Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade and 2nd Lt. Travis Wilkie died in a Thursday morning training mission at Vance Air Force Base.
Friends said flying was Matt's love, second only to family.
“The most important thing about Matt is he loved his family, he had a great wife, who we got to know, and then two sons that he leaves behind,” Adam Pugh said. “He was so proud of his sons. He talked about his sons all the time.”
Pugh said some people are born with a love for flying, he said his fellow airman Matt was one of those people.
“When you think about his background, you talk about a guy who flew for the Navy, then flew for the Air Force, flew for the airlines, then came back again to fly for the Air Force,” Pugh said.
He was an Oklahoma State University graduate and just last week monitored the fly over at Boone Pickens stadium.
Pugh said while Matt’s oldest son is not attending OSU, he is still following in his father's footsteps.
“He’s got a son that is in the OU flight program right now that probably wants to do what his dad did and go serve and fly,” Pugh said.
He said Matt would not want the tragic incident that claimed his life to limit people’s ambitions who want to serve the county.
Pugh said the number of people Matt impacted reaches far beyond the skies of Oklahoma.
“You think about the hundreds if not thousands of students, who Matt had an impact on, their flying careers and where they are now,” Pugh said. “We are talking men and women who are stationed around the world.”
Pugh said he'll miss curbside talks with his neighbor and brother in uniform.
“When somebody in your community is serving in the military and you see them coming home in their uniform, I think you stop and pay attention and you get to know those people and you take the time to stop and say thank you.”
Lt. Col. John Matt Kincade was 47.
“When you lose somebody in your community that was in the military, you feel it just like you would losing a family member. It hits you a little closer,” Pugh said.