10/17/06 — SJAFB airman, 27, killed in racing crash

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SJAFB airman, 27, killed in racing crash

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 17, 2006 1:46 PM

An airmen stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base died Saturday during a drag racing accident at the Outer Banks Speedway in Creswell, base officials confirmed today.

Staff Sgt. Donovan Whitehurst, 27, a member of the 4th Fighter Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron, was killed when his vehicle ran off the end of the track at the speedway and crashed at more than 200 mph, officials said.

During his career in the Air Force, Whitehurst was deployed twice -- first, to Saudi Arabia in 1999, and again in 2004, completing an eight-month tour of duty in Iraq.

4th Fighter Wing Comman-der Col. Steve Kwast addressed the airmen at Seymour this morning via video message.

"I have some sad news to deliver to the 4th Fighter Wing today," he said.

"We have lost one of our own. Staff Sgt. Donovan Whitehurst lost his life this weekend in a terrible automobile accident."

Kwast urged the Seymour Johnson family to come together in support of Whitehurst's family and each other in light of the tragedy.

"We in the (4th Fighter Wing) need to come together now to be there for the family, hold them in our arms and go to the ends of the earth to take care of them," he said. "It is a tragedy anytime we lose such a valuable member of our country and a great patriot ... Help me by praying for the family, by looking for a way to give to the family, and for all of us at the (wing) to come together as a family and help heal this hurt."

Kwast challenged the airmen to take care of each other.

"It never is OK when we lose someone, and it never gets better," he said. "All we can do is come together and be there for the family and for each other.

"So, reach out to each other and look after each other. Look each other in the eye and help those in pain."