(Midland, Texas – November 16, 2012)
The three wounded servicemen who were not yet identified after a Union Pacific train smashed into a parade float as it crossed the Garfield Street/UPRR grade crossing in Midland, TX Thursday afternoon during the fourth day of tribute to American fighting veterans have now been announced.
Meanwhile, Texas-based National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Robert Accetta, assisted by two more NTSB accident investigators, has launched the first closed-door meeting of what promises to be a lengthy process in determining how Thursday’s horrible tragedy, which killed four and injured 17, was allowed to happen.
Among them, the four combat vets had been awarded a total of over two dozen medals for meritorious service in the defense of their country.
Already identified was Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, of Amarillo, TX, who died as he pushed his wife out of harm’s way as the train struck the float/truck trailer they were riding upon. He leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Daylyn, and the couple’s 14-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter.
Other fatalities included USMC Chief Warrant Officer Gary Stouffer, veteran of 17 years in the Marines, who leaves his wife of 16 years, Catherine, and the couple’s 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son; Sgt. Major Lawrence Bolvin, a 24-year U.S. Army veteran, who is survived by his wife, Angie; and Sgt. Major William Lubbers, another 24-year Army veteran, but who spent many of those years as a Special Forces Green Beret, and who leaves behind his wife of 19 years, Tiffanie, and the couple’s 18-year-old-son and 11-year-old daughter.
Besides each earning one or more Purple Hearts, the four victims’ medals ranged from Combat Action Ribbons to Bronze Stars and a Silver Star, each directly below the Congressional Medal of Honor.