THE two Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel who perished following a plane crash in Pilar, Bataan were seasoned pilots with several years of flying experience, PAF said.

PAF identified the pilots as Captain Ian Gerru Casiños Pasinos, the pilot-in-command, and Captain John Paulo Ong Aviso.

“Both are recipients of Gold Cross Medals for gallantry in action in different air combat operations to include the military offensives against the dreaded Maute Group during the Battle of Marawi,” it said in a statement on Thursday, January 26, 2023.

Pasinos was also directly involved in different tactical missions to include support to Joint Task Force Zampelan’s Operations in Lanao Del Sur in April 2017, and the all-out military offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol in August 2017.

PAF said until the end, the two pilots fulfilled their mandate as Filipino soldiers and their final act of heroism was ensuring landing on a clear area that will prevent possible casualties on the ground.

“The PAF will forever be grateful for their great service to the nation and shall ensure that all possible forms of assistance will be extended to guarantee the well-being of the families they have left behind,” it said.

“Once again, the PAF enjoins the public to join us in condoling with the bereaved families and offer prayers for the eternal repose of the souls of our fallen heroes,” it added.

On Wednesday, Marchetti SF260 crash-landed in the vicinity of Sitio Tabon, Barangay Del Rosario around 10:40 a.m.

The pilots conducted a recurrency training and were then on their way back to Sangley Point in Cavite. (SunStar Philippines)