Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Jonathan S Gibson

Aurora, Oregon

September 22, 2013

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
32 Navy CWO

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six at Naval Air Station North Island

San Diego, California

 Killed in an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crash while operating in the central Red Sea.

From The Oregonian oregonlive.com 11/24/13

Sailor with Oregon roots killed in helicopter crash in Red Sea

By Everton Bailey Jr. | The Oregonian/OregonLive
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on September 24, 2013 at 8:28 PM, updated September 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM
A man with Oregon roots was among two Navy sailors killed in a helicopter crash into the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the
U.S. Department of Defense.
Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Shelby Gibson, 32, who formerly lived in Aurora, and Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, of Lompoc,
Calif., were reported missing after an MH‑60S Knighthawk helicopter crashed while trying to land on the deck of the USS William
P. Lawrence, a guided‑missile destroyer, authorities said.
Three others aboard the helicopter were rescued from the sea. A search for the remaining two was called off Monday.
The cause of the helicopter crash is under investigation, but it is not believed to be linked to any hostile activity, the Navy said
Gibson and Jones were assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif.
Gibson had been with the unit since September 2012.
He joined the Navy in 1998 and worked as an aviation operations technician, according to the service. Kelly Gibson of Aurora, his
stepmother, described Jonathan Gibson as a dedicated family man known for being athletic, having a sharp sense of humor and
showing a strong sense of duty.
She said he lived with his wife, Christina, and two children, Kaylie, 6, and Alexander, 4, in the San Diego area.
Gibson spent much of his childhood in Kentucky with his older brother, James, and their birth mother. He moved to Oregon to live
with his father, Scott Gibson, after graduating from high school and enlisted soon after that.
His father's serving in the U.S. Army was a big influence on Gibson, his stepmother said.
"We found out about this on Sunday and we're all still very much in shock," said Kelly Gibson. "He loved his job and his family
very, very much."
Gibson was nearing the end of a nine‑month deployment to sea, his stepmother said. He planned to become a flight instructor
and spend more time with his family.
Service arrangements were not immediately available.
From The San Diego Union-Tribune sandiegouniontribune.com 09/24/13:

Fallen Navy pilots were family men
by Jeanette Steele

The two San Diego Navy pilots killed when their helicopter crashed in the Red Sea Sunday afternoon were family men with young children.

They are Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathan S. Gibson, 32. Both were stationed at North Island Naval Air Station as members of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6, the Screamin’ Indians.

Contrary to early information from the Navy, the two pilots were the only people aboard the MH-60S Knighthawk when it crashed into the sea. Three other crew members apparently had exited the aircraft when it landed on the destroyer William P. Lawrence.

There’s no word yet why the helicopter crashed just after 12:40 p.m. Bahrain time. The aircraft had just landed on the ship and disgorged its passengers when something caused it to go into the water.

In helicopter crashes, the heavy rotors cause the aircraft to flip upside down and sink rapidly, according to people familiar with the situation.

It’s unclear the extent of the injuries, if any, of the three other crew members. Their status was originally described by the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet as undetermined; then they were listed in stable condition.

Gibson was a fairly rare thing in the Navy — a chief warrant officer pilot, which means he started in the enlisted ranks.

The sandy-haired man joined the Navy in 1999 and less than 10 years later received his commission as an officer.

According to his Facebook page, Gibson attended Central Hardin High School in Cecilia, Ky., and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. He listed his hometown as Aurora, Ore.

He married in 2006, and he and his wife, Chrissy, have a little boy and girl. A Facebook photo shows the couple walking along the beach, swinging their children by the hand.

Gibson's medals include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, among others.

Jones attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 2001. He was married with two young boys, one born only in July.

In addition to several years in San Diego, Jones served in helicopter units in Atsugi, Japan, and Jacksonville, Fla. The Pentagon listed his hometown as Lompoc, a small city in central California.

His medals include the Navy and Marine Corps commendation and achievement medals, the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, among others.

The Navy helicopter community is pouring out its heart on social media in response to this loss, as Gibson and Jones join a long line of sailors who left on deployment but didn’t make it home.

At least 11,650 people have “liked” a Facebook page called “Prayers for the Gibson Family.”

“May you find comfort in this unimaginable time. Please feel the warmth of our love and support wrapped around you,” one commenter said.

The Navy suspended the search for the pilots at 3 p.m. Monday, Bahrain time, about 26 hours after the crash. Officials said it was “extremely unlikely” that they were still alive at that point.

A massive search effort took place, including the aircraft carrier Nimitz, five other ships, two helicopter squadrons and Navy and Air Force search planes.

The squadron HSC-6 has been on deployment with the aircraft carrier Nimitz and the San Diego destroyers Lawrence, Higgins and Stockdale and the cruiser Princeton.

The Nimitz group was about to head home from a scheduled deployment to the Persian Gulf when it was held over and moved to the Red Sea on Sept. 1 to be in place for a possible strike against Syria.

The Lawrence, Higgins and Stockdale left San Diego in mid January on what’s become a more than eight-month deployment.
Navy names two officers killed in Red Sea helo crash

Staff report

The Navy on Tuesday released the names of two officers killed in the helicopter crash Sunday over the Red Sea.

Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathon Shelby Gibson were assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6, based out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.

Officials are continuing to investigate what caused their MH-60S Knighthawk to crash, but hostile fire has been ruled out. The officers had been operating in the central Red Sea with the destroyer William P. Lawrence.

Contrary to previous reports, there were not five sailors aboard the helicopter when it crashed, a Navy official said. The three other sailors initially thought to be on the helo had disembarked on the Lawrence, the official said.

Jones, 35, of Lompoc, Calif., is a Navy Academy grad who was commissioned in May 2001. His awards and decorations include: a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals; the Navy “E” Ribbon; and the National Defense Medal.

Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore., was commissioned in December 2008. He previously served as a naval air crewman first class (NAC/AW). His awards and decorations include two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals; the Navy “E” Ribbon; three Good Conduct Medals and the Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.

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