CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire state Senate observed a moment of silence Thursday in honor of an Air Force officer and a police officer from the same town who died less than a week apart.
"It's very hard to deal with these types of deaths of our young people that are serving us and protecting us in a variety of different ways," said state Sen. Sharon Carson, a Republican from Londonderry whose district includes Hudson.
The Pentagon on Wednesday said Capt. Ryan Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, was one of two Air Force officers killed in a crash Monday of an electronic surveillance plane in Afghanistan. The crash is under investigation, but officials have said there’s no indication the plane was downed by hostile action.
Phaneuf was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. In New Hampshire, he graduated in 2007 from Alvirne High School, where he was a member of the junior ROTC program.
WMUR-TV reported that Phaneuf’s dream was to become an Air Force pilot. He put it in writing in his high school yearbook. He rose to the rank of captain, receiving awards and decorations, including the Air Force Commendation Medal.
The town and school are still grieving the death of 2013 graduate Katie Thyne, a Navy veteran and police officer who died in the line of duty in Virginia on Jan. 23. She was dragged by a vehicle during a traffic stop that accelerated and slammed into a tree. She died from her injuries.
Thyne was also a member of the junior ROTC program at Alvirne. A vigil for her was scheduled at Alvirne on Thursday evening.
"To lose somebody, two students within a week's time, it's very tough on the community," Larry Russell, superintendent of the Hudson School District, told WMUR.
Gov. Chris Sununu and New Hampshire's congressional delegation issued statements after learning about Phaneuf's death.
“Capt. Phaneuf made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may continue to live freely,” Sununu said.