DynCorp International pilot, Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt, was honored by hundreds at a memorial service held Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Hunt was tragically killed on October 7, 2014, while flying an S-2T air tanker deployed to suppress and control a wildfire at Yosemite National Park. He supported DI’s program with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CAL FIRE.
Fellow CAL FIRE pilots, firefighters, and other first responders joined Hunt’s family as well as DI and CAL FIRE representatives to honor his life and show their respects.
James Myles, DynCorp International senior vice president, DynAviation, spoke of the bravery of first responders and the specialized skills required of CAL FIRE pilots.
“I know why Craig Hunt volunteered to come and fly with CAL FIRE. He wanted to make a difference,” said Myles. “He fought fires and flew the way he lived his life – to the fullest, thinking of others before himself, with no regrets.”
Remembering “The Professor”
Hunt, of San Jose, Calif., was a U.S. military veteran with a proud history of service to others. He served as a U.S. Navy P3 pilot from 1975-1984 and served in the Reserves for 20 years. He supported DI’s CAL FIRE program for more than 12 years.
“Craig, who we called ‘The Professor,’ was a valued member of the DI team and he will be greatly missed,” said Jeffrey Cavarra, DynCorp International program director.
Hunt earned a Master’s degree in Business from the University of Southern California and a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Santa Cruz, and served as a chemistry teacher in the off season at the University of Santa Cruz. He had a love for flying, golfing, fishing, hiking, bird watching, scuba diving, math/sciences, teaching, and dogs. He is survived by his wife, Sally Keenan Hunt; two daughters, Sarah Hunt Lauterbach and Nancy Hunt; two brothers, one sister and his father.
DynCorp International and the CAL FIRE Program
DynCorp International has worked with CAL FIRE since 2001 helping suppress and control wild land fires in California.
As part of the program, DI flies and maintains Grumman S-2T fire retardant air tankers and OV-10A aircraft, and fully maintains and services civilian UH-1H Super Huey helicopters flown by CAL FIRE pilots. Operating from across California, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes. The OV-10A aircraft fly over fires, directing the air tankers and helicopters to critical areas for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent.
All CAL FIRE Aircraft are strategically located throughout the state at airbases and helicopter bases. During high fire activity, CAL FIRE may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.
The department’s firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more than 5,600 wild land fires each year. Those fires burn more than 172,000 acres annually.