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Western Mass. Keeps Watch as Search Continues for Missing Pilot


WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Back here in western Massachusetts, all eyes are on the search for the missing pilot.

Members of the pilot’s family and the 104th Fighter Wing anxiously await word on his fate.

Meanwhile, western Mass. residents go about their regular jobs here, but the missing pilot is on everyone’s mind.

On the other side of airfield is Papp’s Bar and Grill.

The community here is close knit and the fate of the missing pilot was on everyone’s mind.

“All of us in western Massachusetts are very concerned about the pilot. Being here at the airport, we can see the dedication of the Air National Guard and commitment to keeping us all safe, and when something like this happens, you feel like a family member is in peril and we have out fingers crossed and our prayers go out for him,” says Peter Papps.

Benjamin Hoversland, who once served in the Navy Special Forces, adds, “Their survival skills are unlike anybody else’s…a rigorous school as well as special forces and I’m telling you – if you can get through that school, you can get through anything. I’m very hopeful. His training is good.”

“It was pretty freightening. You’re talking about a highly technical aircraft…to go down like that, I guess the part that is really perplexing is that he’s MIA,” says John Arthur of Longmeadow.

The fate of the pilot remains on everyone’s minds around the base and of course at Barnes Air National Guard Base with members of the 104th Fighter Wing.

Their thoughts and prayers go out to the pilot and his family.


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