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Navy pilot who saved 8 lives in Philippine Sea crash to be laid to rest Friday

Navy Lt. Steven Combs was one of three sailors killed when their C-2A Greyhound crashed en route from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the USS Ronald Reagan Nov 22, 2017.

U.S. NAVY

By THE SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE) Published: January 11, 2018

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — A Navy pilot from Lakewood Ranch, Fla. who was killed in a plane crash in the Philippine Sea will be laid to rest on Friday at Sarasota National Cemetery.

Lt. Steven Combs Jr., 28, and two others died Nov. 22 when the plane he was piloting went down in the ocean southeast of Okinawa, Japan. It was headed for the USS Ronald Reagan.

According to Combs' obituary, it is believed his plane encountered catastrophic engine failure and was forced to make a water landing. Combs' decision to land the C-2A Greyhound on the water saved the lives of eight of the 11 people aboard the aircraft.

"Lt. Combs' co-pilot was effusive in his praise. He said, 'He flew the hell out of that plane,'" Navy Cmdr. Ronald Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, told Stars and Stripes. "It was heroic. A remarkable piece of flying that was instrumental in saving eight lives." A posthumous award is being considered.

During his career, Combs logged more than 1,200 flight hours and 100 carrier-arrested landings. At the time of his death he was assigned to VRC-30, DET 5 operating from Marine Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

A committal service with military honors will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota.

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©2018 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.
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