UPDATE: National Guardsman from Barboursville who died in Middle East remembered fondly

Published: Aug. 3, 2017 at 4:26 PM EDT
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UPDATE 8/4/17 @ 10 p.m.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Friends of David Board say he loved serving his country and travelling the world.

"He was at the South Pole a few years ago for maybe 30 days or so," Board's former co-worker Boog Easterling said. "He was down there working on the aircrafts."

According to the 130th Airlift Wing, the combat veteran enlisted in the Air Force in 1986 and was a member for 14 years, serving as a missile maintenance technician. He served during Operations Desert Shield and Storm.

Following his time in the military, he worked at AK Steel in Ashland.

"He was a good supervisor," Easterling said. "He was the kind of guy that would lighten up a room."

Easterling says he heard from Board on social media just a week before his death.

"I put a post on Facebook about stuff I was getting out of the garden," Easterling said, "and he said he wished I could send him some corn, but it probably wouldn't make it all the way to Kuwait. That was the last I heard from him."

Board lost his job at AK Steel when they made sweeping layoffs in December 2015. He then went back to work as an aircraft fuels systems craftsman with the 130th Airlift Wing.

He was deployed to Kuwait as part Operation Inherent Resolve and died Wednesday in a non-combat-related incident.

"It's hard when you hear about somebody you spent so much time with," Easterling said.

The 130th Wing released a video of Col. Johnny Ryan, Jr. memorializing him.

"He epitomized the core values: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that he did," Ryan said. "David was a great American, a true patriot, and he'll be greatly missed."

The specifics on what happened during the non-combat related incident that caused Board's death have not been released.

In the video, Ryan says Board's body will be brought back to the United States.

He was 49 years old.

UPDATE 8/4/17 @ 6:05 a.m.

WASHINGTON (WSAZ) -- U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, has issued a statement on the passing of Barboursville native West Virginia Air National Guard Tech Sgt. David Board, who died in Kuwait in a non-combat-related incident.

“Gayle and I are heartbroken after hearing of the passing of Tech Sgt. David Board. We join all West Virginians in praying for David’s family and friends in the wake of this devastating tragedy. The United States and West Virginia have lost a courageous airman who served with integrity and his service will never be forgotten. Today we are reminded of the risks our service members face while overseas protecting the United States every day. During this difficult time, we ask that all West Virginians join us in keeping David’s loved ones in our thoughts.”

Board was assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A National Guardsman from Barboursville died Wednesday in Kuwait during Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

West Virginia Air National Guard airman Tech Sgt. David Board, 49, died in a non-combat-related incident.

Board was assigned to aircraft maintenance duties.

“It’s a terribly sad day for West Virginia,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a release. “We suddenly lost a hero and an airman in the West Virginia Air National Guard to a non-combat incident while serving our country overseas. We owe everything to the men and women who step up and make countless sacrifices to protect our freedom. Cathy and I are praying for the airman’s family and the entire National Guard family, and we hope the people of the Mountain State will join us.”

Operation Inherent Resolve coordinates the ongoing military actions targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in those countries.

“The loss of Tech. Sgt. Board is a great loss for the West Virginia National Guard and a loss for the people of West Virginia,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, in a release. “Our sincere condolences go out to his family, his friends and fellow service members. His contributions to our state and nation are significant and he will be remembered with the profound respect and admiration of a grateful nation.”

Board was assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of such an outstanding Airman and member of the 130th Airlift Wing," said Col. Johnny Ryan, 130th AW commander, in the release. "Tech. Sgt. Board was an integral part of our West Virginia Air National Guard family and served his state and nation proudly. He was an exceptional NCO and family man whose presence will be missed by so many who knew and loved him. His service exemplifies that of a patriot and he will be remembered and celebrated as such. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones in this difficult time."