to keep our freedom alive.

Miss you dude
Brett Wells, Feb 25, 2008 - 11:07 PM

Going to your funeral at Luke was the saddest thing I've ever had to do. I miss you dude. We had some fun flights. I know you "looked down" and saw how many of the fellas made it back to Luke from all over the world. It was a telling tribute in how highly we all thought and still think of you. RIP.


Alway Looking Up
Sandee, March 20, 08, Mar 21, 2008 - 07:06 AM

I didn't know this man, but, I enjoy reading these tributes. My husband is a jet mechanic and has worked on alot of engines. He enjoys his job and takes it seriously so these brave pilots fly safely.

We admire them for doing more then there job. And every time I see them fly over us on our base or where ever we are. I say a prayer for there safety and say may God bless you and yours. My son will be a fighter pilot, and I hope that others will say the same for him when they see him. :)

He saved others
Mike, Mar 25, 2008 - 06:14 AM

I was at Balad when the incident happen. He fought to protect others on the ground from enemy fire and made the ultimate sacrafice.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." General George S. Patton

Maj Gilbert will be remembered
Jeff, Nov 27, 2011 - 03:45 AM

I had the opportunity to work with Maj Gilbert during a Banner mission in Brasilia, Brazil. We ran into each other again in Kirkuk, Iraq in 2006. I can't remember the exact date, but we recognized each other and talked briefly. He must have had the accident shortly after. I will keep the Presidential business card he gave me in Brazil as a personal reminder of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

TSgt Jeff Nieding

Thank you
anonymous, Jan 23, 2012 - 03:28 PM

Ginger... Thank you, your husband saved my teams life.

Story to air on WFAA tonight
Andy Entrekin, Feb 06, 2012 - 11:54 PM

Maj. Gilbert's remains have never been recovered, yet the government considers him "accounted for." His family, one of whom is a personal friend, has been asking questions and getting unsatisfactory answers. After going to several members of Congress and raising their eyebrows, Troy's sister will appear in a news story tonight on WFAA. Please keep her and the entire family in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to pursue the recovery of this fallen hero's remains.

I'm so sorry
Anonymous, Feb 07, 2012 - 05:17 AM

I just saw the story, and I hope this family finds peace and I wish there was something I could do to help.

An Airman, a Wingman

Bring him home
Pat, Feb 07, 2012 - 10:11 PM

For the love of God, bring this hero home. This family is waiting to receive him and give him the burial that this hero deserves.

Fly High
Defender One, May 27, 2012 - 08:16 AM

Trojan, Ginger, may God go with you...

Still not Forgotten!
Wingman Forever MMFH...QQMF!!, Nov 27, 2012 - 09:25 PM

Tough to believe it has been six years already! Your example as an Airman, Wingman, Warrior and most importantly a Christian, remains as strong as the bridge named after you here at Luke AFB! Keep flying cover for us and we will see you again soon!

1st Cavalry , 15 Special Troops Brigade
SGT US. ARMY, Nov 29, 2012 - 12:13 AM

my team was tasked with linking up with the 25th infantry Stryker brigade in Camp Taji. we rolled out for a 30 day mission in which we recovered the engine and comms equipment from the aircraft. we lost three soldiers looking for Maj. Gilbert. but intel from local villagers indicated he had been captured and killed by insurgents. I pray they find him as it has always haunted me that we did not. we did however find his survival equipment and a power bar he had eaten. I think of it every thanksgiving as we were in contact the entire time we searched outward from the field were the bird came down. I was un aware that the mission the little bird he was protecting had been made public.

First of all
David Eakins. USAF AMMO, Jun 01, 2013 - 12:03 PM

I was there. I was there when this great pilot lost his life, giving the greatest sacrifice that any service member could give; protecting his own. I was stationed at Balad AB, OEF 3/4 from Cannon AFB, NM as an munitions troop. It was heart breaking to hear that we lost a pilot that day. One of the most roughest memories from that deployment. I did not know him personally, but as an member of the USAF, I cannot but commend his service as an exemplary member that one should look up towards their service. He is the prime example of a true American. Thank you sir, for your service.

Maj Troy
TTWUSAF, Sep 20, 2015 - 07:08 PM

I was informed by a close friend of Troys that he was has fine a fighter pilot has you ever find RIP TROY respectfully Ty T Wilson USAF ret, Prescott Az

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