11/30/10 — Airman, 38, found dead in Pikeville

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Airman, 38, found dead in Pikeville

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 30, 2010 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- For the third time since October, members of the 4th Fighter Wing are having to cope with the loss of a comrade.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base officials confirmed this morning that Tech Sgt. Joshua Grotke was found dead in his Pikeville home Monday afternoon.

Local law enforcement officials said no foul play was suspected.

Air Force officials say they are still investigating the 4th's latest tragedy -- that they are not yet ready to release details in the incident that left a 38-year-old member of the Communications Squadron dead.

Base spokesmen said only that their focus, now, is on those family members left behind.

"The 4th Fighter Wing extends our deepest condolences and prayers to the family as we grieve the loss of a treasured member of the Air Force family," wing officials said in a news release. "Team Seymour will embrace and comfort family and friends as our leaders focus on helping those affected by this tragedy."

Grotke's death comes just a month-and-a-half after 4th Commander Col. Patrick Doherty, for the first time in recent memory, called for the wing to stand down, as airmen, their leaders and chaplains from across Air Combat Command engaged in a day of reflection and open discussion about how to prevent comrades from taking their own lives. During the week leading up to the stand-down, Senior Airman Ross Merrit Horton and Tech. Sgt. Robert Steven Newlon Jr. were found dead in their Wayne County homes.

-- Staff Writer Gary Popp contributed to this report.