Memorial service pending for Alamo Heights grad killed while battling Australian wildfires

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A memorial service is pending for an Alamo Heights High School graduate and two other men killed last week while fighting wildfires in Australia.

Forty-two-year-old Paul Clyde Hudson of Buckeye, Arizona graduated from Alamo Heights High School in 1995, went to the Naval Academy and retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a Lt. Colonel.

Hudson was serving as First Officer when the C-130 Hercules tanker went down Thursday in New South Wales, also killing Captain Ian H. McBeth of Great Falls, Montana, and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. of Navarre, Florida.

Their bodies were retrieved from the crash site Saturday as their families arrived in Sydney, Australia. Coulson Aviation, the U.S. company they worked for, says the government of New South Wales is arranging a memorial.

“At Coulson Aviation, we have the incredible job of fighting fires around the world and we take pride in this responsibility, said CEO Wayne Coulson in a statement. “Right now, our hearts are with the crew’s family and friends and our Coulson family suffering in the loss of these three remarkable and well-respected crew-members.”

Coulson said the company is working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and New South Wales Police to determine what caused the plane crash, but changing fire conditions around the accident site make the investigation difficult.

“Thank you for recognizing the work that our crews do and for expressing your condolences and grief for the families of our fallen heroes,” said Coulson.

Hudson is survived by his wife, Noreen.

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