Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Funeral Set For F-16 Pilot
The body of an F-16 pilot killed during a training mission in Utah will return home to Western North Carolina this week.
The family of Candler, N.C., native Capt. George-Bryan Houghton will hold visitation Friday night and funeral services Saturday.
The captain’s father, George Houghton, said phone calls have been pouring in from his son's unit at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and from people across the country who knew him.
“Anybody he had ever come in contact with, and even people who just heard about him, loved him,” Houghton said. “With his gentle heart and his sense of humor and love of life, everybody appreciated him.”
Houghton died June 22 when his F-16 crashed during a training flight over the Utah Test and Training Range. He would have turned 29 on July 4.
“He believed what he was doing was right for his country and himself and his family,” the father said.
The captain was one of three brothers in his family who felt the call to fly. His younger brother, Mark-Daniel, was injured two years ago after a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, where he was an Air Force rescuer for downed pilots. The family's third son, Patrick, is a cadet at the Air Force Academy.
Houghton's body will arrive in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday night with an Air Force escort before traveling to Groce Funeral Home in Asheville.
Visitation will be 6-9 p.m. Friday at Trinity Baptist Church, 216 Shelburne Road, Asheville.
Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, with a contingent from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina providing a rifle salute, Bugle taps, a flag presentation and a fly-over above the church parking lot.
A private burial will follow.
By Josh Boatwright - Asheville Citizen-Times
Posted : Tuesday Jul 7, 2009 11:39:12 EDT